The Cal Golden Bears had a bye last week and enter Thursday's game against the No. 9 Oregon Ducks with a 3-1 record. Both squads feature high-powered offenses, but opening lines indicate that the Golden Bears are underdogs by roughly 24 points.
This may seem like a bit too much on the surface. Cal boasts the nation's 15th best scoring offense at 39.5 points per game. The Ducks lay claim to the best scoring offense in the country at 52.0 points per game. Do the math and you'll see that, on average, the Ducks should win by only 12.5 points, which is far below the point spread.
However, the Golden Bears have been shaky on the road this season. Cal struggled against the Colorado Buffaloes (who are now 1-4) and needed overtime to produce a 36-33 victory. Likewise, the team struggled against the Washington Huskies in a 31-23 loss two weeks ago. The Bears are averaging only 29.5 points per game on the road, while the Ducks are averaging 62.5 points at home.
Cal's defense, which is allowing 24.5 points per game, should limit the Ducks offense and prevent them from reaching upwards of 60 points. However, Oregon is still guaranteed to put a ton of points on the board and Cal will likely continue facing road struggles in the face of a quality opponent, making it very possible for Oregon to cover the 24-point spread.