College Football Week 1 Predictions: California Golden Bears vs. Northwestern Wildcats
California Golden Bears vs. Northwestern Wildcats
Saturday, 8/30/14, N/A
Opening Point Spread: Northwestern -14
Current Betting Line: Northwestern -14
Opening Total: N/A
Current Total: N/A
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
California has won six of its last 10 road openers, but it has dropped both all-time meetings against Northwestern, with this being the first played in Evanston in the series. The Golden Bears got off to rocky start to the Sonny Dykes era in posting a 1-11 SU record a season ago, but 15 starters return to the fold in Berkeley, which is important to consider when making your college football predictions in Week 1. Sophomore quarterback Jared Goff is back after breaking the school’s single-season records for passing yards and total offense. California is 1-6 ATS in its last seven non-conference games.
The Golden Bears can only get better on the defensive end, considering 11 players who were starters or projected starters to begin the 2013 campaign missed action. All eyes will be on senior safety Michael Lowe, who tallied a team-high 67 tackles a year ago and also broke up five passes in coverage. California is going to be a tough team to handicap in the early going, as it was minus-15 in turnover differential and had the worst offensive and defensive yard-per-play averages amongst BCS schools.
Northwestern was unable to right the ship after suffering a 10-point home loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes last year, as it entered that affair with a perfect 4-0 record, but ended the season with a 5-7 mark. The Wildcats are hoping that running back Venric Mark can return to 100 percent health, as he gained just 97 yards on the ground in 2013—a year removed from making the All-Big Ten Conference second team. Northwestern is 7-6 ATS as home favorites the last three seasons.
The Wildcats have won seven straight home openers by an average of 23 points, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college football lines page. Northwestern should be balanced offensively with senior quarterback Trevor Siemian gaining much-needed experience last year—finishing with 2,149 yards and 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions. Defensively, the team has plenty of playmakers to stop opposing teams through the air, with three players returning with three or more interceptions on their resume from 2013.
Sports bettors will likely back the Wildcats due to their 4-0 ATS mark in their last four August affairs.
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