This Saturday the California Golden Bears (3-2) will host the UCLA Bruins (0-5). Kickoff for this Pac-12 showdown is set for 7:00 EST at Memorial Stadium and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
Taking a look at the Week 7 NCAA Football odds, the books opened this up at Cal -7.5, but most have dropped the number down to 7. The total for this matchup is currently at 52.5-points.
Cal vs UCLA Game Preview & Betting Odds
The Bruins are still looking for their first win under Chip Kelly, but did put up a decent fight at home last week against No. 10 Washington. UCLA went off as a 21.5-point home dog and lost by a final score of 31-24. It didn’t look good early with the Huskies leading 24-7 at the half, but that would be as close as Washington would get to the cover.
The Golden Bears enter off a 24-17 loss at Arizona as a 1.5-point road favorite. Cal had to leave that game wondering how they managed to blow that game. The Golden Bears held the Wildcats to just 265 total yards and 13 first downs, but 4 turnovers by the offense, including two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, cost them a victory.
Last year the Bruins won 30-27 at home, but it was Cal who covered as a 7-point dog. It was a rare non-cover for the home team in this series, as the road team had failed to cover in each of the previous 7 meetings.
Free College Football Against the Spread Pick: California -7
My early lean here would have to be laying the points with the Golden Bears at home. I think this is the ideal spot to jump on Cal, who is desperate for a win after losing two straight following their 3-0 start. On the flip side of this, I believe this is also a great time to fade UCLA. This is a huge letdown spot for the Bruins, who gave everything they had in their upset bid of Washington last week.
Click here for more free college football picks from our top rated experts on staff.
This team just doesn’t have the talent or experience to come off a loss like that and play well on the road, especially in what’s going to be a hostile environment with this game being a prime time matchup under the lights. The even bigger key here is we know we are going to get a max effort from Cal in this one. Something I don’t think UCLA got from the Huskies last week. It felt like Washington was content just going through the motions after building up that 17-point lead at the half.
I’ve said this numerous times when talking about UCLA, it’s only a matter of time before Kelly has that program competing for conference titles. It’s just not going to happen this year and while the team should keep improving, they simply got a long way to go before they are going to win games on the road against the team the caliber of Cal.
There’s just not a lot to like about the Bruins on either side of the football. UCLA is 101st in rushing (138.6 ypg) and 94th against the run (185.8 ypg). They are also 101st in passing (195.4 ypg) and 95th against the pass (243.8 ypg). They have the 120th ranked offense in the country and the 102nd ranked defense.
Prior to the closer than expected final against Washington, they had lost by 22 on the road to Colorado, 24 at home to Fresno State and 28 at Oklahoma. Note that awful showing at home against the Bulldogs came the following week after their big game against the Sooners, so this wouldn’t be the first time they didn’t show up after playing a Top 10 opponent.
I also feel like we are getting a bit of a discount on Cal due to the fact that they just lost outright as a favorite against a Arizona team a lot of people are down on. The thing is, the Wildcats weren’t the better team, the Golden Bears simply beat themselves. Arizona’s only points in the final 3 quarters came via interception returns for touchdowns. Cal outgained the Wildcats 476 to 265 and had a 25 to 13 edge in first downs. I know turnovers have been a problem for the Bears in 2018, but the Bruins defense has just 5 takeaways in 5 games and 3 of those came against non-Power 5 opponents.
I look for Cal to easily score 30+ points in this game and that should be more than enough to get the cover, as UCLA is averaging just 18.4 ppg and haven’t scored more than 24 in a single game all season. Give me the Golden Bears -7!