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Washington State Cougars vs. California Golden Bears Point Spread - Pick

Washington State Cougars (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS) vs. California Golden Bears (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 7PM EST
Where: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California
TV: Pac-12 Network

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: WSU -7.5/CAL +7.5
Over/Under Total: 51

In Pac-12 action from Berkeley, the Washington State Cougars battle the California Golden Bears on Saturday. Both teams are looking to get a leg up to finish the season strong. They are both 4-4 overall and 3-5 against the spread in up-and-down seasons that have been more down than up lately. At least both teams were allowed to rest, having last week off. The Cal Bears lost their fourth in a row in a deflating 35-0 road-loss at Utah in their last game. The Cougars have been more plucky, but after a 3-0 start, have lost four of their last five including a tough 37-35 loss to Oregon in week nine. Who can get it done this week at Memorial Stadium?

Both teams have been through a lot of ups and downs in eight games in 2019. Cal's downward trajectory has certainly been steeper. Granted, the Cougars have covered just three spreads and are in a 1-4 stretch where they gave up 180 points in those four defeats. Twice in that stretch, they lost straight-up as favorites. Still, they're good enough to lay a beating on Colorado and give a highly-ranked Oregon team a real run for their money. Cal, meanwhile, is starting to see their overall resistance wane. They've gone from a ranked team that looked like it could make a run at big things, to a scrappy team trying to hold it together with a tough defense, and now to a team that needs to be careful before becoming the conference punching bag of not so long ago.

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Injuries have played an unfortunate role in Cal's season and the quarterback position has been hit especially hard. Losing Chase Garbers was bad enough, but with Devon Modster now out of commission, Cal is deep in the barrel with Spenser Brasch, along with Robby Rowell also getting a few snaps against Utah. Both lack experience and despite Cal having produced some name quarterbacks in recent years, they aren't really deep in that area. It had taken a lot to get Garbers up to speed, as he was just starting to show signs that he could lead this offense, but to now be 3-4 deep on the depth chart has done a real number on an offense that will have trouble developing stars under these conditions. Oceanside's Christopher Brown, Jr. is a talented back, with some good ball-catchers in Kekoa Crawford (questionable), Nikko Remigio, and Jordan Duncan, among others. But uneven line play, along with having young quarterbacks floundering with the aerial game have this offense in knots, as their shutout-loss to Utah will attest.

Cal's saving grace was their defense, but even that part of the team started to wane recently after holding solid for weeks, despite little help coming from the other side of the ball. At some point, you need to have the offense string together some first downs for overall morale and just to get off the field. Evan Weaver is a monster and he has some talent alongside him in the middle, with a secondary that is robust and can also make plays. But the personnel losses on the other side of the ball and the nosediving spirit and hopes of the team have started to resonate with this unit. After such a trying first two months to the season, maybe the week off and being at home can pump some life back into this unit's legs.

While the overall outlook for the Cougars isn't as dire, they haven't been getting results. It was rough losing on a field goal with time running out with a chance to make a real statement at Oregon, falling, 37-35. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but still a result indicative of a dangerous team, however flawed they may be. And let's face it—there are flaws. Their defense can evaporate at a moment's notice, while the offense can be erratic and give away the ball. But at nearly 42 points a game on average, the offense remains a big threat and they have a lot of weapons that can make it hard for opponents to cover spreads.

With 32 TD throws through 8 games, Anthony Gordon is next in a long line of WSU gunslingers. The 9 picks is a little dicey, but he's completed 70% of his balls and works well with a varied cast. Running back Max Borghi is a major threat and he catches a lot of balls, even if the Cougars' running-game is an afterthought. Ball-catchers Easop Winston, Jr., Brandon Arconado, Dezmon Patmon, Travell Harris, and others make up a deep and potent aerial attack.

The other side of the ball represents a bigger issue. They can actually be scrappy in spots, but are porous more often than not. We've even seen them stymie top conference offenses, but only for isolated stretches of the game. At the end of the day, they haven't been able to thrive in any kind of overall sense. And with the offense putting up so many points, it's a bad reflection on this group to be just 4-4, even as the Cougars have allowed almost a hundred points less than they've put up on the scoreboard. At its worst, this "D" can be downright brutal. They are in fairly good company this week, with the Cal offense a highly dysfunctional group heading into the final stretch of the season.

With that Washington State defense, whoever is behind center for the Golden Bears at least won't be against one of the more-rigid defenses in the conference. But then again, the Washington St. defense will be against one of their easier tests of the season and have shown they can be rigid against low-flying offenses. I expect a somewhat-dogged home Cal defense to surface and to have benefitted from the extra time off. At the end of the day, I see a halfway-competitive affair in Berkeley with the Golden Bears emerging with the home-cover.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the California Golden Bears plus 7.5 points. Bet the WSU vs. CAL game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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