Utah 2019 Betting Guide: Can This Hype Train Be Slowed Down?
Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Utah Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley (1).
Utah 2019 Betting Odds
- National Title: 50-1
- To Win the Pac-12: 3-1
- To Make the Playoff: 12-1
- Win Total: 9
Utah Schedule, Projected Spreads
What to Like about Utah
If your college football handicapping started in August, one of the first questions you might’ve asked is this:
What is all the Utah noise about?
No stats can do it justice, but this highlight reel against Stanford in 2018 does:
Defensive end Bradlee Anae threw down a Stanford receiver in the first quarter, signifying an all out brawl of the Cardinals.
Keep in mind that those defensive highlights weren’t against some podunk Group of Five offensive line. This Utes performance came against a top-30 offensive line in passing downs sack rate and eighth in passing S&P+.
The defense returns Anae, along with back seven leaders Julian Blackmon and Javelin Guidry. Those three players alone accounted for 26% of Utah’s total havoc plays in 2018. The defense is only half the story, as the Utes are third in the nation in offensive returning production.
— Utah Athletics (@utahathletics) October 21, 2018
After dealing with health issues last season, the offense returns quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss.
Utah loses some starters on the offensive line, but return Darrin Paulo and Orlando Umana. Both players logged time at the most important positions of left tackle and center, respectively.
What Could Cause Problems
Health may be the only reason Utah did not win the Pac-12 Championship in 2018. A 10-3 loss against Washington was led by backup quarterback Jason Shelley and running back Armand Shyne.
Shelley returns as a backup and is serviceable if there is further injury. Depth would not be an issue at quarterback with Texas transfer Cameron Rising, but he had his waiver denied for playing time this season.
Utah ranked first overall in S&P+ special teams and generally field some of the best units annually. But Punter Mitch Wishnowsky and place kicker Matt Gay have moved on, giving coach Kyle Whittingham true freshman at both positions.
The Pac-12 conference schedule will be easier than 2018, as the Utes dodge Oregon and Stanford from the North division. Oregon State and Cal are the new cross division rivals on the slate, which further increases the chances Utah makes a return trip to Santa Clara.
The toughest games on the schedule are on the road including BYU, Washington and USC. If Utah can defend Rice Eccles Stadium, the Utes should slide comfortably into the Pac-12 championship.
Regardless if Utah can contend for the College Football Playoff, the Utes won the South division with three losses in conference.
Bets to Watch
My simple advice would be to load up on Utah futures, but pricing has changed dramatically throughout the summer.
Utah to win the Pac-12 has moved from 10-1 to 3-1 at some books. Utah +350 is the suggested price with a bit of shopping, as that number translates to a moneyline parlay of the Utes beating Washington, USC and in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
The Action Network win total suggest 9.5, so any number at 9 deserves investment. Utah over 9 can be found at plenty of outlets, even an 8.5 with extra juice.
Finally, the College Football Playoff is a dream scenario for the Pac-12 conference. Utah represents the best chance for the Pac-12 to join the playoff since Washington in 2016.
The best shot for the Utes is to go undefeated, which would include a parlay of their toughest games. My estimation is 23-1 odds of an undefeated season by Utah, which is no where close to market price.
The chances of the Pac-12 making the playoff with one loss will depend on the Big Ten and Big 12 champion. If we assume a loss to Washington, the toughest test, a 1-loss season by Utah is approximately 13-1.
Therefore, only a light investment can be suggested at the current price, and even so there is help needed from the other Power 5 conferences.