College Football Betting: California Golden Bears at Oregon Ducks

The game between the California Golden Bears and the Oregon Ducks was shaping up to be a very interesting battle…until California lost their starting quarterback to injury. Can California still make this a competitive game with their stalwart defense or will the loss of Chase Garbers turn this into a blowout?

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS AT OREGON DUCKS
CFB ODDS: OREGON -18.5
CFB TOTAL: 47.5

WHY THE GOLDEN BEARS WILL COVER THE SPREAD

The California defense can play really well. The Golden Bears won at Washington – a contender for the Pac-12 championship alongside Oregon – because they allowed only one touchdown to the Huskies. Linebacker Evan Weaver has been averaging double-digit tackles per game and is the face of this tough unit. He has been everywhere on the field for California, easily the team’s best player under head coach Justin Wilcox. The question is can this defense do enough if the offense hangs them out to dry like they did last week. Backup Devon Modster came in and had just 23 passing yards with one pick. Cal’s defense is good but if the offense can’t even pickup a first down, they won’t compete here.

The flipside of it is that Oregon hasn’t been that impressive this season. This is a team that entered the season in the Top 15 but they lost to Auburn. They really haven’t been tested that much since. Last week’s win at Stanford should have been a blowout but it was just a mid-sized 21-6 victory. It feels like the Ducks are not the elite offense we thought they’d be, so if Cal can drag them into a low-scoring affair, they’ll have a shot here.

WHY THE DUCKS WILL COVER THE SPREAD

The Ducks are in very good position to cover the spread because Cal lost its offensive leader. The Bears had been doing really well under quarterback Chase Garbers, who wasn’t spectacular but who played really well in clutch situations the first four weeks of the season. Garbers led a last-minute go-ahead scoring drive against Washington in Week 2 and made all the important plays in Week 4 against Ole Miss. He was a leader whose presence in the huddle mattered more than raw statistics.

He was injured last Friday against Arizona State and everything went south after that Modster, the former UCLA quarterback, but he looked shell-shocked last week. Maybe a week of preparation gets him to a better place but he was just 5-of-14 for 23 yards and a pick in just over a half of action.

Oregon’s defense is decent this year and they shouldn’t have too many challenges here. Cal is going to run, run and run some more. They don’t offer much threat of a pass. If Oregon gets up by 10 or 14, this game is a wrap because the Bears don’t have the tools to come back.

TAKING A LOOK AT THE TOTAL

Cal’s defense is good, but Oregon’s offense is a lot better. Oregon should be able to score in the mid-30s, and as long as Cal scores a few touchdowns to get to 17 or more points, this game should climb over the number.

PICK: DUCKS 38, GOLDEN BEARS 17

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