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Arizona vs. Cal Odds & Picks: Your Betting Guide for Saturday’s Pac-12 Showdown

Arizona vs. Cal Odds & Picks: Your Betting Guide for Saturday’s Pac-12 Showdown article feature image
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Tom Hauck/Getty Images. Pictured: Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura.

  • The Arizona Wildcats head north to take on the Cal Golden Bears in Saturday Pac-12 college football action.
  • The Wildcats enter as short underdogs on the road, but we see betting value on them to cover — and win outright.
  • Check out Roberto Arguello's top bet for Arizona vs. Cal below.

Arizona vs. Cal Odds

Saturday, Sept 24
5:30 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
Arizona Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-105
50.5
-110o / -110u
+146
Cal Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-115
50.5
-110o / -110u
-178
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Arizona Wildcats travel to Berkeley to face the Cal Golden Bears as both teams begin Pac-12 play.

The Wildcats are riding high after an upset victory over North Dakota State in Tucson.

Meanwhile, the Golden Bears nearly pulled off an improbable Hail Mary as time expired in South Bend last Saturday, but fell 24-17 to the Fighting Irish.

This is the only Pac-12 game this week with a spread of less than five points, and both teams may need to win this game to become bowl eligible by the end of the season.

Will the Bears protect their home field, or will the Wildcats continue their upward surge under Jedd Fisch?


Arizona Wildcats

If Arizona is going to pull off the upset, Jayden de Laura will need to avoid costly mistakes while the defense stops the Cal rushing attack.

The Arizona offense was revamped through the transfer portal this offseason, and it starts at quarterback with de Laura coming in from Washington State and receiver Jacob Cowing coming from UTEP.

De Laura is a player who can set up both offenses for success. He holds the ball longer than he should in the pocket and creates explosive plays for both teams when he should have thrown the ball away seconds earlier.

We have seen both the good and the bad from de Laura, as he has six Big Time Throws and seven Turnover Worthy Plays this season.

He had a 47.6 PFF Passing Grade against Mississippi State, with no Big Time Throws and four Turnover Worthy Plays (although his receivers didn’t help him much with six drops in that game).

He followed that up with an 85.4 PFF Passing Grade against North Dakota State, with three Big Time Throws and only one Turnover Worthy Play.

The fun part about playing with Cowing at receiver is that de Laura just needs to get him the ball in order for big plays to happen. The slot receiver has both the speed to burn teams deep and the quickness to make players miss after the catch on short routes.

Highly-touted freshman receiver Tetairoa McMillan is also a big-play threat who could burn a Bears defense that hasn’t faced any elite playmaking receivers yet this season.

Defensively, Arizona lacks playmakers, but after facing the smash-mouth North Dakota State rushing offense last Saturday, the Wildcats should be prepared for a less effective Bears rushing attack.


California Golden Bears

If Cal wins and covers, it will be because its running game propels it to victory, and/or the defense increases its Havoc.

The Cal offense is boring. The exciting Bears players from last year — quarterback Chase Garbers, running back Christopher Brooks and receiver/return man Nikko Remigio — all either exhausted their eligibility or transferred to other schools.

The Bears have made downgrades at each of these key positions.

The Bears brought in Purdue transfer Jack Plummer to play quarterback, and he too is uninspiring.

Plummer doesn’t create explosive plays, but unlike de Laura, he likely won’t lose his team many games with poor decision-making. Plummer has a 55.2 PFF Passing Grade, along with four Big Time Throws and Four Turnover Worthy Plays this season.

Freshman Jaydn Ott has taken over as the lead back while junior Jeremiah Hunter and redshirt freshman J.Michael Sturdivant have emerged as the leading receiving targets.

The offense has struggled and ranks 114th in Offensive Success Rate (0.37), 95th in Finishing Drives and 79th in Rushing Success Rate.

The offensive tackles have struggled in pass protection — especially left tackle Ben Coleman, who allowed two sacks in each game against UC Davis and Notre Dame. He also allowed four additional pressures against the Aggies and five additional pressures against the Fighting Irish.

Defensively, Cal lacks playmakers and sorely misses the loss of standout defensive lineman Brett Johnson, who suffered an injury in the offseason and will miss the entire season.

Most notably, the Cal defense ranks 98th in Havoc created and 113th in Line Yards.

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Arizona vs. Cal Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Arizona and Cal match up statistically:

Arizona Offense vs. Cal Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 81 104
Line Yards 82 113
Pass Success 65 41
Pass Blocking** 92 121
Havoc 14 99
Finishing Drives 72 19
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Cal Offense vs. Arizona Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 50 111
Line Yards 24 109
Pass Success 85 127
Pass Blocking** 117 71
Havoc 79 59
Finishing Drives 95 98
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 73 73
PFF Coverage 28 44
SP+ Special Teams 124 65
Seconds per Play 23.7 (21) 26.7 (73)
Rush Rate 45.3% (109) 46.6% (101)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Arizona vs. Cal Betting Pick

Our Action Analytics projections make Cal a half-point favorite at home, so with Arizona available at +3.5, there’s value on the visitors.

Cal has taken a step back in talent at the skill positions and that, paired with a defense that doesn’t have its usual bite, makes me believe the Bears are further overvalued this week.

Although the Bears haven’t given up more than 24 points in a game this season, they also haven’t faced an offense with a quarterback as dynamic as de Laura, or a receiver as explosive as Cowing.

I’ll hold my nose and hope de Laura doesn’t make too many head-scratching plays after holding the ball too long, as he made significant strides in that department from the Mississippi State game to the North Dakota State game.

I love the value of taking the Wildcats at +3.5 at FanDuel in a game with a low total of 50.5.

I’ll also be throwing Arizona ML (+140) in some underdog moneyline parlays, as this should be priced at even money.

Pick: Arizona +3.5 · Arizona ML +140

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