Stanford vs. Cal College Football Pick

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Cal

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12/1/18

The season wouldn’t be complete without a Stanford and Cal Game so this one will be played when most championship Games are going on. ReScheduled because of the wildfires, this matchup doesn’t have a ton of meaning, only to decide which team will get the better bowl Game as both have the same records. The Cardinal were -3 point road favorites with an over/under of 48.5 as of Wednesday.

Even with the same records, these teams have had mostly different seasons. Stanford was thought to compete for the Pac-12 title, and while it started 4-0, it was clear this team didn’t have enough, getting blown out by the likes of Notre Dame and Utah. It’s a little different for Cal because it didn’t have hopes for anything following a five-win season, but now it could be looking at eight wins.

The Golden Bears almost won this Game last year on the road in a 17-14 loss and that was when Stanford had a better team. They let Bryce Love run over them for 101 yards, but Cal ended up winning the battle on the ground and had 5.5 yards per carry in the loss.

That rushing Game will be important because quarterback Chase Garbers isn’t beating many teams with his arm. He hasn’t thrown for more than 153 yards in the last Four Games, yet is averaging 4.5 yards per carry, which meshes well with top running back Patrick LAird. Those two have been enough to get huge wins over teams like Washington and USC because Cal surprisingly has one of the best defenses in the conference. 

It’s been a complete overhaul for the defense that was annually one of the worst in the country, but the Golden Bears are allowing just 21.1 points and 319 total yards per Game. Stanford doesn’t have a bad offense, made evident in the last few Games, but it’s also not an elite group because scoring more than 40 points on Oregon State and UCLA doesn’t mean too much. 

But even without Bryce Love running over opposing defenders, Stanford has done enough to average 30 points per Game. Love still only went for 3.9 yards per carry in last week’s win against UCLA and the team is at just 3.8 ypc for the season, which could be problematic. There’s a good chance Love struggles to do any better in this Game since Cal’s defense is allowing just 3.6 ypc, similar numbers to Washington, who held Stanford to 77 yards on 23 carries. Of course, quarterback K.J. Costello can’t go unmentioned because he’s been the best player on the offense, slinging 8.71 yards per attempt with 28 touchdowns and 11 picks. With monster target JJ Arcega-Whiteside (14 TDs) leading the receiving core, opposing corners have had issues stopping these two. 

The only way Cal can win is if the defense limits Love and doesn’t let Costello carve them up in the secondary. The Cal defense is on an incredible run that saw them hold UW, WSU and USC allow below 20 points and could easily do that to Stanford. That being the case, there’s at least a chance for an upset, especially at home, breaking Stanford’s eight-Game winning streak in the series.

The Cardinal are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road Games and 7-3 ATS against a team with a winning record. The Golden Bears have covered their last five and are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 home Games. The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings and the road team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine.

Our Pick – Cal +3