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Washington State

vs.

Cal

College Football

Free Pick

10/13/17

Once again, Washington State plays on a national stage on a Friday night (beat USC on Friday two weeks ago), although this time they’ll be the road team. Coming off a huge win at Oregon, the Cougars are large -13 point favorites against Cal as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

The path is clear for a huge Apple Cup at the end of the regular season, as there could be Pac-12 title game and playoff implications. Of course, there’s still a long way to go and Washington State isn’t known as being a lock to beat up on worse teams. The Cougars may be undefeated, but this team still needed overtime to beat Boise State a month ago and while the Golden Bears have lost three straight, they’ll be jacked to play this night game.

Cal hasn’t looked great in losses at Oregon and Washington, but this team still gave USC some fight in its lone conference home game. Playing at home combined with the national stage on Friday should give the Golden Bears some extra motivation. Then again, that’s not going to make the defense any better after getting gashed by Wazzu 56-21 last year. The Cougars threw for 400 yards, but more impressively ran for 254 yards on 8.2 yards per carry.

Cal’s defense is slightly better, but no one has been able to keep Washington State down for an entire game. Luke Falk has faced some better defenses in recent weeks, yet is still sporting a 71.8 completion percentage to go with 19 touchdowns and two interceptions. The running game hasn't been as potent with Jamal Morrow, James Williams and Gerard Wicks all struggling to produce at a consistent rate. But this Cal defense has still been one of the worst in the nation again even if it’s been better than recent seasons. The Golden Bears are giving up yards through the air and on the ground and most recently did nothing against the Oregon and Washington offenses. If the Cougars can run it as well as last year’s meeting, this game will be over early, but that may not be the case this time around.

Covering for Cal will still depend on the offense that hasn’t shown an ability to score in bunches. Ross Bowers has struggled to do much against better defenses and is only completing 55.9% of his passes to go with nine TDs and eight INTs. A lot of Cal’s early success came with the help of running back Patrick Laird, but he’s had just 40 yards in the last two games as the Golden Bears haven’t done anything on the ground. If Cal can’t run in this game, that’ll lead to more time for Wazzu to run up the score.

According to the numbers, this should be another game in which the Washington State offense has its way, while the defense does enough to get the cover, which has been the case in the last four games. But still, there has to be some trepidation in picking Wazzu in this tough spot on the road. That said, a lot of the trends back them with the Cougars covering in their last four on field turf and going 14-3 ATS in their last 17 following an ATS win. The Golden Bears are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven Friday games and are 2-7 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.

Our Pick - Wash St -13

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