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Since beating USC more than a month ago, Stanford hasn't looked all that great. They lost at Washington, had to come back and win in overtime against Arizona and lost in OT at Notre Dame last weekend. Sure, those teams aren't easy wins, but after shutting USC down to 14 points, you'd think they'd give up less than 48 points to Arizona. California lost three of their first four games, but has turned on the burners in their last two. They beat UCLA 43-17 which may turn out to be a very big Pac 12 win and took out Washington State on the road last week.
Each team is mediocre on both sides of the ball which is why this line is so close. Stanford barely won last year's meeting 31-28 even though they were 17-point favorites. The Golden Bears have covered in three of the last four matchups while the over has hit in all of those games. Prior to those four games, the under hit six straight times. California QB Zach Maynard was a main reason why they were able to stay in that game. He finished with 280 and two touchdowns while RB Isi Sofele had 96 on the ground. Stepfan Taylor only managed 45 yards on the ground for the Cardinal as Andrew Luck did the rest.
Going back to Maynard, he hasn't had quite the successful season as many would have hoped for in his senior year with only 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His completion percentage at 61.8% is a career best, though. He plays much better at home as he has eight TDs and only two INTs there. Most notably, he completed 25-of-30 passes for four TDs against UCLA two weeks ago. Keenan Allen is his top target by far with 52 receptions, 633 yards and five TDs. Their next highest receiver has 18 grabs. Sofele isn't having a great season, but fellow senior RB C.J. Anderson is picking up the slack. He has over 100 yards and a TD in each of the last two games.
The Golden Bears have been tough on defense against the Pac 12, but not overly great. They allowed 27 points to both USC and Arizona State and only 34 combined to UCLA and WSU. Their run defense has been good for the most part (not against USC) and will have to stop Stepfan Taylor to have a chance to win.
The Cardinal are led by QB Josh Nunes who took over for Andrew Luck. Obviously, his numbers aren't as good, and he's been a thorn in their side during losses. He has zero TDs and three INTs in losses at Washington and Notre Dame. He'll be playing California on the road in this one. Taylor will have to have a much better game than his 45 yards from last year. He's getting a ton of touches this year and will likely get close to 30 in this game. Taylor has 147 carries for 657 yards and five TDs on the season.
Stanford is 1-4 ATS in their last five conference games and 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 meetings with the Golden Bears. The road team has covered in five of the last seven games between the two teams.
Our numbers suggest this line is right on the money. So, hard to even offer an opinion here but for the sake of doing so, we'll use the double revenge motive and go with Cal. Cal was blown out by Stanford in 2010 48-14 but closed the gap last year losing just 31-28. No Andrew Luck this year. Cal +2.5
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