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No. 9 Oregon vs. California picks and best bets for Week 7

Cal pays a visit to Oregon on a chilly night at Autzen.

NCAA Football: Washington State at California Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Friday’s #Pac12AfterDark matchup takes us to a Autzen Stadium on a chilly night in Eugene as the California Golden Bears head north to meet the No. 9 Oregon Ducks. The game will kick off at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Cal (1-4, 0-2 Pac-12) is coming off their bye and needs to pick up the pace offensively if they want to salvage the second half of the 2021 season. The Golden Bears are once again struggling to put much together offensively and their listless showing in a 21-6 loss to Washington State two weeks ago exemplified that. They are averaging just 19.8 points per contest and are averaging a middling 5.5 yards per play. On the other side of the ball, they are ranked 77th in defensive SP+, concerning given the calling card for head coach Justin Wilcox being a strong defense.

Oregon (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) has also had a few weeks to lick their wounds, last seen getting upset in overtime by Stanford 31-24. The bye week has led for some Ducks fans to call for five-star true freshman quarterback Ty Thompson to get the nod for the rest of the season, but head coach Mario Cristobal is sticking with senior Anthony Brown. Brown has only two games this year where he’s completed over 60% of his passes, but he’s accounted for 10 offensive touchdowns total this season to just one interception. Oregon has had a few weeks to adjust to a slew of injuries on both sides of the ball, particularly the season-ending leg injury to star running back CJ Verdell.

Here’s all the data you’ll want, and a pick for the game!

SP+ Rankings

California: 75th overall, 71st offense, 77th defense
Oregon: 39th overall, 40th offense, 49th defense

Injury update

California

NT Stanley Mckenzie Out For Season – Leg

LB Kuony Deng Out Indefinitely – Leg

OL Will Craig Ques Fri – Undisclosed

WR Nikko Remigio Ques Fri – Undisclosed

RB Decarlos Brooks Ques Fri – Lower Body

Oregon

RB CJ Verdell Out For Season – Leg

OL Bram Walden Out Indefinitely – Leg

RB Travis Dye Ques Sat – Arm

Safety Bennett Williams Out For Season – Leg

DT Jaylen Smith Out Indefinitely – Undisclosed

RB Sean Dollars Out Indefinitely – Knee

TE Patrick Herbert Out Indefinitely – Knee

LB Jonathan Flowe Out For Season – Leg

ATS/Total

Against The Spread

California: 2-3 ATS
Oregon: 1-4 ATS

Total

California: Over 3-2
Oregon: Over 2-3

Returning/Overall Talent from 247Sports

California: 55th overall, 62nd offense, 39th defense
Oregon: 9th overall, 8th offense, 7th defense

Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Oregon -13.5
Total: 54
Moneyline: Oregon -575, California +410

Opening line: Oregon -14.5
Opening total: 55.5

Weather

41 degrees, 3 MPH winds S, 10% chance of rain

The Pick

Oregon -13.5

Something has to give here as Oregon is 5-1 ATS after a bye under Mario Cristobal while Cal is 11-4 ATS as a road underdog under Justin Wilcox. Both teams have had 13 days to prepare for this matchup but with the combination of a talent superiority, some much needed rest, and the homefield advantage of Autzen on a cold night, I’d lean towards the Ducks being more prepared for the assignment here. The Chase Garbers-led Cal offense is going nowhere and I don’t anticipate them keeping pace to cover on the road.

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