NCAAF Free Pick: Cal and Washington State Clash in Air Raid Pac-12 Shootout

California Bears  team in action

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 3:56 PM GMT

The Air Raid offenses of Cal and No. 23 Washington State collide Saturday at Martin Stadium. Golden Bears coach Sonny Dykes is 2-1 SU in three meetings against his former mentor Mike Leach, but the Cougars are 14.5-point favorites on college football odds.

 

California Golden Bears

Get ready for some points. Cal (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS) has allowed 43 or more in seven of nine games this season, yielding 527.9 total yards per contest against FBS competition. Kansas (44.5) and Texas Tech (44.9) are the only two Power 5 teams to yield more.

Both teams roll out quick-strike spread offenses. Each coach prefers his offense to be on the field at all times, so prepare for a scorching pace. The Golden Bears throw it 51.4 times per game and pick up 517.1 total yards per tilt. Davis Webb is second to Washington’s Jake Browning (34) in the Pac-12 with 30 touchdown passes.

The tempo tires out each team, so expect a ton of flags. Cal is called for 8.1 penalties per game, while its opponents are flagged for 8.6.

Cal is just 3-14 SU and 8-9 ATS as a road underdog on college football odds under Dykes, but one of those wins was a 60-59 upset over the Cougars in Pullman as 3.5-point dogs.

 

Washington State Cougars

This is without exception the best team Leach has assembled at Washington State (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS), coming off a 69-7 rout over Arizona. Junior quarterback Luke Falk leads the team. He is the Pac-12 passing leader with 359.7 yards per game and owns an eye-catching 74.1 completion percentage.

Falk’s two best weapons are wide receivers Gabe Marks and Tavares Martin Jr., who rank second and third in conference with 61 and 50 catches, respectively, on the year.

Leach’s defense is the unexpected difference-maker this year. It has held six of nine opponents below their projected team total, yielding just 24.7 points per game. Wazzu is giving up 344.8 total yards per game to FBS competition, 17th best nationally.

Safety Shalom Luani, who is tied for the Pac-12 lead with four interceptions, is the anchor of a better than average secondary. The defense allows a respectable 6.9 yards per passing attempt. The Cougars’ D also generates 2.2 takeaways per game.

Leach is 6-0-1 ATS on college football picks in his last seven against conference opponents at Martin Stadium. The defense allows only 21.3 points per game in this stretch.

 

Cal-Wazzu Final Analysis

This is the fourth time this season Cal will kick off with a total dealing 80 points or higher. The 'over' hit in the other three with a combined average score of 95.4 -- though 17 points were scored in overtime against Texas. The concern here is if Cal can keep up against a decent defense.

The 'under' is 7-1 when Cal kicks off as a double-digit road underdog under Dykes, posting just 20.4 points per game. The offense, in fact, has failed to reach its projected team total in all but one game.

NCAAF Free Pick: Washington State -14.5

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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