Two Free Picks in California and North Carolina Clash

California Golden Bears

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 4:26 PM GMT

Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 4:26 PM GMT

I know a lot of people will not care California is playing North Carolina, but I like the idea of Pac-12 vs. ACC matchup, which makes the sport better and beats Southern Utah at Oregon every time.

California Golden Bears vs North Carolina Tar Heels

About the only thing wrong with this contest is timing, as both are going through major remodeling process. Cal hired Justin Wilcox to improve the Golden Bears defense which gave up 42.5 points a game last year. Also with no defense, Cal has to balance offense which was 4th in passing yards and 88th in rushing.

North Carolina is coming winning seasons of eight and 11 victories, but might take a step back after having excellent quarterback play the last couple years.

The college football odds have the Tar Heels as solid 11-point home favorites with a total of 54.5. Here is what we see.

 

North Carolina Wins and Covers By......

Head coach Larry Fedora making adjustments on the run. Fedora is being coy about who is his starting quarterback, listing all three as "OR" on the pre-game depth chart. Whoever starts and or plays will have to work some magic because the skill positions are also fresh faces. This means Fedora will likely lean on the running game and while the offensive line is not 100 percent settled, it is North Carolina's best option. Where the Tar Heels can turn this game in their favor is with a quality back seven on defense. There is experience and talent everywhere at linebacker and in the secondary, with Cole Holcomb and Andre Smith the top tacklers. The defensive line is still a weakness and the linebackers will have to fill the holes in run defense.

California Covers and Pulls Possible Upset By...

Cal being better defensively and doing a much better job in alignment and tackling. With Wilcox and DC Tim DeRuyter, the Bears will look to apply more pressure with blitzing out of base 3-4. What California cannot do is allow the Tar Heels the big plays which lead immediately to touchdowns. Though Cal is breaking in a new quarterback, they have stable of pass catchers and two very reliable running backs and the idea will be to get these players in open areas where they can do damage. The big concern here for making college football picks is the Bears are 6-15 ATS as double digit underdogs since 2011.

What To Watch For and Outcome

California has more playmakers on offense and ways to exploit a still questionable UNC defensive front. The Golden Bears defense is not going to turn into Alabama's defense just because they changed coaches and philosophy and the Heels will find the end zone. Fedora's Chapel Hill clubs are only 12-11-1 ATS out of the ACC and despite the 9:20 am start for Cal players, I will take the Bears at +11 and the OVER, thinking this will end up around 60 points.

Free College Football Picks: California covers and OverBest Lines Offered: at Heritage

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