OK, let's think about this:
Cal was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 North in the preseason media poll. Washington was picked third.
Cal's Nov. 7 game against Washington will be played in Berkeley, on Cal's home field.
Cal has the most experienced quarterback in the Pac-12 in Chase Garbers, who has made 19 collegiate starts. Washington is undecided on its starting quarterback with four players vying for the job, none of whom has started a game as an FBS quarterback.
Cal has beaten Washington each of the past two seasons even though the Huskies were favored both times.
Cal head coach Justin Wilcox is entering his fourth season as the Bears' head coach, while Nov. 7 will be the first game as a head coach at any level for Washington Jimmy Lake.
So therefore, the favorite in the Bears' opening game against the Huskies is . . .
That's right, the Huskies are favored to win the Nov. 7, according to BetOnline. And not by just a point or two, but by virtually a touchdown.
One thing you should realize, though, is that oddsmakers are not predicting the outcome of the game, they are setting up a line in which they expect the same number of money to be bet on each team. That's why the line sometimes changes during the week. If one team is getting an inordinate amount of money bet on it, the line will be altered to get more money bet on the other team.
The reputation of Washington football on a national level is still better than Cal's, as indicated by the fact that the Huskies received votes in this week's Associated Press media top-25 media poll and the Bears did not. And home field probably means little this season with no spectators allowed to attend games (with the possible exception of family members). Finally, just because none of the Washington quarterbacks has FBS experience, that does not mean they are not talented.
The opening weekend of games in the Pac-12 is still three weeks away, but BetOnline provided the opening betting line for all six Pac-12 games scheduled for that Saturday.
The two favorites to reach the Pac-12 title game -- Oregon and USC -- are big favorites in their openers.
(For the novice sports bettors, the team with the minus points is the favorite by that many points.)
Saturday, Nov 07, 2020
Washington (-6) at California
Arizona at Utah (-14)
Stanford at Oregon (-11½)
Washington State (-3) at Oregon State
Arizona State at USC (-11)
UCLA (-6) at Colorado
The interesting thing will be to see whether any of those lines change beween now and Nov. 7. A lot can happen between now and then, such as the naming of the Huskies' starting quarterback.
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
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