College Football Predictions and Picks: Cal vs. Nevada Betting Odds
by Aaron Smith - 9/17/2010
The Friday late night ESPN showcase will feature the Cal Golden Bears and the Nevada Wolf Pack this week. Both teams were humbled at the end of last season, but both are contenders in their conference this year. California finished last year on a sour note with losses to Washington and Utah, but the Golden Bears have started out 2010 with some nice play. The Wolf Pack of Nevada were blown out by SMU in the bowl game last year, but they have started 2-0 in 2010. This battle in Reno should be an exciting matchup between two offenses that look absolutely dominating this year. California is looking to prove they are for real this year, while Nevada is out to prove they can win a big game on a national stage.
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College Football Predictions: The Offenses
The California Golden Bears are an offense that has weapons all over the field. Shane Vereen is a budding star that will be playing on Sundays in the next couple of years. He possesses great speed, and his elusive running style will frustrate defenses all year. Kevin Riley has had an up-and-down career at California, but the senior has definitely improved in a big way over the course of the last year. In 2010 thus far, Riley has thrown seven touchdown passes without single turnover. The wide receivers are average, but they aren’t spectacular. The offensive front of the Golden Bears will likely be the key to this team’s success in 2010. They are all solid run blockers, but Riley was sacked 31 times in 2009, so there needs to be some improvement in that area.
The offense of the Nevada Wolf Pack is an extremely interesting unit. In 2009 the Wolf Pack led the nation in rushing, and it wasn’t even close. Nevada had more than 50 yards per game more than the second ranked rushing team in the country. Colin Kaepernick is absolutely the engine that drives this offense. He is the team’s best player, and he does a great job making decisions on the fly. He is most dangerous when running the football, but he is also very efficient in the passing game. Brandon Wimbley gives Kaepernick a terrific wide receiver to target on the outside. The offensive line definitely has Chris Ault’s system figured out extremely well, and they should be a huge strength again this year.
California’s defense has been impressive thus far in 2010 as they have allowed just 10 points in two games. Clancy Pendergast is the new defensive coordinator, and the fan base is hoping he can make this defense become more consistent. The team is taking more chances so far this year, and it has been working out nicely. Mike Mohammed led the team in tackles last year, and he is a real presence at the linebacker position. The rushing defense has been solid the last couple years, but it has been the secondary that is the problem. In 2009, California ranked 111th in the nation in passing defense.
The Nevada defense has held them back from reaching much higher goals over the last few years. Dontay Mach is a beast at the defensive end spot, and he will be in the backfield all year long. However, this Nevada secondary is just terrible. Nevada allowed almost 300 yards per game through the air last season, and they yielded 33 touchdown passes. The cornerbacks get beat deep far too often, and other than Mach, there is very little pass rush to help out the secondary.
California vs. Nevada Betting Odds and Line Movement
The Golden Bears opened as one-point road favorites, but the public has been driving that line higher. California is now favored by three points at most books. The posted total is now sitting at 66 points, and that one has been driven higher quickly since the open. The opening total was 63 points before the money started pouring in on the ‘over’.
California vs. Nevada Betting Trends
Nevada is 26-12 ATS in their last 38 home games. California is 6-13 ATS in their last 19 road games. The Wolf Pack are 1-4 ATS in their last five September games. The Golden Bears are 6-1 ATS in their last seven September games.
College Football Predictions: California vs. Nevada Betting Picks
Both teams have looked great so far this year, but both teams are also untested. I would have been interested in the ‘over,’ but 66 points is just too high for me. Nevada has a real chip on their shoulder at this point, and if you can get them with the three points at home, they are probably the best play in this one.
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