Game: California Bears at Oregon Ducks
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Bears +13.5, Ducks -13.5
It’s the first game back for Oregon since their upset loss to Stanford. The Ducks had an off week to get ready for tonight’s Pac-12 clash with Cal. Ranked No. 3 in the nation at the time, Oregon lost 31-24 to the Cardinal but that wasn’t the only loss for head coach Mario Cristobal and the Ducks.
Oregon also lost starting RB C.J. Verdell and S Bennett Williams for the season after both players suffered injuries in the Stanford loss. The Ducks will turn to Travis Dye, the Ducks’ second-leading rusher, to fill Verdell’s shoes. Oregon rushes for over 210 yards per game. That running game will be important tonight since it’s one of the few things Cal does well – defend the run.
The Bears are just 1-4 this season. Head coach Justin Wilcox is known for having tough defenses, but this year Cal has had its share of struggles. The Bears are allowing 27.6 points per game and over 400 yards of offense. If there is hope for the Bears, it is in the fact that they have kept most games close. Last week’s 21-6 loss to Washington State was the first double-digit loss of the season. The others were by 7, 2, and 5 points.
The key for Cal on offense is QB Chase Garbers. The Bears passing game averages roughly 250 yards per game, but when Garbers throws for 275 or more Cal has scored at least 24 points. With the injury to Williams, the Ducks’ secondary may be an area the Bears can attack.
Cal has won just once this season. They beat FCS Sacramento State 42-30. The Bears have won just two of their last nine games. The other win came in the final game of last season and that victory was over…Oregon!
This is a different Ducks team though with more offensive weapons and a defense that may give up a lot of yards but has only allowed 21.8 points per game thus far. Oregon has not been as successful against the spread though. The Ducks are just 1-4 ATS this season. The only double-digit victories for Oregon in 2021 came against Arizona and FCS Stony Brook. Those two teams are a combined 0-11 right now.
Cal, on the other hand, has covered both times this season when the Bears were the underdog. In fact, Cal is 9-1 ATS in its last ten games as a road underdog. The Bears have not done as well against Oregon. Cal is just 3-7 ATS in the last ten games against the Ducks.
The Ducks offense could struggle without Verdell. That could affect tonight’s total which is set at 53.5. The total has gone Under in six of Oregon’s last eight games and in 13 of the last 20 when the Ducks have played California. The total has gone Under in five of the last seven Bears’ conference games. Despite their shortcomings on defense, Cal has not allowed more than 34 points to a single opponent.