Will Cal win five football games or fewer, or will it win six game or more? That is the question betting sites are posing to would-be gamblers.
With seven Pac-12 schools likely to start a quarterback obtained through the transfer portal this past offseason and three of the conference’s traditional powers (USC, Oregon, Washington) plus Washington State having new head coaches, it’s hard to predict what will happen. It does not appear that the Pac-12 has a national title contender, and the lack of a powerhouse team makes predicting win totals even more difficult.
We looked at the over/under lines for projected number of regular-season wins at five betting sites: Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, Draft Kings, Fan Duel and BetOnline. Every one of them puts Cal’s over/under at 5.5 wins in their 12-game regular season. We will provide some thoughts on Cal’s over/under later in this story, but first we will look at how the betting sites place the win totals for every Pac-12 school.
Five of the Pac-12 schools had the same over/under at all five sites, so just one number is provided for them. For the other seven schools we provide the most frequent over/under, then the sites that deviated from that in parentheses. Schools are listed in the order of their over/under lines.
USC – 9.5 wins (Caesars has 9 wins)
Utah – 9 wins (BetMGM and Fan Duel have 8.5 wins)
Oregon – 8.5 wins (Caesars has 9 wins)
UCLA – 8.5 wins (BetMGM has 8 wins)
Washington – 7.5 wins
Arizona State – 5.5 wins (Caesars has 6 wins; Draft Kings had 6.5 wins)
Oregon State – 5.5 wins (Caesars has 6 wins; Draft Kings has 6.5 wins)
Cal – 5.5 wins
Washington State – 5.5 wins (Caesars has 5 wins)
Stanford – 4.5 wins
Colorado – 3.5 wins
Arizona – 2.5 wins
Here are some of the comments regarding whether Cal is likely to exceed the 5.5-win total:
Comment: Here’s a case of the cross-division schedule dictating our assessment of the win total. The Bears miss Utah and Arizona State and instead face Arizona at home and Colorado on the road. We’re counting both as victories. Add UC Davis and UNLV to get four wins, and Cal would need just two of the remaining eight.
Our pick: OVER 5.5
Wins: UC Davis, UNLV, Arizona, at Colorado, Stanford
Losses: at Notre Dame, at Washington State, Washington, Oregon, at USC, at Oregon State, UCLA
Analysis: Cal had oodles of experience the past two seasons, yet stumbled to a 6-10 record over that time even after reaching bowls in 2018 and 2019. Head coach Justin Wilcox brought in NFL coaching veteran Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator beginning in 2020, but that move hasn't sparked the Bears whatsoever. In an era of offense in college football, Cal has essentially shriveled up into a poor man's version of Iowa, and it is tough to watch. Pick: Under 5.5 (-115)
It feels like it’s been forever since a quarterback not named Chase Garbers was QB1 for California. During the five years he started (2017-21), the Golden Bears saw success and were able to dethrone playoff hungry teams like Washington and Washington State. But they never were the legit threat they were projected to be in the Pac-12 North. Now with Jack Plummer taking snaps, Cal will have to adjust to a new quarterback. But Cal could still find themselves in a bowl game.
Jake Curtis, Cal Sports Report – Take the Over
Cal opens at home against UC Davis and UNLV. That’s two wins. Cal should also beat Arizona in Berkeley and Colorado on the road. That’s four. We’re counting road games against Notre Dame and USC as losses, so the Bears need to find two more wins in games against Washington State (road), Washington (home), Oregon (home), Oregon State (road), Stanford (home) and UCLA (home). Cal could win any of those, but we’re picking the home games against Washington and Stanford as the most likely wins that will bring the Bears’ victory total to six. The overall mediocrity of the Pac-12 is the biggest reason Cal should get at least six regular-season wins.
Cover photo by Stan Szeto, USA TODAY Sports
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