NCAAF · Fri (12/16) @ 11:35am ET
|Legion Field Stadium, Birmingham, Alabama|
Our Pick: WASH Washington at 10.5 (-108). Get your $5,000 risk-free bet at Caesars sportsbook!
This is a tale of two underwhelming teams. Cal was beaten by a Mountain West Conference squad, Nevada, in its opener at home, lost in a shootout at TCU and gave up 30 points to Sacramento State in its lone victory.
Washington can’t laugh at the Bears because the Huskies were dumped, at home, by Montana in its ignominious opener. The Grizzlies went back to Missoula with a 13-7 triumph and a $675,000 guaranteed check for making the trip.
This one likely falls under the radar of many observers. Not ours. We have one trusted model that shows the Huskies winning 37-10, so this could be a ticket that cashes without dropping a bead of sweat.
Cal Golden Bears
After a mediocre fourth-year junior season, quarterback Chase Garbers appears to have not improved much. He’s thrown for 774 yards, completing 63.6% of his attempts, with five touchdowns and two picks.
The offense is middling, if not in the lower half of national charts. Its 0.398 points per play is 60th, its average of 24.5 points 75th.
Here lies the paradox of the Golden Bears. What they do best, with 5.3 yards per run that rates 22nd in the land, is negated by the fact that they only rush the ball 27 times a game. Only eight teams in the country average fewer runs.
That ground general is sophomore Damien Moore (5-10, 215), with 237 yards on 41 carries, and five TDs.
There are flickers of life elsewhere, in tight end Jake Tonges (19.8-yard catch average), and receivers Kekoa Crawford (27.3 average) and tailback DeCarlos Brooks (10.8-yard rush average). But it’s a sporadic attack.
The Cal defense yields 439 yards a game, among the bottom quarter of the nation’s teams. It allows opposing quarterbacks to complete only 55.7% of their attempts, in the top quarter of the country’s defenses.
However, the 273 passing yards that foes average is among the bottom quarter of college football defenses. Lots of paradoxes with the Golden Bears, inconsistencies that will undo them in Seattle.
Cal At Washington Full Sportsbook Odds
The Huskies have won eight of the past 11 (7-4 against the number) in this series, and this should be a welcomed tune-up before supremely talented UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson visits Seattle next week.
No UW player, though, can afford to be thinking about the Bruins, not after losing on its own FieldTurf to Montana. Then the Huskies were thoroughly outplayed in Ann Arbor by the resurgent Wolverines, 31-10.
Last week’s 52-3 pounding of Arkansas State readjusted the Huskies physically and psychologically, we believe, to set the tone for the Bears.
Garbers has been average for Cal, as third-year sophomore Dylan Morris (6-0, 200) has been for Washington. He has actually tossed more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four), but he has 100 more yards than his Saturday foe.
Fourth-year junior tailback Richard Newton (138 yards) tries to give UW some semblance of a running game, but this is definitely a passing team. Its 346-yard average is 11th in the country.
Receivers Terrell Bynum (19.9-yard average), Jalen McMillan (17.5) and Taj Davis (13.6) will harass the Cal secondary, and senior tight end Cade Otton (6-5, 240) averages more than 10 yards per reception.
Look for the UW linebackers and secondary to star in this one, since its opponents’ completion percentage is 45.3 and foes gain only 4.1 yards per pass, both top-five figures D-I football. The other guys gain only 132 passing yards per game, eighth in the game.
Sports Betting Recommendation
If UW keeps its penalties low, the score from that model will hold up nicely. The other model we use has the Huskies winning, 37-25, but Cal tallying 20 here seems farfetched.
The many sailgaters who arrive at this game via Lake Washington will depart from the docks in happy moods.