College Football Odds: Stanford Laying 10.5 In Big Game At Cal ... So Should You

Jason Lake

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 1:06 AM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016 1:06 AM UTC

Stanford is a double-digit favorite on college football odds at California Memorial Stadium for the first time since 1986 as it squares off against long-standing rival Cal on Saturday (5:30 p.m. ET). Who do we like in the 119th Big Game?

Stanford Cardinal (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS)

Stanford is showing some spark following a dreadful run in the middle of the season that saw it lose three of four and put up a grand total of 44 points. The Cardinal have since beaten against Arizona, Oregon State and Oregon, outscoring them by 20 points per game.

The offensive resurgence has been fueled by coach David Shaw’s benching of Ryan Burns and turning to redshirt sophomore Keller Chryst at quarterback in Week 9. Chrys owns a 5:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in the last three games. Consistency under center is allowing star running back Christian McCaffrey to shine. The junior, last year's Heisman runner-up, has scored seven touchdowns and amassed 588 total yards on offense during the winning streak.

Defense has been the difference-maker in this series for the Cardinal. Shaw’s unit has held Cal’s Air Raid attack to 13, 17 and 22 points, respectively, in the last three meetings. The Stanford defense allows 19.4 points per game this season, 12th nationally. It allowed 19.5, 16.5, and 22 entering each previous Cal matchup.

Stanford is 16-4 SU and 13-6-1 ATS on college football odds as an away favorite against Pac-12 opponents under Shaw. The Cardinal are holding teams to 17.4 points per game, and the 'under' is 17-3 in that stretch.


Cal Golden Bears (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS)

Cal’s defense is reaching historically bad proportions. It has allowed 43 points or more in eight of 10 games this season and its 45.6 per game given up is most in the country. The undersized front seven struggles to stop the run, gashed for 6.2 yards per carry. Only Arkansas (6.6) is less efficient in the FBS.

Offensively, the Air Raid attack has sputtered in the last three games. Facing USC, Washington and Washington State’s tough defenses, Cal posted 24, 27, and 21 points, respectively, losing every game by three touchdowns or more. It’s been a trend all season. Against defenses allowing less than the national average of 29 points per game, the Bears score 31.7 points per contest. Against those yielding more, Cal is scoring 45.7 per game.

The Golden Bears are 1-10 SU and 3-8 ATS on college football picks as a home underdog since coach Sonny Dykes took over. They allow 44.9 points per game in this situation, losing to an average 10-point line by 16.9 points per game.


Final Analysis

Cal entered averaging more than 35 points per game in two of the last three meetings vs. Stanford and failed to score more than two touchdowns in any game. There is no reason to believe it will achieve better against another solid Cardinal defense. Meanwhile, Cal's is Dykes’ worst to date in the series and was lit up for 63 and 38 the only times it was giving up 30 or more entering the matchup. With McCaffrey and the offense hitting their stride again, the Cardinal win this by two touchdowns or more.

NCAAF Free Pick: Stanford -10.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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