Oregons’ Anthony Brown throws against Stanford during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
- Oregon (4-1) hosts Cal (1-4) on Friday at 10:30 PM Eastern on ESPN
- The Ducks lost RB CJ Verdell for the season after he suffered a leg injury against Stanford last week
- Below are the odds and team previews to help settle on the best bet available
Which Oregon team is going to show up at Autzen Stadium on Friday night?
The Ducks are 13.5 point favorites against Cal – which is a puzzling line. At first glance, it’s a top ten ranked program against a team that’s lone win came against Sacramento State.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll see exactly why the odds makers were hesitant to give the Golden Bears too many points. Oregon is coming off a costly overtime loss to Stanford and needs to get back in the win column. Let’s explore both programs to see where the smart will go before kick off.
California vs Oregon Odds
|California Golden Bears||+13.5 (-105)||+430||O 54.5 (-105)|
|Oregon Ducks||-13.5 (-115)||-620||U 54.5 (-115)|
Odds as of October 13th at FanDuel
Ducks Reeling After Surprising Loss to Stanford
The Ducks loss to Stanford was soul crushing on many different fronts. Oregon allowed a touchdown on the final play of regulation before losing in overtime and that may not be the worst part. Star running back CJ Verdell was lost for the season due to a leg injury, potential first overall NFL pick defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux is suspended for the first half against Cal after a late ejection and there’s still no word on when offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead will return.
Game 6 vs California
October 15 | 7:30 PM PT
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) October 11, 2021
With a depleted roster and potentially without their play caller once again, Oregon will need to rely on two key offensive players to avoid a second straight loss. Quarterback Anthony Brown has been just okay but appears to have the backing of head coach Mario Cristobal. He’ll keep his starting gig despite completing only 56.1% of his passes this year. Without his starting tailback to rely on, Brown will need to be much better.
The second player deserving of your attention is the new starter in the back field Travis Dye. He’s small at 5’10 and 190 pounds but has both speed and physicality to his game. Should the Ducks need him down the stretch he could prove capable of icing the clock to preserve a victory.
Cal Needs to Protect Football Against Oregon
Cal enters the game with a 1-4 record but it’s not impossible to find positives. Yes, the only victory came against Sacramento State but they have been close in all but one game. They have only one loss by more than one possession thanks to a competent defense. The Golden Bears aren’t elite at keeping opponents out of the end zone but they’ll put up a fight against an undermanned Oregon squad.
— Cal Football (@CalFootball) October 10, 2021
One key issue plaguing Cal in the one score games is ball protection. Quarterback Chase Garbers has five interceptions this year and leading rusher Damien Moore has two fumbles. If the key contributors on offense can simply hold on to the ball, the Golden Bears might have a chance to make some noise in the football game.
Consider Fading the Public and Betting on Cal
Despite over 80% of public bettors are siding with Oregon this line has not budged. The 13.5 point spread seems to be begging for a wager on the Ducks and it’s a trap you should avoid.
Cal has kept games close against quality opponents like TCU and Washington and has a great chance to do so here against a reeling Oregon team. Trust the Golden Bears to keep it close by taking them with the points and if you’re feeling especially adventurous consider an additional money line play.
The Pick: Cal +13.5 (-108)
Ryan has been working at TSN for over eleven years, and is now a lead writer and content producer at That’s Hockey. Over the years, he’s launched and hosted TSN’s first NCAAF podcast, The College Football Show, and been featured on the likes of TSN 1050, Sportscentre, and That’s Hockey 2Nite.