Something’s got to give in this game, as both teams enter looking for their first PAC 12 win of the season. Cal enters this game riding a streak of 14 consecutive conference road losses. Meanwhile, the Beavers will be trying to break an ugly streak of their own. They come into this game with 16 straight losses to FBS opponents.
Will McIlwain continue to start for Golden Bears?
After starting the season a perfect 3-0 and getting into the AP rankings for the first time since 2015, California lost its third consecutive matchup last week, falling at home to the previously winless UCLA Bruins 37-7. The Golden Bears turned the ball over a whopping five times on the night, most of which came at the expense of quarterback Brandon McIlwain, who fumbled twice and threw two interceptions in the loss. He completed just 22 of 40 passes for 168 yards on the night, while senior running back Patrick Laird finished with 94 yards and scored Cal’s only touchdown of the game.
— Cal Football (@CalFootball) October 14, 2018
Cal fans have to wonder how much longer head coach Justin Wilcox is going to stick with McIlwain at quarterback. The sophomore has lost all three of the games in which he has seen extensive, meaningful playing time. Clear away all the clutter from Cal’s first three PAC 12 losses and the narrative can be narrowed down to one thing: turnovers. The Golden Bears have 14 turnovers in conference play and their 19 giveaways are the second-most in the entire country.
California comes into this game scoring 23 points per game, while averaging 393.3 points of total offense per game. More than 45 percent (179 of 393 yards) of their total offense come on the ground this season, but they’ve been equally generous on the defensive side of the ball. Opponents are averaging 26.8 points and 334.2 yards of total offense per game against this Cal defense.
Jefferson adds four TDs to total in losing effort
Oregon State competed hard last week in a 56-37 defeat at home against the Washington State Cougars, but was unable to keep up with the Air Raid offense in the second half. Washington State riled off 28 points on four consecutive scoring drives to put the game out of reach, sending the Beavers to their fourth consecutive loss. Freshman running back Jermar Jefferson continued his historic freshman season, rushing for 138 yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort. Meanwhile, sophomore Corey Blount finished 15 of 21 for 172 yards passing and no touchdowns on the night, but he continues to take care of the football in his first full year as a starter. He has thrown seven touchdowns and just one interception in 128 attempts so far this year. Jefferson now has 865 yards on 130 carries and 12 touchdowns in just six career games heading into this week.
Jermar Jefferson's third TD run of the game is just an absolute thing of beauty.
— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) September 9, 2018
The Beavers enter this game allowing 47 points per game on a whopping 541.3 yards of total offense per contest, so it is hard to trust them here. Nearly half of that total (269.5) comes on the ground as well, so Cal should be able to move the football in this game.
- Golden Bears are 8-23 ATS in their last 31 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Golden Bears are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- Golden Bears are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Beavers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- Beavers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Beavers are 36-16-1 ATS in their last 53 games in October.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Oregon State is getting outscoring by more than two touchdowns per game this season and they have not come within two touchdowns in any of their first three PAC 12 matchups. Cal has covered the spread just one time in their last five meetings in Oregon State and the home team is 6-2 in the last eight meetings between these two teams. The combination of Blount and Jefferson are going to be too much here, but I’ll take the points anyway. Take the Beavers to cover the spread at home in this spot on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Pick: Oregon State Beavers +6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams have gone over the projected total in each of their last four meetings and four of their last five in Oregon State. The Beavers are allowing 47 points per game and over 540 yards of total offense per contest through the first six weeks of the season and all three of their PAC 12 opponents have scored 35 points or more. Not to mention, they’ve allowed 108 combined points over their last two games. Make sure you take the over in this battle between two teams still looking for their first conference victory of the season.
Prediction: Over 61
Half-Time Side Pick
Cal has been prone to turnovers all season long and they continue to have major question marks at quarterback six games into the season. Oregon State has faced a tough schedule, but there have been some bright spots. Freshman running back Jermar Jefferson is having a season to remember and is showing no signs of slowing down during PAC 12 play. Cal is giving up over 160 yards per game on the ground, so I like Oregon State’s chances of covering the first half spread at home in this spot on Saturday.
Prediction: Oregon State +4.5
Half-Time Total Bet
The Beavers are giving up 47 points and more than 540 yards of total offense per game this season, so Cal should have no issues moving the ball on offense. Meanwhile, Oregon State should have success running the ball and Conor Blount may actually be the best quarterback to take the field in this game. Turnovers could also give Oregon State some extra opportunities to score as well, so look for this matchup to go over the projected first half total.
Prediction: Over 29