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How and what to watch for No. 21 Oregon vs. Cal

After a disheartening loss to an in-state rival, the No. 21 Oregon Ducks look to bounce back against the winless Cal Bears.

Oregon Ducks quarterback Tyler Shough throws under pressure from Oregon State Beavers linebacker Andrzej Hughes-Murray during the second half at Reser Stadium. Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 21 Oregon Ducks fell from the periphery of the College Football Playoff conversation after their disheartening loss to the in-state rival Oregon State Beavers last week. While the defeat effectively removes whatever hope remained for a Pac-12 team crashing the playoff, the Ducks have a prime opportunity to rebound against the winless California Bears on Saturday.

Oregon could see several key players return to the field this week, further buoying their cause. Running back C.J. Verdell and defensive back Nick Pickett left last week’s game with injuries, but both appear on track to play in Berkeley, according to head coach Mario Cristobal. Verdell in particular would help the offense after sophomore starting quarterback Tyler Shough tossed two picks against Oregon State, the first multi-turnover game of his young career.

As for Cal, their 0-3 record does not fully indicate the quality of the team. Their past two losses came by a combined five points and each could have realistically gone the other way with just a few slight breaks. Last week’s defeat to Stanford proved particularly difficult as kicker Dario Longhetto has his extra-point attempt blocked in the final minutes. Cal would lose by exactly one point.

For the Bears to make this game competitive, they will have to perform better against the pass. The defense as a whole ranks 86th in success rate and 57th in success rate against the run. However, the unit rates outside the top 100 in success rate against the pass, an area Oregon will attempt to exploit.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch No. 21 Oregon versus Cal on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN, or you can stream it via the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Oregon (-8) vs. Cal
Point Total: 57.5
Money line: Oregon (-315) vs. Cal (+240)

  • Since 2015, Oregon has an even 13-13-1 home record against the spread (8-7-0 as the road favorite).
  • During the same stretch, the Ducks have an over record of 11-15-1 on the road (8-6-1 as the road favorite).
  • Since 2015, Cal has a 15-15-2 home record against the spread (10-6-1 as the home underdog).
  • Also from that period, the Bears have an over record of 14-18-0 at home (8-9-0 as the home underdog).

Betting splits

Oregon: (70% of action, 72% of bets)
Cal: (30% of action, 28% of bets)

The Best Bet

Cal’s record does not reflect the quality of the team, and Oregon fits the mold of a team that could let one bad performance bleed into another. The Ducks should still win, but the Bears have the means to keep it close.

Pick: Cal +8

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