Utah Utes vs California Bears Free NCAA Football Picks

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:36 AM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 29, 2016 2:36 AM UTC

It's a matchup of contrasting styles when unbeaten and 18th-ranked Utah, a good defensive team, visits California, a high-powered offensive club. The Bears are a 2-points odds home favorite with a total of 67. 

Utes Did Cover Vs. USC
Utah was ranked 24th last week in the AP poll when I previewed its home game against desperate Southern Cal. I recommended Utah -3 and 'under' 46.5 points. The Utes won 31-27 so I split on those picks. Things weren't looking good for the Utes down 27-17 with about 10 minutes left. But quarterback Troy Williams, who grew up near the USC campus but wasn't offered a scholarship by the Trojans, threw a 10-yard TD pass to Raelon Singleton with 9:45 to go and then the winning 18-yard TD pass to Tim Patrick with just 18 seconds left to cap a 15-play, 93-yard drive.

For the second straight season, the Utes are 4-0, which hasn't happened since they started 4-0 for three straight seasons from 1928-30. But that usually excellent defense was gashed for 466 yards by USC. The Trojans had 14 plays that gained 13 or more yards. In addition, one of the Pac-12's best defensive players, tackle Lowell Lotulelei, left with an injury before halftime and didn't return. Lotulelei, a likely first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft like his brother Star was in 2013 by Carolina, is listed as questionable for this one. Utah is No. 2 in the Pac-12 in total defense (314.3 ypg).

Incidentally, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is listed on BookMaker's special prop this week as a candidate to replace the fired Les Miles at LSU for next season. Whittingham is priced at +3000. His next win will be his 100th career. There are 23 active FBS head coaches with 100 career victories.

Utah is 2-2 ATS on college football odds and 2-2 O/U.


Bears Like To Sling It
California (2-2) lost its Pac-12 opener last week at Arizona State 51-41 and that's a typical score for a Cal game. The Sun Devils picked off Cal QB Davis Webb twice in the final three minutes. Laiu Moekiola returned the second interception 28 yards for a touchdown to put ASU ahead 44-34 with 2:52 remaining. Webb got Cal to 44-41 with 54 seconds to go on a 26-yard TD  pass, but then Arizona State ran the onside kick back for a TD.

Webb completed 32-for-56 for 478 yards, five touchdowns, and those two picks. He throws a ton in Coach Sonny Dykes'  "Bear Raid" up-tempo offense. Webb leads the nation with 1,837 passing yards, 222 attempts, 138 completions and 18 touchdowns. Receiver Chad Hansen leads the country with 50 catches and is second with 656 yard and six touchdowns. The Bears are No. 2 in total offense and 11th in scoring (45.5 ppg).  Defense is the problem as Cal allows 42.5 points per game (123rd) and 492 yards a night (117th).

Last year, Utah was ranked No. 5 and Cal No. 23 when they played in Salt Lake City and the Utes won 30-24, picking off Cal quarterback and 2016 No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff five times. Devontae Booker, also in the NFL now, was Utah's star on offense with 222 yards rushing and two TDs on 34 carries.

Cal is 2-2 ATS on college football picks and 4-0 O/U.

This is Utah's first trip to Berkeley since the Utes joined the Pac-12. Take the Bears and go 'over' the total. The Utes are 2-6 ATS in their past eight following an ATS win. The 'over' is 6-0 in Utah's past six on the road and 5-0 in Cal's past five vs. teams with a winning record. 

Remember to drop by SBR's list of the best-ranked bonuses, and find out which of the top sportsbooks is offering the top rated sportsbooks.


Free College Football Picks: California -2 & Over 67
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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