NCAA Football Free Picks: California Golden Bears vs. Oregon State Beavers

California Golden Bears
(4-3, 5-2 ATS)

Oregon State Beavers
(3-3, 4-1-1 ATS)

Two of the better ATS teams in the Pac-10 are going to meet in a crucial duel at Reser Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as the Oregon State Beavers and Cal Golden Bears collide in NCAA football betting action.

The Golden Bears probably shouldn’t be ranking just No. 64 in the land in total offense with a team with this much talent. HC Jeff Tedford has to be disappointed in QB Kevin Riley for averaging less than 200 passing yards per game this season. Riley has done a decent job though, completing 60.0 percent of his passes for 1,364 yards and a 13/6 TD/INT ratio. Save WR Marvin Jones though, he really isn’t getting in the fold with his receiving options this year. Do watch out for Jones though, as he has 33 receptions for 508 yards with three TDs. RB Shane Vereen is third on the team in receptions (16) and receiving yards (172), and he has been a dynamo on the ground as well. Vereen is well on his way to a 1,000 yard rushing season. He has 130 carries for 721 yards and ten TDs to go with the three tuddies he has through the air. The difference maker so far this year has been the defense. Cal kept Arizona State to just 17 points last week, meaning three of the four teams in Pac-10 play have combined to score just 34 points. The problem is that the USC Trojans, the fourth game on the slate, scored 48 by themselves.

Oregon State might be 3-3, but if it had converted a two point play at the end of overtime against the Washington Huskies two weeks ago, we’d still be talking about a team in control of its Rose Bowl destiny. As it is, OSU has a manageable schedule left remaining, but this isn’t a game in which it can afford a slip. It’s amazing that this team has stuck around in spite of the fact that its offense has underachieved and its defense has been terrible. It’s a real testament to the coaching abilities of HC Mike Riley. The Beavers rank just No. 79 in the land in total offense at 344.3 yards per game and a stunning second to last in total defense at 459.2 yards per game. RB Jacquizz Rodgers has accounted for 12 TDs, but he should be averaging a heck of a lot more than the 120.7 yards per game that his team is averaging on the ground this season. Missing WR James Rodgers is going to be brutal, but it didn’t seem to matter last week, as the Beavs put 34 on the board and just missed out on a huge victory on the road. OSU is the only team in the country that is yet to play an ‘under’ game so far this year (6-0).

Oregon State is the college football pick here. The Beavers have statistically underachieved all season long, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still one of the best teams in the Pac-10. Want proof? Just look at that win in the desert against the Arizona Wildcats back on October 2nd. Want more proof? Watch them blow out Cal this Saturday.

NCAA Football Free Pick: Oregon State Beavers -2.5

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