Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#141 California 39 vs.
#142 Utah -18
Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 10:00pm EDT
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City
Written by Adam Rauzino

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#141 University of California, Berkeley
#142 University of Utah
4-3
6-1
3-4
4-3
1-6
1-6
19
32
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The California Golden Bears will head on the road to battle the #12 Utah Utes in PAC-12 action Saturday night from Rice-Eccles Stadium. The California Golden Bears are in must-win mode. They have dropped three consecutive games to fall to 1-3 in PAC-12 play after opening the season with four straight wins. The Golden Bears' struggles can be attributed to the absence of #1 QB Chase Garbers who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. His replacement Devin Modster has not fared well. California is 2-1 in their three road games.

The Utah Utes enter this one riding a three-game winning streak. They stand in first place in the PAC-12 South with a 3-1 conference record. The Utes earned a decisive 21-3 home win against a strong Arizona State team last week. The Utes lone conference loss occurred against USC which is also their only defeat all season. Utah’s defense continues to excel and they climbed one position to #12 in this week’s AP Top 25 rankings. The Utes are a perfect 3-0 on their home field. This marks the first meeting between these two sides since 2016 in a game California won by a 28-23 score.

Golden Bears Offense Stumbles in Third Straight Loss

The California Golden Bears are in need of a win. The Golden Bears have dropped each of their last three games despite playing outstanding defense. They lost to Arizona State, Oregon, followed by a 21-17 upset home loss to Oregon State last week in a game that had California favored by 11 points. Devon Modster who is replacing injured #1 QB Chase Garbers has struggled, recording only 380 passing yards with a 2:3 TD to INT ratio in about 2.5 games of action. The junior QB exited last week’s loss with an injury and is expected to be a game-time decision. If he is unable to play the inexperienced freshman Spencer Brasch will start.

The Golden Bears’ running game is having trouble as well. Their leading rusher Christopher Brown Jr. has only tallied a combined 96 yards on 33 rush attempts in his last two games, and he has collected 480 rushing yards on the season. This Utah rush defense will be the best they have seen this season.

Nikko Remigio and Jordan Duncan are the only two players with over 200 receiving yards. Remigio has 251 receiving yards and Duncan has 219 yards. The Golden Bears offense has looked terrible without their #1 QB, and Utah is another stellar defense that will pose a challenge.

The California defense is a strength. They are effective against both the run and pass, and they have not allowed more than 24 points this season. The Golden Bears are second-last in the PAC-12 North, and they are scoring an average of only 19.9 points, ranking them 116th overall. California is conceding an average of 18.7 points, pegging them 20th in the FBS.

#12 Utah's Elite Defense Prevails in Third Straight Victory

The Utah Utes moved into first place in the PAC-12 South with a 3-1 record thanks to their dominating 21-3 home win against Arizona State last week. The Utes have also defeated Washington State and Oregon State in their current three-game streak. Tyler Huntley left the game against Arizona State last week early with a leg injury, but he will play in this one. Overall he is having a terrific season. The senior QB has accumulated 1564 passing yards with a dazzling 9:1 TD to INT ratio, and he has added 229 rushing yards.

The Utes running game continues to be a big threat led by rushing leader Zack Moss who is locked in, rushing for at least 90 yards in three out of his last four games. The senior RB has increased his season total to 613 rushing yards on a sizzling average of 6.6 yards per attempt.

Bryan Thompson leads all Utes’ with 324 receiving yards. The sophomore WR has only made five receptions over his last two games. The Utah offense was kept in check last week, but they scored 38 and 52 points respectively in their first two games of this winning streak.

The Utes’ defense can be considered one of the best in the entire FBS. They have the #2 ranked rush defense in the country as they are holding opponents to 61 rushing yards per game, while their pass defense is 30th overall. Utah is scoring an average of 32.9 points, ranking them 42nd in the country. They are conceding an average of 11.7 points, good for sixth in the FBS.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Utah should register a convincing victory. This PAC-12 tilt features teams going in opposite directions. California has lost three straight while #12 Utah has won three consecutive games. This is not a good matchup for California. The Utes feature a dominant defense that is the best in the PAC-12, and the Golden Bears offense has gone quiet, scoring 17 or fewer points in three straight games. They are playing without #1 QB Chase Garbers, and backup QB Devon Modster is expected to be a game-time decision. 

Furthermore, Utah can also pile on the points. They feature a potent ground game that is averaging a sizzling 217 rushing yards per game. California’s rush defense is mediocre, standing 60th in the FBS. Utah has notched three straight blowout wins, and I expect another convincing win in this one.

Prediction: Utah Utes

Full-Game Total Pick

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I am expecting this matchup to evolve into a low scoring game. The under has been a safe bet with the Utes thanks to their stifling defense. They have limited their opponent to 13 or fewer points in each of their last three games, and that should continue against a struggling California offense, plus the under is 6-0 in the Utes’ last six conference games.

In addition, while the Utes should have enough success offensively to cover this spread, the Golden Bears defense is an asset. They have allowed 21 or fewer points in six of their seven games on the season, and the under is 10-1 in their last 11 road games overall.

Prediction: Under

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The under on the California team total which is offered on PointsBet is a recommended option. The Golden Bears have no answer for strong defensive teams. They only managed 17 points against Arizona State and seven against Oregon. They are coming off a 17 point performance against a very weak Oregon State defense last week. Utah is limiting opponents to 252 total yards per game, good for fourth in the FBS, and they should silence California in this one.

Prediction: California Team Total Under

Half-Time Side Pick

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Utah should be in control at the half. The Utes are averaging a remarkable 18.3 points in the first half compared to an average of only nine points from California. Utah is very difficult to solve in the opening half as well. They have limited their opponent to an average of only 4.3 points in the first half over their last three games.

Prediction: Utah
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.