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California Golden Bears Odds – Jahvid Best needs help on offense

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/24/2009 1:49:02 PM
NCAAF odds

The California Golden Bears odds for 2009 differentiate depending on which college football betting fan you talk to. The optimists will tell you this team is a BCS Championship contender with a great pass rush and a Heisman Trophy candidate at running back. The pessimists see a weak passing game with a depleted O-line and linebacker corps.


California Golden Bears odds: Teams will key on Best if other offensive players don’t step up

  • Running back Best is a Heisman candidate
  • Kevin Riley must improve his passing accuracy
  • Defense lost some bodies but should still be effective

There’s no doubt Cal will at least be competitive this season and the main reason for that is Mr. Jahvid Best. The diminutive back rushed for 1,580 yards and scored 16 total touchdowns last season while averaging 8.1yards per carry. He’s lightning-fast, able to hit a home run on every play, and the driving force behind the California Golden Bears odds to win the BCS. The offense revolves around him and, given how many touches he’ll get, he’s a solid Heisman Trophy hopeful.

Don’t rush to the offshore sportsbook and bet on Cal just yet; offensively, the good news stops after Best. After splitting snaps with Nate Longshore, Kevin Riley gets the quarterbacking reins to himself this season. While his 14 touchdowns versus six interceptions is a respectable split, he completed only 50.7 per cent of his passes. With a young, and/or inconsistent group of receivers at his disposal, he’ll have a difficult time improving that number. He also may see more pressure after losing center and leader Alex Mack in the offseason. If the passing game can’t get going, the California Golden Bears odds will take a hit as Best will see more eight-man fronts.

Arguably, defense is what really powers the California Bears odds. They lost Zack Follett and his 11 sacks to the NFL draft but big defensive tackle Tyson Alualu will pressure opposing quarterbacks and lead a pass rush that ranked 14th in the nation in sacks last season. The veteran secondary is a real strength and Syd’Quan Thompson, who had four interceptions in 2008, should build on last season’s performance. While the Bears lost two other starting linebackers on top of Follett, many scouts are betting Mike Mohamed can step in and become a star.

The California Golden Bears odds to win the BCS are listed at +5000, and that’s a fair number. A national title is just within the realm of possibility thanks to Cal’s outstanding running game and solid defense, but it’s still a major long shot. The passing game must improve. If it doesn’t, not only will the Bears struggle to improve on last year’s 9-4 mark, but they could even regress if opposing defenses can key on the running game.  

For full California Golden Bears odds and more sports betting analysis, keep reading the Betting Edge at and check out our sportsbook.

Blake walked onto his college football team and had a brief stint as an assistant coach after he graduated. He brings a sharp mind to the world of sports handicapping. Blake understands the nuances of the game that only someone who has played would understand.



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