College Football Odds, Picks, Futures: 3 Ways to Bet Utah in 2022
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images. Pictured: Tavion Thomas.
Another Friday, another future.
While we’re still a few months away from the start of the college football season, it’s never too late to add futures to your portfolio as the calendar moves closer to Week 0 with each passing day.
I will be releasing a breakdown of my top futures every Friday leading up to the season. I will also be tweeting them out as I add them @kmalstrom while putting them in my Action App profile.
This week, we take a trip to Salt Lake City as the Utah Utes come into the 2022 season ready to defend their Pac-12 title.
There’s A Bad Cam Rising
While Utah is a great team in its own right, its next leap in production will depend on quarterback Cam Rising.
Not starting until the third game last season, Rising led the Utes to a Pac-12 Championship by throwing 2,493 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions with a 63.8% completion percentage.
He’ll have plenty of familiar faces around him with Utah’s offense returning 73% of its offense, per TARP.
Remember, this was a unit that finished top-20 in Success Rate, Finishing Drives and Havoc Allowed. The Utes will need to bring all the firepower they can for what will be high-scoring affairs with other powerhouse Pac-12 offenses.
Utah returns three of its top four targets, with tight end duo Dalton Kincaid and Brant Kuithe looking to snag the majority of receptions after combining for 86 catches, 1,121 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
Wideout Devaughn Vele looks to take the reigns as the top wideout with the departure of Britain Covey, while running back Tavion Thomas looks to build on his success from last season.
This is a very deadly offense.
Defense in the Pac-12?
What separated Utah from the rest of the Pac-12 last season was a defense that could slow down opposing West Coast offenses. While we’ve become accustomed to lit-up scoreboards after dark, Utah brings a more complete package with its 4-2-5 Havoc-minded scheme.
While the Utes suffered some key losses at the linebacker position with the departure of Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell at linebacker, Utah looked to reload in the transfer portal with Florida transfer Mohamoud Diabate to fill the void next to quality players in Gabe Reid and Karene Reid, who started in six games for the Utes last season.
Utah has room for improvement in stopping explosiveness, a common characteristic in Pac-12 play. After ranking 116th, Utah will need to find some success instead of just relying on Havoc to stop opposing offenses.
What to Make of USC as an Opponent
You can’t think about the Pac-12 this year without thinking of the resurgence of the Lincoln Riley-led USC Trojans.
Riley and Company had themselves quite the offseason in the transfer portal, putting together a high-powered offense ready to instantly contend for a conference title.
This includes the additions of quarterback Caleb Williams from Oklahoma, running back Travis Dye from Oregon and recently-added wide receiver Jordan Addison from Pitt.
While the offense will be revamped and potentially deadly, USC as a whole still has holes all over the defense and will likely need some time to adjust.
While the Trojans will look to turn games into offensive showcases, it will be Utah’s Havoc-minded defense that will help it come out on top in their much-anticipated matchup.
With the public taking USC every which way to Sunday, this leaves plenty of value on the board to take Utah in various ways.
Verdict on Utes
Utah put the Pac-12 on notice last season when Rising took the reins. Now, he will look to replicate that success this season with team continuity.
While USC has been the shiny new toy, it’s Utah that’s ol’ reliable and a force we should expect to see in the Pac-12 Championship — especially in the conference’s new format with the top two teams receiving a berth like the Big 12.
Our projections align with my prediction, as Action Network has Utah projected at 10.6 wins while SP+ projects the Utes at 9.5.
They will be favored or a near a coin-flip in every game on the slate. They also have the benefit of Florida being in the middle of a rebuild in Week 1.
Compared to other teams, I will by far have most of my futures money on Utah.
The Utes were one of the biggest wins of my season last year with a Pac-12 ticket, and I’ll look to bank on them again with a potential College Football Playoff season coming up in 2022.
Picks: Utah to Win Pac-12 (+400) · Utah Win Total Over 8.5 · Cam Rising to Win Heisman (+8000)