Sports Betting Fans Must Adjust to Utah's Move to Pac-10
The rumors of massive realignment in college football appear to have been overstated, but sports betting patrons will still need to recalculate their opinions as Utah enters the Pac-10. Joining Colorado as a new member of the conference, Utah has been a gambling gold mine by devastating teams who were supposedly in a higher class.
Utah has been minimized by BCS champions, saying the Utes' awesome record is a product of playing inferior competition in the Mountain West, and that the team would quickly be exposed by powerhouses from the SEC, Big-10, and Pac-10. But reality has shown the perceived little guys are as good or better than their more established rivals.
Utah played fourth-ranked Alabama, a team that held its own against that year's champion Florida Gators and made up the bulk of this year's champion Crimson Tide squad, in the 2009 Sugar Bowl as an 11-point underdog. The Utes finished their undefeated season by beating Alabama 31-17, a 25-point cover even after the Tide scored a late special teams touchdown.
The Utes also went undefeated in 2004, capping the year with a 35-7 destruction of Pittsburgh. That marked the first time a small school forced its way past the slanted rules of the BCS to play in a BCS Bowl game.
This past season, Utah played Pac-10 stalwart California in the Poinsettia Bowl, winning 37-27. The Utes have been named by some sources as one of the ten best football programs of the last decade.
Sports betting regulars may see some lines early in the season giving Utah decided underdog status, but that will only reflect the public distrust of Utah's small-school reputation. Smart gambling plays will mean taking Utah to continue to prove its program as worthy as any in the country, and possibly dominant in the Pac-10 now that USC has come under Probationary fire from the NCAA.
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