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Cal vs. Oregon Thursday Night Football Pick

10/6/11

This weeks Thursday Night football takes us out West to the Pac-12 as the mighty Ducks of Oregon host the California Golden Bears as huge 24 point favorites. As of this writing Monday, there is no total posted, but you can expect a big number as the Ducks average 52 points per game, #1 in college football while Cal's numbers aren't too far off at 40 points per game.

The game holds some intrigue in that last season, while the Ducks were averaging 47 points per game and routinely putting up 50's and 60's, even 72 once, Cal held them to just 15 points, their lowest point total of the season, in a narrow 15-13 win for Oregon in a game that Cal had a chance to win.

But there are a couple of significant difference this time around. First, the game is at Oregon, where the Ducks play on turf, unlike the grass field at Berkeley. The other significant difference is that this time around, Oregon has had a week off to prepare. Last year, Cal mixed it up defensively and gave the Oregon offense some looks they hadn't seen. This year, the Ducks will have had almost two weeks to devote entirely to Cal.

In 2009 these two teams played in Oregon, with Oregon sending Cal home with a 42-3 spanking. But the 3 previous meetings, 2006, 2007 and 2008 all went in favor of Cal, and all of those Oregon teams were ranked in the Top 25.

We can't advise laying 24 points in any college football game, although if any team can cover a number like that, it's Oregon at home. So we'd make a weak call here on Cal +24 hoping that they can employ a similar strategy to that of last year's game and at least keep this one within the spot. Note that Cal also has had an extra week of prep time and any team averaging 40 points per game is always going to be a threat for a back door cover.

Instead, we'd take a look at the total when it's posted. Our Score prediction model has Oregon by a score of 59-25 which would be 84 total points. If the number came up in the mid 60's or less we'd consider an over play, though our best guess would put the total around 70 which, like the side, would be too high to get involved with.

So, a lean towards Cal +24 here but, the sportsbooks won't be seeing any of our money on this one. Good Luck if you bet it!

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