Oregon ran away with the Pac-12 North last year, winning all but one of its conference games. This season the Ducks will be without Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, but head coach Mark Helfrich does have options to try and replace him. Stanford should be in the mix while the rest of the division will be fighting for scraps most likely.
There are six teams in the Pac-12's North Division. This article will apply the win totals from one online sportsbook and discuss if there is any value in these numbers. A selection is made based on the team's schedule, in which the games are broken down into three categories - easy wins, toss-ups and certain losses. Most conference games are in the toss-up category unless there is a clear difference in talent.
Note: Over/under odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook
Pac-12 North Division
California Golden Bears
(Over 5 wins -230...Under 5 wins +170)
Record Last Year: 5-7, 3-6
Returning Starters: 13 (8 on offense, 5 on defense)
Offense: Another year in the Bear Raid offense should benefit this unit, as the majority of the starters are back. Jared Goff threw for almost 4,000 yards last year while putting up 35 touchdowns. He's got three of his four WRs back to go along with Daniel Lasco in the backfield.
Defense: Several transfers should help this unit after they allowed 61 touchdowns last year. James Looney will help solidify the front line while Michael Barton helps out at LB. The secondary could still be an issue which will force this bunch into a lot of shootouts.
Schedule: Things start out home friendly as Grambling State and San Diego State come to Berkeley, but after that there are road trips to Texas and Washington. The Golden Bears have a pretty balanced schedule the rest of the year with four home and road games.
Selection: The play is the over, but not at this price. There are a lot of secondaries in the Pac-12 that have holes and California will take advantage of that. I wouldn't say there's no shot at the under though so if you are game, then go for it. I just think that six wins seems about right here.
(Over 9.5 wins -135...Under 9.5 wins -105)
Record Last Year: 13-2, 8-1
Returning Starters: 11 (6 on offense, 5 on defense)
Offense: Vernon Adams gets the keys to the offense as he comes over from Eastern Washington. Adams averaged 9.0 yards per play in FCS. Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner are back to run the ball while Dwayne Stanford, Darren Carrington and Byron Marshall are on the outside. The offensive line is solid on the right side.
Defense: DeForest Buckner makes this front line pretty stout while a pair of linebackers return as well. The secondary needs to replace almost everyone after Ifo Ekpre-Olomu departed for the NFL. Despite the turnover, Don Pellum's unit should be able to improve from last year.
Schedule: Oregon opens up with Eastern Washington, which takes on a new meaning with Adams now a Duck. The Ducks also host Georgia State with a road game at Michigan State in between. October features three of four on the road while November is the opposite with three of four at home including USC and Oregon State back-to-back.
Selection: Slight lean to the under, but only because the number is 9.5. There's a lot to like about this team, but I think they fall once in October as well as at Michigan State and at Stanford. The offense will be fun to watch though with Adams under center.
(Over 4 wins -110...Under 4 wins -130)
Record Last Year: 5-7, 2-7
Returning Starters: 9 (7 on offense, 2 on defense)
Offense: New coordinator Dave Baldwin takes over and is going to try and speed things up for Oregon State. Quarterback is an issue, but whomever wins the job will have some weapons to work with. Storm Woods is back after rushing for 766 yards and five touchdowns. Keep an eye on Jordan Villamin at WR as he's got the tools to be real successful.
Defense: Another new coordinator on this side of ball and he's got less to work with. Oregon State allowed 31.6 points per game last year. Lavonte Barnett and Jaswha James will be counted on to get pressure on the quarterback.
Schedule: Oregon State has three of its first four at home, hosting Weber State and San Jose State as well as Stanford. The Beavers play at Michigan in week 2, which should be a tough road trip. Three of four in October are on the road.
Selection: The under is the play here although I did several scenarios and came up with four wins. There are too many holes on defense and too many new coordinators to expect success in year one. Gary Andersen will need time to build the Beavers into a factor.
(Over 9 wins +130...Under 9 wins -170)
Record Last Year: 8-5, 5-4
Returning Starters: 12 (8 on offense, 4 on defense)
Offense: Kevin Hogan is back and he's got multiple weapons to get the ball to. The Cardinal were a mixed bag offensively last year, scoring 20 points or less in six games while scoring 30 or more in the other seven. Devon Cajuste paces the WRs while Remound Wright and Barry Sanders Jr. lead the way in the backfield.
Defense: Stanford's defense should be just as good as last year. Its linebacking corps is led by Kevin Anderson and Blake Martinez. Martinez had 102 tackles and three interceptions last year. The secondary could be the weak link of this group.
Schedule: Stanford's schedule is bunched up a bit. The Cardinal play three of four on the road before a three-game conference home stand. After that they have two straight on the road before three more at home. The non-conference slate features Notre Dame, Central Florida and a road game at Northwestern.
Selection: I'll take the over. It's asking a lot for Hogan to be consistent all year long, but with a plus price tag, I'll take my chances he plays well and Stanford survives the early grind. Getting UCLA, Arizona, Oregon and Notre Dame at home are all a big help.
(Over 4 wins -350...Under 4 wins +230)
Record Last Year: 8-6, 4-5
Returning Starters: 9 (5 on offense, 4 on defense)
Offense: Not a single passing yard returns from last year for this offense. Whomever is under center will have Jaydon Mickens to throw to and he had 60 receptions last year. Dwayne Washington leads the way at RB. This unit will need time to gel.
Defense: The Huskies defense is changing to a 3-4, but will need to replace most of last year's starters. Shaq Thompson is gone as well as John Timu. The secondary is the strength with Budda Baker leading the way.
Schedule: UW has three of its first four at home before things normalize a bit. The Huskies play at Boise State while hosting Sacramento State and Utah State out of conference. Things will be tough with USC, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona all in a row in October.
Selection: Not going to lie, I went through this schedule trying to get to the under. I'll say this, I wouldn't fault you if you blindly took the under. You won't find too many prices like this in the preseason. Chris Petersen has his work cut out for him.
(Over 5 wins -130...Under 5 wins -110)
Record Last Year: 3-9, 2-7
Returning Starters: 13 (7 on offense, 6 on defense)
Offense: Luke Falk gets the keys to Mike Leach's offense after his successful stint last year. Falk will rely on River Cracraft and Gabe Marks out wide while Jamal Morrow and Gerard Wicks run the ball. The offensive line is completely back from last year which will help.
Defense: This was a shaky bunch last year, allowing nearly 300 yards per game through the air. The Cougars have been working on a lot more nickel defense this offseason. The front line will be a veteran bunch led by Kache Palacio and Destiny Vaeao.
Schedule: This group gets a friendly September with home games against Portland State and Wyoming to go with a road game at Rutgers. October features road games at Oregon and Arizona. Washington State misses out on USC.
Selection: Vegas was on the money with this one, as I have them tabbed for five wins. The offense will be fun to watch with Falk under center. The defense will be the question mark. If you asked me to lean either way, then I'd go over.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.