The PAC-12 has been an intriguing conference this season and as we enter the home stretch of the regular season the race to make the conference championship game is tightening up. Oregon State might have cost themselves a chance at the title game with their loss to Washington last weekend however the biggest games in the conference will be played in the next three weeks so the order at the top of the standings could be shaken up quite a bit. We’ll break down this Pac-12 showdown along with my best bet for the game.
The Cal Golden Bears will not be one of those teams vying for a conference championship spot, in fact, they enter this weekend on a five-game losing streak. Cal has only won one conference game all season and has struggled to consistently produce on either side of the ball. The Golden Bears offense has one of the worst running attacks in college football and is only managing to average 23.5 points per game.
Quarterback Jack Plummer has put up decent numbers this season with 16 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions but Cal’s offense has not been able to make up for the team's defensive mistakes. The Golden Bears' defense is allowing an average of 432.8 yards per game and has let opposing quarterbacks throw all over the field against them. Luckily for the Bears, the one position that has struggled for #23 ranked Oregon State is quarterback.
Oregon State might be without starter Chance Nolan again this weekend meaning Ben Gulbranson will get his fifth consecutive start for the Beavers. After winning his first three starts Gulbranson struggled mightily in last week's loss to Washington. The Beavers rush attack has been really solid all season but they need some semblance of a passing attack in order to end this season on a high note.
Damien Martinez and Deshaun Fenwick have been as good as any running back duo in the country so if the passing game is still lacking this weekend this duo and the Beavers stellar defense will need to continue to execute at a high level. Oregon State boasts one of the best red zone defenses in the country so it could be tough for Cal to consistently find the end zone.
The spread for this game opened with Oregon State as (-13.5) point favorites at home and it hasn’t moved at all. The Beavers have remained (-13.5) in most sportsbooks all week. Point total wise the game opened at 49 but the number has moved down a bit to 48.5 where it sits now.
Oregon State is 7-2 ATS this season and has covered all four of their home games as well. The Beavers (-13.5) is my best play for the game, the combination of their defense and getting this number inside a football number has me liking the Beavers to cover again at home.
Cal has struggled in the past against Oregon State going 2-5 ATS in their last 7 match-ups. I think the Golden Bears will struggle to consistently put up points against this Beavers defense. As long as Gulbranson can manage the game effectively and let his running backs take the majority of the workload on offense I think the Beavers can come away win of two touchdowns or more.