College Football Picks: Washington State +19 is a Value Play vs. #24 California

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 4:08 PM GMT

The Washington State Cougars head to California to face off against the #24 ranked Golden Bears Thursday in an exciting PAC 12 showdown.  Which side is the right side for your college football picks?

Washington St. at California (-19-) 4:00 ET
Washington St. visits California for this 7:00 ET kick which is the first PAC 12 game of the season for Washington St.  For the 4-0 SU Cal Bears, it is their home opener in league play, after they used a (+3) net TO margin and a 481-259 yardage edge to squeeze by Washington (30-24) last week in their PAC 12 road opener.  Now, Cal returns home to face a Washington St. team vs. whom they played one of the most entertaining games of last season.  It resulted in a 60-59 Cal victory on the Palouse.  It was a game in which the teams totaled over 1,400 yards with Washington St. passing for a mind-boggling 734 yards.  This year, QB Goff has returned to lead Cal (5-7 SU last year) to a 4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS start.  Though Washington St. is 2-1 SU, they are 1-2 ATS failing to cover the number by a net 42 points.  This, combined with a (+36) AFP for Cal, gives us a (-78) net AFP advantage favoring Washington St.  As a result, we get huge value with a Cougar team in what is truly a viable revenge motive.  To give you an idea of that value, consider the fact that at the beginning of 2014, Washington St. would have been a TD favorite in this game!  That clearly puts the college football odds in our favor with Washington St.

Not only is Cal a bit overheated with their AFP number, but they are also on an emotional downer.  For the week prior to their PAC 12 road opening victory at Washington, they escaped the Texas Longhorns’ comeback with a 45-44 victory when the Longhorns missed a game tying extra point.  Dead ahead is a high-profile game against Utah, a team who just beat Oregon (62-20).  This is clearly a downer for California despite their 17 RS, veteran QB Goff and an offense that gains 46 PPG on 543 YPG.

Washington St. began the year with an embarrassing (24-17) loss to Portland St. in a driving rainstorm.  Since that time, they have rebounded with victories at Rutgers and vs. Wyoming.  With a week of rest and extra preparation time, be sure that HC Leach will have his Cougars fully prepared for this PAC 12 opener.  After leading the nation in passing yardage last year, look for the Cougars to open it up in another anticipated shootout reminiscent of their game with the Cal Bears last year and make them your college football pick in this showdown. 

 College Football Pick: Washington State +19 (-110) at BetOnline