2018 Cheez-It Bowl Betting Guide: TCU, Cal Bring Elite Defenses, Lowest Total of Bowl Season

Dec 26, 2018 1:30 PM EST
Credit:

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chase Garbers and KaVontae Turpin

2018 Cheez-It Bowl Betting Odds: TCU-Cal

  • Odds: Cal -1
  • Over/Under: 38.5
  • Date: Wednesday, Dec. 26
  • Location: Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

>> All odds as of Tuesday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time bowl odds and win probabilities on your bets.


Looking for a rock fight on Wednesday night? Look no further than TCU-Cal in the Cheez-It Bowl, which features the lowest total of this bowl season.

Both teams bring elite defenses and poor offenses to this game, so which one will win out?

Odds Movement for Cal-TCU

By Danny Donahue

Cal was one of the early movers of bowl season. Within a couple days of opening as 2-point dogs, the Bears jumped to a pick’em despite receiving the minority of bets. They’ve since become a bit more popular, but they’re still picking up just 49% of tickets and that line movement has continued to -1. As you may have expected, those bets have accounted for 59% of actual money being wagered.

At just 41, this was already the lowest total of bowl season when it opened. Since then, however, it’s gotten even lower. It’s down to 38.5 behind 50% of bets and 60% of money landing on the under.

Trends to Know for Cheez-It Bowl

By John Ewing

TCU went 4-8 against the spread (ATS) in the regular season. Since 2005, teams that covered 33% of less of their regular season games have gone 35-24-1 ATS in bowl games.

By Evan Abrams

As mentioned, Cal and TCU are playing the lowest-totaled bowl game of the 2018 season, which is currently hovering around 38.5. In the past 20 years, only four bowl games have had an over/under below 40 and the over is 4-0 in those games, going over the total by an average of 19 points.

Good Defense vs. Bad Offense

By Stuckey

Here’s a classic battle of two bad offenses vs. two elite defenses. TCU ranks 90th in the country on offense at 5.5 yards per play. Cal is even further down the list at 118th (5.0 YPP), but both are among the 24 teams in the country that allowed fewer than 5.0 yards per play on defense.

Big Plays? Not Here

By Stuckey

Cal has one of the least explosive offenses in the country, ranking 126th in IsoPPP+. That makes the Bears incapable of exploiting the one general weakness of Gary Patterson’s fast and aggressive 4-2-5 defense.

TCU has also struggled on defense once teams cross the 50, as it ranks 95th in finishing drives per S&P+, but once again, Cal’s offense is not built to exploit that deficiency. The Bears rank a horrendous 128th in the nation in finishing drives.

Cal Should Generate Turnovers

By Stuckey