Oregon - California Preview

QUACK ATTACK SEEMS BACK ON TRACK, CAN DEFENSE KEEP CAL AT BAY?

A few weeks ago, national championship contender Oregon had apparently been exposed as a pretender. They had once again become a sitting duck in Pac 12 play...facing opponents who have grown accustomed to the challenges they present. Washington State played dead even with them for 3.5 quarters...and that’s quite an insult if you’re supposed to be a great team! Then, Arizona knocked Oregon off in storied Autzen Stadium.

How bad was it going to get for Oregon?

Turns out, maybe not so bad. They crushed UCLA 42-30 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score made it sound...then dominated Washington 45-20 a week later. Those scores tell you something though. It’s easier for big dogs to have a shot at hanging within the number if Oregon is only scoring 42-45 instead of 60...and you can’t trust the Oregon defense to stop people once the winner has been determined.

THAT’S a big deal for those handicapping Friday Night’s Oregon/California game that will be nationally televised on FOX SPORTS1. Cal can score...and the Bears are getting more than 17 points in the line at last report (at the 49ers new stadium by the way, rather than in Berkely). Let’s look at JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats to see if Cal has a chance to stay within the number...or even spring another Pac 12 upset...

Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Oregon: 6-1 (#27 schedule in USA Today)
California: 4-3 (#33 schedule in USA Today)

The teams have played comparable schedules according to Jeff Sagarin’s computer ratings at USA today. That means the stats we see should have predictive value. Oregon has a chance to play itself back into the Final Four picture if they run the table. California is aiming for a bowl appearance after a few lean years.

Yards-Per-Play
Oregon: 7.4 on offense, 5.6 on defense
California: 6.5 on offense, 6.0 on defense

Clear edge for Oregon, which isn’t a surprise for a Preseason national contender. Clearly California should be able to put some points on the board against that Ducks defense. But, it has to be said that Cal’s defense is pretty awful itself. When you combine the 7.4 offense of Oregon with the 6.0 defense of Cal...yardage and scoring potential soars way up there. This is a game where Oregon can break 50 and even make a run at 60 if they catch a break or two with field position or non-offensive TD’s. That stat combination doesn’t suggest a likely upset.

Turnover Differential
Oregon: +11
California: -1

And, this is where it gets really ugly for California. You just can’t count on them to play clean football! Oregon is more mistake-prone on the road, it has to be said. But, reasonable handicappers should expect Oregon to win this category Friday Night. This makes an upset even more unlikely. And, it could make an underdog bet one you have to sweat until the very end.

Market Performance
Oregon: 3-4
California: 5-2

Still, clear value this year fading Oregon (though they are 2-0 ATS since the loss to Arizona, with the only cover coming in that national TV game with Michigan State), and backing California...who covered in a loss to UCLA last week even though they were significantly outgained.

Current Line: Oregon by 18, total of 78.5

The site here is tricky because it’s not clear whether early season turf issues have gone away. And, it’s not anything near a “home” game for Cal because of the surface switch and minor travel issues. The nuts and bolts handicapping are suggesting that the number may be a bit high...but that Oregon could easily cover this one if they win the turnover category and focus on exploiting the soft California defense for the full 60 minutes.

JIM HURLEY has been looking over all the angles to this one. It could turn out to be a pass because the better Friday Night options lie in BYU/Boise State, South Florida/Cincinnati, or Troy/South Alabama (or maybe in Game Three of the Royals/Giants World Series in San Francisco!). You can always purchase the final word on game day right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Another college football preview will be on tap tomorrow when we put #3 Ole Miss at #24 LSU through the statistical ringer. Then it’s the prime time games Sunday and Monday with Green Bay at New Orleans and Washington at Dallas. We’re hoping the World Series makes it to six games so we can preview that one on Tuesday. And, we’re all looking forward to the start of the NBA season!

A huge weekend is on tap (as is the upcoming November to Remember!)...so BUILD YOUR BANKROLLS Friday Night with BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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