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Behind the lines

With USC favored, UCLA fluctuates

June 20, 2008|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

Shortly after Louisiana State defeated Ohio State to win last season's Bowl Championship Series title in January, oddsmakers installed Coach Pete Carroll's USC Trojans as the favorite to win the 2009 BCS championship.

Five months later, and the Trojans are still listed as the top team for next season with 3-1 odds on most sports betting boards.

But for UCLA, it has been a much different story with oddsmakers since the end of last season.

After replacing fired coach Karl Dorrell with Rick Neuheisel, the Bruins' odds for next season have jumped all over the place, and they continue to receive a variety of numbers.

For example, Internet betting site Bodoglife.com opened with the Bruins listed with 70-1 odds to win the 2009 BCS national championship.

Steep odds for a program that has only one bowl victory since 2002 and is coming off a 6-7 season.

But over the last several weeks, the Bruins' odds have steadily improved and as of Thursday, they were listed at 35-1 at Bodoglife.com and betEd.com.

Here's the catch: Neuheisel's same UCLA team is also listed at 75-1 at Sportsbetting.com and Sportsbook.com, and 66-1 at SBG Global Sportsbook.

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Pro baseball

According to oddsmakers, the Philadelphia Phillies have the two favorites to win the home run title in Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

Although Utley led the league with 22 home runs heading into Thursday's games, he's not the overall favorite with 3-2 odds, according to Sportsbetting.com.

Howard, who led the majors with 58 home runs in 2006 and had 19 home runs as of Thursday, holds the No. 1 position with 1-1 odds.

Houston's Lance Berkman, who had 20 home runs as of Thursday, is next with 4-1 odds, followed by San Diego's Adrian Gonzalez (20 home runs) with 5-1 odds.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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