Free College Football Picks - Texas Longhorns vs. California Bears

Texas Longhorns Player Scores TD

Willie Bee

Friday, September 16, 2016 4:05 PM GMT

Friday, Sep. 16, 2016 4:05 PM GMT

One of the final games on Saturday's NCAA football betting card finds the No. 11 Texas Longhorns out west in Berkeley to battle the California Golden Bears.

FreeIs the third year the charm for the Texas Longhorns under head coach Charlie Strong? We might have an answer for that question after they leave the comfort of their 40 acres for the first time this season and head to California to tangle with the Golden Bears.

ESPN will carry the late Saturday contest (10:30 PM ET) from Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. Texas is giving up more than a touchdown in the game, Top rated online sports betting site Bookmaker offering its line at -7 with the highest total on the Week 3 board at 81½.

That mark was breached when the schools met in 2015, and if this year's matchup is anything like that one in Austin, strap yourselves in for a wild ride. Favored by 5 on the NCAA football odds and led by No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, Jared Goff, California escaped with a 45-44 victory when the Longhorns missed an extra point in the closing minutes. Texas trailed by 21 entering the final quarter before then-freshman Jerrod Heard brought the 'Horns back with a record-setting performance.

That was Cal's only victory in the series, Texas winning the first five matchups including the 2011 Holiday Bowl. The other four meetings before that bowl contest taking place in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

 

Offense, Not Defense, Leading Strong's Squad
That loss to Cal a year ago began a string of three consecutive defeats that left Charlie Strong's squad 1-4 to begin 2015. They would bounce back to upset two ranked teams, Oklahoma and Baylor, but it wasn't enough to warrant a bowl invite, stopping a string of four consecutive postseason appearances.

This year's group looks to be the best Texas has enjoyed under Strong. Heard, who starred as quarterback against Cal, has been switched to wide receiver, and true freshman Shane Buechele, son of former MLB player Steve, has taken over under center with occasional help from Tyrone Swoopes. Buechele threw two touchdown passes in the double overtime win over Notre Dame in the opener, and added four more scoring strikes last week in a 41-7 rout of UTEP.

While defense has long been Strong's strong suit, no pun intended, the Longhorns are sitting in the middle of the pack on that side of the ball two games into the campaign. Obviously, most of the yardage and points came in the 50-47 triumph over the Fighting Irish, but they did choke back the Miners a week ago to just over 200 total yards. Texas might be without starting strong safety Dylan Haines for Saturday's tilt in Berkeley, the senior yet to be cleared for a concussion and currently listed as questionable.

 

Can 'Horns Stop The Webb-Henson Air Show?
Texas won't have to worry about Goff this time, but that doesn't mean the Bears are hurting at quarterback. Davis Webb, a senior transfer from Texas Tech who has gone up against the Longhorns before, has stepped right into Goff's shoes to put up some big numbers. The 6-5 QB has passed for over 960 yards in two games and thrown nine touchdown passes.

His favorite target so far has been junior Chad Henson who has hauled in 14 passes in each of the first two games, leaving him tops in the country in catches (28) and receiving yards (350). That Webb-to-Henson connection wasn't good enough to lead the Golden Bears to victory last week, a 45-40 loss at San Diego State as 5½ point underdogs.

Everything looks fine on the weather front, kickoff finding the thermometer in the upper-60s under clear skies with a 10-15 mph SW breeze. The sports books are obviously expecting a lot of kickoffs throughout the evening with a total this high, but I'm going to lay the points on the Longhorns instead for my free college football pick.

 

Free College Football Pick Against The Spread: Texas -7 
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker, where you will find a 50% Free Play Bonus
Season: 8-6 (+2.05)

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3028565, "sportsbooksIds":[93,1275,123,1096], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]

comment here