California Golden Bears vs. Arizona Wildcats Preview and Picks

California Golden Bears
(2-1, 2-1 ATS)

Arizona Wildcats
(3-0, 3-0 ATS)

A week after falling to the Nevada Wolfpack on national television, the California Golden Bears will try to kick off their Pac-10 slate in style in an NCAA football betting battle against the Arizona Wildcats.

Cal looked like it was going to be a real dynamo this year until it ran into the Wolfpack last week. All of a sudden, there was just no way to stop the Pistol, and no matter what QB Kevin Riley and HC Jeff Tedford dialed up, there was no way to keep up with what Nevada was doing. The numbers for the Golden Bears are still fantastic offensively, as they rank 22nd in the country in total offense (458.3 YPG) and seventh overall in scoring (45.0 PPG). RB Shane Vereen is having the type of season that could put him in the Heisman Trophy race if the rest of the country sort of falls flat like they did in 2007 when QB Tim Tebow won it. Vereen has rushed the ball 49 times for 324 yards and six TDs and has caught six passes for 55 yards and two more scores. His signal caller, Riley has thrown for 732 yards and eight TDs against three picks on the year. The defense, which looked dominating as it only gave up ten total points in the first two games of the year looks mortal now after allowing 52 to Nevada.

Arizona came up with arguably the biggest victory in the HC Mike Stoops era last week when it beat the Iowa Hawkeyes at home. The Cats knew that they needed to make a real statement both for themselves and for the Pac-10. Statistically speaking, QB Nick Foles certainly has his ups and downs. Foles has completed 78.6 percent of his passes for 877 yards, which are phenomenal numbers. However a TD/INT ratio of 5/3 is nothing to write home about. Still, when push came to shove, it was Foles that threw the game winning TD pass in the dying minutes against the Hawkeyes. The leading receiver on this team, WR Juron Criner has 15 catches for 295 yards and a score on the year, but he is doubtful for this one with a toe injury. If Criner isn’t in the lineup, Foles is losing his biggest deep threat, as Criner averaged a team high 19.7 yards per catch, easily the best on the team. The real positive for this team is the defense, which ranks third in the country in total ‘D’ at 220.3 yards per game. The 27 points allowed to Iowa marked the first time all season long that anyone scored a TD on this defense.

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Needless to say, the Golden Bears have a lot of work to do in this game. However, Arizona is probably really full of itself. If by chance Cal had won last week and Arizona had lost, the other team would probably be favored. The Golden Bears are every bit as good as the Wildcats are, but because of perception, they are decided underdogs. We’ll take advantage of this weak NCAA football line.

Selection: California Golden Bears +6.5

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