Oregon vs. Cal Week 7 Odds, Predictions, Picks: Betting Value on Friday’s Over/Under (October 15)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Garbers.
Oregon vs. Cal Odds
|Moneyline||-590 / +425|
|Over/Under||53 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
The Oregon Ducks host the California Golden Bears in a Friday night edition of Pac-12 After Dark. Both of these teams are coming off a bye week following upset losses two weeks ago.
In their most recent game, the Ducks were eight-point favorites at Stanford, but the Cardinal converted a goal-line fade on fourth-and-goal with no time remaining to force the game into overtime.
The Cardinal scored a touchdown, and the Ducks couldn’t convert a first down as Stanford won, 31-24, in overtime to hand Oregon its first loss of the season.
The Golden Bears, who have yet to beat an FBS team this season, were favored by 7.5 points at home against Washington State two weeks ago, but the Cougars held the Cal offense to just one score as they pulled the road upset, 21-6.
Cal upset Oregon last season in the final game for the Golden Bears in 2020. Will they get their second straight win on Friday over the Ducks, or will Oregon take another step forward as one of two potential playoff contenders in the Pac-12?
Oregon vs. Cal Betting Preview
The Ducks need to consistently put pressure on California’s young middle linebackers if they hope to win and cover at home on Friday.
The Golden Bears have played five middle linebackers this season, two of which are true freshmen and two others are sophomores.
Key defenders for Cal remain out, including outside linebacker Kuony Deng and nose tackle Stanely McKenzie, so the Golden Bears will need younger players to step up throughout their defense.
Oregon needs to put pressure on the young Cal defenders by testing their eye discipline with misdirection to keep the pressure off on Brown at quarterback. Travis Dye figures to get the majority of the carries at running back, and he will need to make the Cal defenders miss in space.
Oregon offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead missed the Stanford loss, and it is unclear if he will be coaching this Friday. However, I would expect the Ducks to have a more cohesive offensive plan given that they are coming off a bye and have already played a game without Moorhead.
Oregon’s defense needs to force Garbers into obvious passing situations to win and cover.
The good news for Oregon’s defense is that it will return several key players from injury, including defensive tackle Jake Shipley and defensive end Bradyn Swinson.
The bad news for Oregon is it will be without star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux for the first half against Cal following a questionable targeting penalty in the second half against Stanford.
Oregon’s group of edge rushers has been devastated by injuries this season.
But Kayvon Thibodeaux, Bradyn Swinson, Mase Funa, Adrian Jackson and Jake Shipley are all expected to be back and healthy for the Friday matchup with Cal. https://t.co/8aVxqlRoIg
— Jarrid Denney (@jarrid_denney) October 12, 2021
Oregon’s defense, which ranks 57th in Line Yards, needs to step up against Cal’s offense that will likely try to run the ball often on early downs.
The Oregon pass rush should thrive in the second half with all three of Thibodeaux, Shipley, and Swinson back in action together. But its defense, led by safety Verone McKinley III, will need to weather the storm in the first half against Garbers.
If the Cal offense keeps things competitive with Oregon or even pulls the upset, it will be because they improve on third and fourth down.
In Cal’s most recent loss to Washington State, Cal rushed for 0.3 more yards per rush (3.6 to 3.3) and threw for 0.1 fewer yards per pass (5.1 to 5.2), but they lost by 15 points.
This happened because the Golden Bears converted just three of 15 third downs, and they were an abysmal one of five on fourth downs (the Cougars converted seven of 15 third downs and one of two fourth downs).
The Golden Bears rank first in the nation in line yards and 37th in Rush Success Rate, but they also rank 66th in Finishing Drives and 123rd (out of 130) in fourth-down conversion rate (23.1%).
The Bears need to do a better job of converting line yards into rushing yards as they have yet to rush for more than 3.7 yards per carry in their two Pac-12 losses.
Cal quarterback Chase Garbers has been inconsistent throughout his career in Berkeley, and he will need the Cal rushing attack to step up and give him third-and-manageable or else the Oregon edge rushers will tee off on him.
Garbers will get a boost Friday with left tackle Will Craig and receiver Nikko Remigio healthier following the bye week.
Cal’s defense needs to step up against the run and force Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown to beat them with his arm if they hope to win or cover.
Cal’s defense, which ranks 73rd in Defensive Line Yards and 45th in Rush Success Rate allowed, will have its hands full against Oregon’s rushing offense that ranks 32nd in Line Yards and 45th in Rush Success Rate.
However, Oregon’s bell cow, running back CJ Verdell, is out for the season, and the Ducks can’t replace his combination of strength, speed, and vision.
The Ducks rank just 95th in Big Plays, so keeping the Oregon offense in front of them will be key as they force Brown and Oregon’s other running backs to beat them repeatedly on third downs and in the red zone where they will have less space to work with.
Oregon vs. Cal Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Cal and Oregon match up statistically:
Cal Offense vs. Oregon Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Oregon Offense vs. Cal Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||82||5|
|Plays per Minute||79||27|
|Rush Rate||48.% (108)||60.6% (31)|
Oregon vs. Cal Betting Pick
My initial reaction to this line opening with Cal as 14.5-point underdogs was to bet on the Golden Bears, but now that the line is down to 13.5, I like the value much less, especially with Shipley and Swinson back.
This week after practice, Oregon defensive tackle Brandon Dorlus weighed in on the significance of having both starting defensive ends, Thibodeaux and Swinson, on the field together:
“I’m telling you all, this film on Friday is going to be different… I’m saying, it’s going to be real different having them both back on the field.”
The Cal defense needs to create Havoc to pull the upset, but it ranks just 101st in Havoc created while the Ducks offense ranks 11th in Havoc allowed.
However, Oregon’s offense did struggle mightily against Justin Wilcox’s defense last year, and although Brown replaces Tyler Shough at quarterback in this matchup, I don’t love laying two touchdowns in this spot for Oregon.
The Cal offense has been inconsistent, and if they can’t run the ball, they won’t have success, especially when Thibodeaux returns in the second half.
Instead of playing the spread, I love the value on under 54 at DraftKings (and would bet it down to 51.5), as I don’t trust either quarterback to make big plays down the field, and Verdell’s absence significantly lowers Oregon’s explosiveness and red-zone running ability.
Pick: Under 54
How would you rate this article?
This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.