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Colorado vs. California Prediction,
and Odds - 11-24-2018

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#191 Colorado
Buffaloes 43
#192 California
Golden Bears -11

Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 7:00pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Game Stats

Colorado Buffaloes

5 - 6


California Golden Bears

6 - 4


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Colorado at California

When and Where: Saturday, Nov. 24, California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, 7 p.m. EST.

Colorado has one last chance to become bowl eligible, needing a win in its season finale Saturday at California in a crossover clash of Pac-12 teams.

Free-falling Buffs try to move on from MacIntyre firing

Colorado (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12 South) has come completely undone since its 5-0 start that briefly propeled it into the AP Top 25 and is now mired in its longest losing streak since losing the final eight games of the 2014 season that came in former coach Mike MacIntyre’s second season.

The word “former” became official for MacIntyre as he was fired Sunday following a 30-7 loss to South Division champion Utah, just two years after the Buffaloes themselves reached the Pac-12 title game.

“I want to thank Mike for six seasons of hard work and dedication to the program, both on and off the field,” athletic director Rick George said in a statement. “There’s no doubt that the 2016 season was magical, and it appeared we were headed back to taking our place among the nation’s elite. However, analyzing the direction of the program over the last two years, I felt this is the necessary time to make a change.”

Co-offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will lead the team as interim head coach. He helped scheme for a team that averaged 32.2 points in the first nine games before falling off the pace.

Though Colorado has lost six straight, it was barely competitive in the last two, totaling just 493 yards while being outscored 61-14. The Buffaloes were held to a season-low 196 yards by the Utes and have averaged 49.7 rushing yards in the last three games.

Despite the slowdown in the running game, Travon McMillan is still just 49 yards shy of his second career 1,000-yard season, with the other coming as a freshman at Virginia Tech in 2015. On the receiving side, freshman Laviska Sheanult Jr. is 54 from the milestone, an impressive achievement considering he has missed three games due to injuries.

“It would be great to get there,” Shenault told the school’s official website. “Growing up, you see all these receivers put up 1,000-yard seasons, and they would do it back-to-back-to-back. Now I’m living that, and it would definitely feel good if I could get that first 1,000-yard season.”

A loss would mark the 10th time in 11 years the Buffaloes have missed out on bowl season.

Bears bowl eligible, looking to enhance attractiveness for suitors

California (6-4, 3-4 North) could finish as high as third in the North Division and will make up its postponed game against archrival Stanford on Dec. 1 after the Pac-12 title game next week. The game was moved from last weekend due to the poor air quality resulting from the wildfires that have plagued the state.

The Bears have won three of their last four games following a three-game losing streak and became bowl eligible with a 15-14 victory at Southern California on Nov. 10. Chase Garbers threw a touchdown pass and ran for another in the third quarter as Cal erased a 14-point halftime deficit and shut out the Trojans in the final two quarters.

Garbers, who was splitting time with Brandon McIlwain, has thrown for 1,100 yards and 11 TDs with just five interceptions in 170 attempts compared to McIlwain’s eight picks in 129. Both quarterbacks, though, are threats to run the ball and have combined for 709 yards and five scores.

Patrick Laird leads Cal’s ground attack with 773 yards and five TDs as he looks to move closer to his second straight 1,000-yard season.

“As a team, I think we’ve handled it all really well,” Laird told the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s an emotional preparation for something like that, so for me, there was a little bit of a letdown. But once you start to have perspective on the whole situation, you think about all the people affected by the fires.”

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

While it is challenging to lay so many points with Cal given its inconsistent offense, this is more reflective of the expectation Colorado will not put up much resistance after the first sign of adversity in this game. The Bears will be well-rested and ready to face what will likely be a distracted team dealing with the firing of MacIntyre.

Prediction: Pick: California -12.5

Full-Game Total Pick

Both teams have struggled offensively — Colorado has scored just 14 points in the last two games while California has been held under 20 points in five of its last six. The Bears will likely get back to 20 points and slightly above while covering, but the expectation is these teams will not crack 40 between them.

Prediction: Pick: UNDER 43 points

Half-Time Side Pick

The chance to get the Bears giving less than a touchdown against what could be a Colorado team eager to simply get the season done is too good to pass up. Despite the fact Cal has not led at halftime in any of its last three games, the expectation is they will come out of the blocks strong after their unexpected off week and grab an early lead.

Prediction: Pick: California -6.5 (-110)

Half-Time Total Bet

Cal has not had a first half exceed 24 points in its last six games, and that includes contests against ranked foes Washington and Washington State. Colorado has been under 20 in the first two quarters of its last two games, and its sputtering offense likely will not get much traction against a sturdy Cal defense.

Prediction: Pick: UNDER 22.5 points

Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73)

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.


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