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California 2018 Betting Preview: Bears’ Weak Run Defense Will Be Tested Often


Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Wilcox

California 2018 Betting Odds

  • To win the National Title: +200000
  • To win the Pac-12: +6000
  • To win the Pac-12 North: +2700
  • Win Total: 6.5 (over -105, under -125)

Always shop for the best line.

California 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds

The Action Network Projected Wins: 6.0

Bet To Watch

California Under 6.5 (-125)

There’s a lot to like about Cal despite a 5-7 record with no bowl in Justin Wilcox’s first year. The Bears rank 19th overall in returning production, including every offensive starter and the entire secondary. The defensive front seven will need to improve for Cal to become a real contender in the Pac-12 North, though.

The competition is neck and neck through fall camp between quarterbacks Brandon McIlwain and Ross Bowers. Either quarterback will have Vic Wharton and Kanawai Noa as targets, which will keep that passing downs success rate going (ranked 18th in 2017).

Cal closed 2017 losing four of its last five, with three of the losses coming by a field goal or less.

Any team that has an offensive line that can control the line of scrimmage and clock will give this Cal defense fits. There are plenty of talented rushing attacks on this Bears schedule, including BYU, Oregon, Washington, USC and Stanford.


That list does not include games with Arizona and Colorado, which both have quarterbacks who run frequently. The Bears will beat teams that are pass-first, but that is not enough for seven wins. I expect the Bears to finish with six wins, so I’ll give a win total play of Cal Under 6.5 (-125).

What else you need to know about California

Cal is 9-3 against the spread as a home team since 2016, and will immediately be challenged by North Carolina in Week 1 as an 8-point favorite. Make sure you get caught up on all the suspension information and how it relates to the Tar Heels vs. Cal opener.

More College Football Betting Previews

Click here for team previews on all 130 FBS schools.

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