Bet Washington to Cover at California in Pac-12 NCAAF Match

Matthew Jordan

Friday, October 10, 2014 3:34 PM GMT

Here's an excellent betting opportunity for College Football between 2 very different offenses as Washington plays its first Pac-12 road game of the season, coming against high-powered California. 

Decent Start Under Petersen
Handicappers and bettors analyzing this game should know that Washington is in its first season under Coach Chris Petersen, who built Boise State into a mid-major powerhouse. The Huskies' non-conference schedule was pretty laughable: at Hawaii, Eastern Washington, Illinois and Georgia State. To no surprise, UW won all four, although only by a point at Hawaii.

However, Petersen's Pac-12 debut wasn't a success on Sept. 27 against then-No. 16 Stanford. It was 13-13 midway through the fourth quarter when Petersen questionably called a fake punt on fourth-and-9 at the Washington 47. The play went for no gain, and six plays later the Cardinal scored the game-winning touchdown for a 20-13 win. The Huskies had scored at least 44 points in their previous three games but managed only 179 total yards against one of the nation's best defenses. Washington had 10 penalties and was 5-for-18 on third-down conversions. Three Stanford turnovers and a missed Cardinal field goal kept UW in the game. Washington has forced 12 takeaways and committed just one turnover thus far.

Washington (4-1, 0-1 Pac-12) isn't  a great passing team, ranking 112th in the nation at 162.6 yards per game. The school is 37th running the ball at 207.6 yards per game. Frankly, the team's best offensive player thus far is linebacker and occasional running back Shaq Thompson. He has three defensive touchdowns: a 36-yard interception return and 52-yard fumble return against Illinois and a 32-yard fumble return against Stanford. He is the first player in school history to return two fumbles for a score in the same season. Thompson also has nine carries for 84 yards and a 57-yard touchdown run.

The Huskies are 2-3 ATS this season (0-1 on the road) in NCAA football betting and four of their five games have gone 'under' the total.

 

Bears Will Air It Out
California might have been the worst Power 5 Conference team in the nation last season in Coach Sonny Dykes' first year, and it definitely was the worst defensive team -- Power 5 or not. The Bears aren't much better on that side of the ball, but they throw the ball all night on offense and can score in bunches.

The Bears (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) already have quadrupled their 2013 wins total. They rank No. 2 in the nation in points per game at 50.0, third in passing and haven't scored less than 45 points in their past four games. Two weeks ago Cal won 59-56 against Colorado in double overtime as sophomore Jared Goff threw for 458 yards and seven touchdowns to end the Bears' 15-game conference losing streak. Last week, in what will likely be the highest-scoring game of the season in the country, Cal won 60-59 at Washington State as 3.5-point underdogs on NCAA football odds at sportsbooks. Goff threw for a school-record 527 yards and five scores but was overshadowed by Wazzu's Connor Halliday throwing for an NCAA-record 734 yards. The combined passing yardage of 1,261 also was an NCAA record. Amazingly, neither QB threw a pick despite a whopping 123 combined attempts. California should have lost, but Washington State missed a 19-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining. Cal scored 47 points on just 29 offensive plays in the second half. Trevor Davis returned consecutive kickoffs for touchdowns in the third quarter.

Cal is off to its best start in six years and sits atop the Pac-12 North Division, which would have been unthinkable 12 months ago even this early in the season. This is homecoming for the Bears. California is 4-1 ATS this season (1-1 at home) at sportsbooks and four of five games have gone 'over' the total.

 

Last Season
Before placing your College Football pick, keep in mind that these are two very different teams now, but Washington won 41-17 at home against the Bears. QB Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey were UW's offensive stars then but have since moved on. Washington had 642 yards of offense. Goff was 32 of 54 for 336 yards but just one touchdown. Cal allowed at least 30 points in every game in 2013. Its only win was over Portland State.  The Bears haven't beaten Washington since 2008 when Jahvid Best had a monster game.

 

NCAAF Free Picks
Washington +3.5 and 'over' 71.5 points on College Football odds. Entering this week, road teams are a combined 11-3 in Pac-12 league play. Two of the home wins were on the final play of a game (including Cal's victory vs. Colorado). The Huskies have covered five of the past six meetings at sportsbooks like Sports Interaction. The 'over' is 4-1 in Washington's past five on the road. The 'over' is 8-2 in Cal's past 10 at home.

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