Pac 12 Friday Night Football Picks: #6 Oregon Ducks at California Golden Bears

#6 Oregon Ducks at California Golden Bears
Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, California

Friday, October 24, 2014, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: Oregon -18 1/2
Current Line: Oregon -18
Opening Total: 78 1/2
Current Total: 79 1/2
Opening Money Line: Oregon -1000 / California +700
Current Money Line: Oregon -900 / California +600

Oregon is an 18 point favorite at California Friday night.
Oregon is an 18 point favorite at California Friday night.

The 6-1 Oregon Ducks lead the Pac 12 North Division with a 3-1 record. However, the Ducks have bigger goals in mind mainly qualifying for the four team College Football Playoff. Oregon travels to the 4-3 California Golden Bears Friday night. The game will be played at brand new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, but Cal is considered the home team. Cal is 2-3 in the division.

Cal leads the series 39-35-2 against Oregon, but the Ducks have won 5 straight games in the series including the last 3 by 28 points or more. The Ducks won last year in Eugene 55-16.

Oregon is coached by Mark Helfrich. The Ducks have home wins over South Dakota 62-13, Michigan State 46-27, Wyoming 48-14 and last week against Washington 45-20. Oregon has road wins at Washington State 38-31 and at UCLA 42-30. Oregon was upset at home 31-24 by Arizona. The Ducks were 21 point favorites against Washington and the total was 64.5. Oregon is 3-4 ATS and the total is 3-3-1 this season.

California is coached by Sonny Dykes. The Golden Bears have losses at Arizona 49-45,  at home against Washington 31-7 and last week at home against UCLA 36-34. Cal has road wins at Northwestern 31-24 and Washington State 60-59, along with home wins over Sacramento State 55-14 and Colorado 59-56 in double overtime. The Golden Bears are 5-2 ATS and the total is 4-3 this season. California was a 6.5 point underdog against UCLA and the total was 72.5.

Oregon is outscoring teams 44-24 this season. Oregon is #6 nationally in scoring and #47 in points allowed. The Ducks average 527 yards per game including 310 passing and 217 rushing yards. Oregon is #11 in total offense and #15 in passing. Even the rushing attack is #33 in the country. Oregon is allowing 448 yards per game on defense, including 280 passing and 169 rushing yards. Oregon is #110 in pass defense and #100 in total defense out of 128 teams. The Ducks are +11 in turnovers for the season with 14 takeaways. Oregon is 57/99 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 67/136. The Ducks have forced 20 sacks and allowed 18. Oregon is 29/34 scoring in the red zone with 25 touchdowns, and opponents are 24/29 with 18 touchdowns. The Ducks are averaging 65 penalty yards per game, and opponents are averaging 51. Oregon has a punt return for touchdown.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is a Heisman contender. Mariota has completed 70.2% of his passes for 1,957 yards with 19 touchdowns and no interceptions, and has rushed for 289 yards on 56 carries with 5 touchdowns. Running back Royce Freeman has 114 carries for 636 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 5 catches. Byron Marshall has 30 carries for 249 yards and a touchdown, and 34 catches for 388 yards and 3 touchdowns. Thomas Tyner has 66 carries for 279 yards and a touchdown, along with 9 catches and a touchdown. Receiver Devon Allen has 23 catches for 440 yards and 6 touchdowns. Keanon Lowe has 17 catches for 266 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is questionable with a hamstring injury. Tight end Pharaoh Brown has 18 catches for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Bralon Addison is out for the season with a knee injury.

Cal is outscoring  teams 42-38 this season. California is #10 in scoring and #120 in points allowed out of 128 FBS teams. The Golden Bears are #19 in total offense nationally at 497 yards per game including the 3rd best passing attack at 372 yards per game. The rushing game is #108 nationally at 124 yards per game. On defense, California is allowing 525 yards per game including 392 passing yards and 133 rushing yards. The Golden Bears are #124 in total offense, dead last in pass defense, and #37 in rushing  defense. Cal is -1 in turnovers with 11 giveaways. Cal is averaging 71 penalty yards per game and their opponents are averaging 72 yards per game. The Bears are 59/119 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 56/136. California has forced 11 sacks this season and allowed 15. The Golden Bears are 24/28 scoring in the red zone with 18 touchdowns, and opponents are 29/36 with 22 touchdowns. Cal has two kick returns for touchdowns and has allowed a fumble return for a touchdown.

Cal quarterback Jared Goff has completed 64.8% of his passes for 2,482 yards with 24 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Running back Daniel Lasco has 102 carries for 523 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 18 catches for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns. Khalfani Muhammad has 40 carries for 174 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 6 catches. Receiver Bryce Treggs has 33 catches for 401 yards and 5 touchdowns. Kenny Lawler has 38 catches for 387 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Trevor Davis has 21 catches for 360 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 2 kickoff return touchdowns. Davis is out with a concussion. Chris Harper has 25 catches for 334 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is probable with a concussion.  Four defensive players are questionable or out for the Golden Bears.

Oregon is 13-3 ATS on grass, 17-5 after accumulating more than 200 rushing yards, 11-4 after a cover, 14-6 after scoring more than 40 points, 35-15-1 in October, 15-7 after a straight up win, and against teams with winning records, 2-6 in Pac 12 games, 1-4 after a straight up win of more than 20 points, and 0-4 in Friday games. The under is 6-1 in this series recently. Oregon is 4-1 ATS against Cal in the last 5 games in the series.

Cal is 5-2 ATS after passing for more than 280 yards and overall, 5-12 against teams with winning records, 2-5 in neutral site games, 4-10 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 5-14 in Pac 12 games, 7-21 after a straight up loss, 3-11 on grass, and 1-9 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards. The home team is 5-1 ATS in this series recently.

Neither of these teams can play defense very well, and this should be a high scoring game. However, a total of almost 80 is a lot of points. I like Oregon to win handily.

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