Oregon vs. California NCAAF Week 9 Picks: Bo Nix Has Ducks Flying Again

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Quarterback Bo Nix #10 of the Oregon Ducks warms up before the NCAAF game against the Arizona Wildcats. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP.

Bo Nix has reinvigorated Oregon’s aerial attack this season as they prepare to take on their Pac-12 rivals from California this Saturday.

Let’s check out the college football odds and break this matchup down as we look to keep cashing our college football picks.

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Oregon Ducks vs. California Golden Bears

Saturday, October 29, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at California Memorial Stadium

Bo Nix is the Auburn transfer who was looking for a fresh start in Eugene. So far, so very good, as Nix leads the seventh-ranked scoring offense in the nation, averaging 42.4 points per game. The Oregon passing attack is averaging 272.6 yards per game (36th) while the Ducks’ ground game is even better, checking in at No. 5 in the nation, chewing up 244.6 yards per contest.

In their last game, Oregon welcomed undefeated conference rival, UCLA, to Autzen Stadium and led 31-13 at the half. When the smoke cleared, Oregon seized sole command of first place in the Pac-12 with a 45-30 victory over the Bruins, easily covering the number as seven-point home chalk, and putting the first blemish on UCLA’s record.

Bo Nix was the star of the day, launching for 283 yards on 22-of-28 passing and five touchdowns. But not to be outdone, the Oregon ground attack was relentless throughout the afternoon with Bucky Irving accounting for 107 of the Ducks’ 262 rushing yards.

Ducks head coach, Dan Lanning, marveled at Nix’s performance saying, "He's making great decisions with the ball, he's not putting the ball in jeopardy. He's playing really smart football, unselfish football. That's going to lead to opportunities for us to win. If he continues to do that, I think we'll continue to see success."

California Dreaming of a Win

After starting the season 3-1, the Golden Bears have dropped their last three games and are hoping to turn things around against the powerhouse Ducks coming to Berkley on Saturday.

After a stunning 20-13 overtime loss to Colorado as 15-point road favorites, the Bears gave a gritty performance against Washington, but ultimately fell, 28-21, yet narrowly covered as 7 ½ point home dogs last week.

California quarterback, Jack Plummer, had a solid performance with 245 passing yards and 3 touchdowns while getting sacked five times.

The Bears rushing attack was held in check, gaining only 61 yards on the day while the California secondary was blistered for 374 yards and 2 touchdowns, courtesy of Huskies quarterback, Michael Penix Jr. However, Washington didn’t get much traction on the ground as the Bears held them to just 102 rushing yards.

Team Trends

  • Ducks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
  • Ducks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
  • Golden Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win.

Total Trends

  • Under is 10-3 in the Ducks’ last 13 road games.
  • Under is 3-1-1 in the Ducks’ last 5 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
  • Under is 4-1 in the Golden Bears’ last 5 games following an ATS win.
  • Under is 4-1 in the Golden Bears’ last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Under is 6-2 in Golden Bears’ last 8 games following a straight-up loss.

Oregon vs. California Prediction

California has dropped two of its last three meetings with Oregon, including last year’s 24-17 loss. But the interesting fact is that the Bears have covered all three of those contests and are now being given a 17 to 17 ½ point head start depending on where you shop.

And although it would be tempting to grab the points at top-rated sportsbooks, especially in a conference game with the home team getting that big head start, it’s hard to see how California will keep pace with this year’s sparkling edition of the Ducks.

Let’s understand that Bo Nix, who has been positively surgical over the last several weeks, will be slicing and dicing that California secondary, currently ranked 116th in the nation, allowing over 275 yards per game. I can see an afternoon of Nix just sitting back in the pocket and casually choosing which receiver he wants to pad his stats.

And when Oregon isn’t passing, they can employ the No. 5 rushing attack to break things up and set up the pass. But to be fair, we should acknowledge the California run defense is ranked 28th, allowing 117.4 yards per game, so Oregon may not run as buck wild as they have against other teams.

California's Offense

As for the California offense, how are they supposed to keep pace and stay within the margins against a prolific Oregon aerial attack? Granted, Oregon doesn’t defend the pass all that well, but California owns just a middling passing game, ranked 57th in the nation.

But the key to all of this is that the Bears will be forced to pass for two reasons. First, they don’t have much of a running game and won’t do anything against one of the best run-stop units in college football.

And because of that, we come to our second reason. Once California begins falling behind and is forced to abandon the run, they will rely exclusively on the pass, which will make Bears quarterback, Jack Plummer, much easier to read.

The Pick

Despite the big number, I am going a bit contrarian and betting this game to go under the posted total.

I don’t see California putting up many points, which is why I’m unafraid of laying the 17 and going low here.

Score Prediction: Oregon 38 - California 13

NCAAF Pick: Oregon -17 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Oregon -17 (-110)
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NCAAF Pick: Under 58 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Under 58 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.