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California Golden Bears vs. Oregon Ducks Point Spread - Pick

California Golden Bears (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. Oregon Ducks (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date/Time: Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 8PM EDT
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
TV: Fox

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: CAL +17.5/ORE -17.5
Over/Under Total: 47

In Pac-12 action on Saturday from Eugene, the California Golden Bears come to Autzen Stadium to face the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks had last week off, which they're hoping gives them an edge, as they are nice and dug in at home, while Cal was slugging it out in conference play last week. With a 3-1 start, the Ducks have rebounded from their rough week one loss to Auburn and in their last game two weeks ago, they started their conference play well with a road-win over Stanford, 21-6. They now face a Cal team that is coming off a tough loss, losing their quarterback and laboring to a 24-17 defeat at home to Arizona State. Can they rebound and overcome injuries to still have a presence in this conference? Or did they peak early?

Last season saw the Ducks emerge from Berkeley with a 42-24 win over Cal. Cal quarterback Chase Garbers had a really rough outing with 2 picks on just 44 yards passing and 4 completions, as he was yanked. They hope for better this week, albeit with a passer who isn't very prolific in Devon Modster, the former UCLA QB who transferred. Some of Oregon's luminaries look to once again shine after thriving against Cal last season. Oregon QB Justin Herbert was 16-for-22 on an efficient day passing, connecting with some of the same targets that are still on that sideline. But even with Cal's defense playing pretty well for most of the season, the Ducks ran the heck out the ball, with Travis Dye and CJ Verdell each running for over 100 yards on the day. With five turnovers, Cal could never really get the upper-hand and by midway through the second quarter, things were starting to get out of hand. But maybe with less mistakes and better play on defense, Cal can do better this time around. Having Oregon score twice on turnovers didn't help and maybe they can clean up some of those mistakes.

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The Oregon offense has started to cook. Herbert has 14 touchdown throws against zero picks and is being very efficient in the Ducks' last three wins. He has some viable ball-catching targets, some of whom he has been working with for a few years. Jacob Breeland and Johnny Johnson, III. have been very fruitful in this offense for the first four games of the season, with Jaylon Redd and Bryan Addison chiming in with good production, as well. Verdell and Dye, both of whom thrived last season against the tough Cal "D" will be looking to do damage this week, along with RB Darrian Felix. It's a good offense and they're getting better, something that should elicit great concern with the Cal defense.

All in all, the Oregon defense has been pretty good. Sure, when it really mattered in a high-stakes week one matchup with Auburn, they melted and blew a lead, showing no clutch or late-game resistance. Since then, they've given up a total of 15 combined points in their 3 subsequent games. Sure, those games came against Nevada, Montana, and a Stanford team that hasn't yet hit the ground running in 2019. But the secondary looks very solid and with guys like Jevon Holland picking off passes, they are also a group that can make plays. And the opposing run-game hasn't thrived against Oregon this season, as their defense is pretty solid all-around. Getting into the meaty part of their conference schedule, will we see that continue?

The difference a week makes. Cal entered Friday's game against Arizona St. ranked number 15 with a lot of things going their way. A good defense was beginning to see good play on the other side of the ball, as Cal started to take on the look of a real threat. Their QB Chase Garbers had been improving dramatically and things were looking up. Then in the first half, Garbers slammed his shoulder on the turf and the way he walked off doesn't suggest a quick return, though as of press time, his status is a bit unclear. But it's not what happened that matters. It's what happens now and this game will show where Cal is.

A few things are troubling about where Cal now stands. I don't question whether Modster is a good athlete, but with 4 completions for 23 yards and a pick, it's fair to say he didn't connect well with his targets on Friday. And it's a depleted crew, with guys like Kekoa Crawford out of action last week. Modster was capable in spots commandeering the offense, as they ran the ball with success in spots. But the offense lacked continuity and consistency and with Garbers out, it looked exceptionally flat. Key conversions were missed and no clutch was seen on this side of the ball. They melted at home in the heat of the 4th quarter against a young ASU team in a game that was imminently winnable.

I also didn't like the way the Cal defense petered-out late against Arizona State. The supposed strong-suit of the team, it didn't really manifest against Arizona State. They have some real players on this side of the ball, namely a tackle-machine in linebacker Evan Weaver and safety Ashtyn Davis, a former hurdler who is also a dangerous return man. But without much support on the other side of the ball, the "D" was going to be relied upon heavily last week and they didn't really deliver. The lack of stoutness late against the run was alarming, as ASU back Eno Benjamin had a lot of second-half success. And after seeing ASU run the ball so well and considering what happened last season against Oregon on the ground, it's a definite concern heading into this week.

A lot of things shake out for Oregon in this battle. They are rested, while Cal is coming off a punishing game where they lost their quarterback and saw other guys get banged up. Cal is also at a depreciated state as a result, facing a tough Oregon team on the road. Be that as it may, whereas Cal may have faltered in the role of ranked favorite at home, maybe they can show some pluck as the road-dog getting a number. I see Cal hanging in there tough, eking out a cover on the road in Eugene.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Cal Golden Bears plus 17.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on games at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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