College Football Big Game Betting Picks: California Golden Bears at #5 Stanford Cardinal

California Golden Bears at #9 Stanford Cardinal
Stanford Stadium – Stanford, California

Saturday, November 23, 2013, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: Stanford -28 1/2
Current Line: Stanford -31 1/2
Opening Total: 56
Current Total; 56
Opening Money Line: Stanford -6000 / California +1800
Current Money Line: Stanford -6500 / California +1900

Stanford is a 31.5 point home favorite against Big Game rival Cal Saturday.
Stanford is a 31.5 point home favorite against Big Game rival Cal Saturday.

Although the California Golden Bears have had a miserable season with a 1-10 record, they can end the season on a high note as they travel Bay Area rival, the Stanford Cardinal Saturday. Stanford is 8-2 overall and 6-2 in the Pac 12 North. The Cardinal are a half game behind 6-1 Oregon for the division title, but the Cardinal hold the tiebreaker because they beat the Ducks in Stanford. California is 0-8 in the Pac 12 and has lost 9 straight games. Stanford leads the series against Cal 58-46-11, including 28-21-1 in Stanford. The Cardinal have won three straight games in the series, including 21-3 last year in Berkeley. The series dates back to 1892 and the two teams play for the Axe Trophy.

California is coached by Sonny Dykes. The only win for the Golden Bears came at home to FCS school Portland State 37-30. Cal has home losses to Northwestern 44-30, Ohio State 52-34, Washington State 44-22, Oregon State 49-17, Arizona 33-28 and USC 62-28 along with road losses at Oregon 55-16, at UCLA 37-10, at Washingtion 41-17, and last week at Colorado 41-24. Cal is 2-9 ATS and the total is 4-6-1 this season. The Golden Bears were one point underdogs at Colorado and the total was 67.

Colorado took an early 10-0 against California but the Golden Bears tied it up. The Buffaloes would score 14 more points before halftime to take a 24-10 lead into the locker room. Colorado added a third quarter field goal to make it 27-10. Each team scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to make the final 41-24 Buffaloes. Cal had 411 total yards including 197 rushing yards. Colorado had 485 total yards including 364 passing yards. The Golden Bears had two turnovers and the Buffaloes  had one.

Cal is being outscored 44-24 this season. California is #94 in scoring and #123 in points allowed out of 125 FBS teams. The Golden Bears are #33 in total offense nationally at 459.9 yards per game including the 10th best passing attack at 331.5 yards per game. The rushing game is #99 nationally at 128.4 yards per game. On defense, California is allowing 523.8 yards per game including 334.1 passing yards and 189.7 rushing yards. The Golden Bears are #122 in total offense, dead last in pass defense, and #90 in rushing  defense. Cal is -15 in turnovers with 27 giveaways. Cal is averaging 69 penalty yards per game and their opponents are averaging 65 yards per game. The Bears are 86/238 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 70/172. California has forced 17 sacks this season but allowed 32. The Golden Bears are 29/41 scoring in the red zone with 20 touchdowns, and opponents are 42/49 with 32 touchdowns. California has allowed two pick sixes, a kick off return for a touchdown and five punt returns for touchdowns this season.

California quarterback Jared Goff has completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,314 yards with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with a rushing touchdown. Back-up Zach Kline has thrown for 328 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, plus 26 rushing yards. Goff will start, but Kline could see some snaps.

Running back Brendan Bigelow has 92 carries for 404 yards and two touchdowns, plus 30 catches for 169 yards. Khalfani Muhammad has 69 carried for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 14 catches for 187 yards and  a touchdown. Daniel Lasco has 61 carries, for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 11 catches for 78 yards. He is questionable with a shoulder injury. Jeffrey Coprich and Darren Ervin will also get some carries. Little used running back Fabiano Hale is also questionable with an ear injury.

Receiver Chris Harper has 70 catches, 852 yards and 5 touchdowns. Bryce Treggs has 76 catches, 713 yards and a touchdown. Richard Rodgers has 34 catches, 483 yards and a touchdown. Kenny Lawler has 34 catches, 320 yards and 5 touchdowns. James Grisom has only 6 catches but three of them went for touchdowns. Ten Cal defensive players are listed as questionable or out Saturday from an already terrible unit.

Stanford is coached by David Shaw. The Cardinal have road losses at Utah 27-21 and last week at USC 20-17. Stanford has home wins over San Jose State 34-13, Arizona State 42-28, Washington 31-28, UCLA 24-10, and against Oregon 26-20 along with road wins at Army 34-20, Washington State 55-17 and Oregon State 20-12. The Cardinal are 5-5 ATS and the total is 4-6 this season. Stanford was a 3.5 point favorite at USC last week and the total was 45.

USC took a 14-7 first quarter lead against Stanford last week. Each team kicked a field goal in the second quarter to make it 17-10 at halftime. The Cardinal tied it up at 17 midway through the third quarter. Stanford would have five more drives that ended with a blocked field goal, two interceptions and two punts. USC kicked the go ahead 47 yard  field goal with 19 seconds left in the fourth. Stanford tried a couple of laterals on their last play but nothing really developed and the Trojans snapped a four game losing streak to the Cardinal. It was a very disappointing loss for Stanford a week after they upset Oregon at home. Stanford had 337 total yards including  210 rushing yards. USC had 311 total yards including 288 passing yards. The Cardinal were unable to overcome 6 penalties for 70 yards, 3 turnovers, and the blocked field goal. USC had one turnover.

Stanford is outscoring teams 30-20 this season. The Cardinal are #18 in points allowed nationally. The Cardinal are averaging 383.7 yards per game on offense including 177.6 passing and 206.1 rushing yards. The Cardinal are #107 in passing, #29 in rushing and #82 in total offense nationally. On defense, Stanford is allowing 345.6 total yards per game, including 253.9 passing yards and 91.7 rushing yards. The Cardinal are #4 in rush defense and #18 in total defense, but the pass defense is #102 nationally. Stanford is even in turnovers with 14 takeaways. Stanford is 74/148 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 64/173. Stanford averages 42 penalty yards per game and opponents average 52. The Cardinal have forced 32 sacks and allowed 9 this season. Stanford is 32/37 scoring in the red zone with 20 touchdowns and opponents are 23/31 with 16 touchdowns. The Cardinal have two pick sixes this season and 2 kickoff returns for touchdowns, and have allowed one fumble return for a touchdown.

Stanford QB Kevin Hogan has completed 60% of his passes for 1,723 yards with 13 touchdowns and 7 picks, along with 59 carries for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Tyler Gaffney has 235 carries, 1,201 yards and 15 touchdowns, along with 11 catches, 84 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Wilkerson has 62 carries, 241 yards and a touchdown, along with 5 catches for 38 yards. Receiver Ty Montgomery has 45 catches, 662 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus two kickoff returns for touchdowns. Montgomery also has 10 carries for 106 rushing yards.  Devon Cajuste has 22 catches, 396 yards and 4 touchdowns. Michael Rector has 7 catches for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Cal is 7-19 ATS after a straight up loss and overall, 2-7 after allowing 280 passing yards or more, 3-13 after failing to cover, 1-5 against teams with winning home records, in November, and in road games, 2-10 against teams with winning records, and after giving up 40 points or more, 2-11 in Pac 12 games, 1-10 on grass, and 0-5 after allowing 450 total yards or more, The road team is 4-0 ATS in this series recently. The Golden Bears are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six trips to Stanford.

Stanford is 6-1-1 ATS against teams with losing records, 6-1 after scoring 20 points or less, 6-2 in November, 8-3 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 5-2 after failing to cover, 20-8-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 22-9-1 in Pac 12 games, 19-8 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 34-16-1 overall and on grass, and 27-13 at home. Four of the last five games in this series have gone over the total.

Stanford sometimes struggles on offense, like they did last week against USC. However, that shouldn’t be an issue against Cal’s atrocious defense. The Golden Bears will be able to move the ball with their explosive passing game against the porous Cardinal secondary. The problem for Cal is they give up way too many sacks and turnovers. This line opened with Stanford a 28.5 point favorite and quickly moved to -31.5. That still might not be enough as an angry Cardinal team takes out their frustrations on their hapless rivals.

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