Cal vs. North Carolina Spread Prediction
The California Golden Bears open their season versus the visiting North Carolina Tar Heels at 4:00 p.m. ET. Will Cal cover as a touchdown-plus sized favorite?
4:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, September 1, 2018
California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California
Public Betting Trends
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Golden Bears are 7.5-point favorites to beat the Tar Heels. The total, meanwhile, sits at 59.5 points. As of this writing, 63% of the public betting tickets wagered on this matchup are on the Golden Bears.
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina HC Larry Fedora hinted that sophomore RB Michael Carter will likely miss Saturday's opener against Cal due to an undisclosed injury concern. The Tar Heels are typically reticent to release concrete injury information for players who are not being ruled out for the campaign, hence why Fedora isn't giving us much, here. We can fill in some of the backstory, though, as 247Sports' Greg Barnes reported in mid-August that the 5-foot-9, 195-pound Carter had sustained a broken wrist in scrimmage. He passed along a 4-6 week timetable for recovery off of that injury, which would put his potential return at mid-to-late September or early October. We expect to see Jordon Brown and OSU transfer Antonio Williams receive the bulk of carries while Carter rehabs.
California Golden Bears
Cal redshirt junior QB Ross Bowers listed as starter against North Carolina on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore Brandon McIlwain and redshirt freshman Chase Garbers are listed as co-backups. This is as expected. Bowers (6'2/200) threw for 3,039 passing yards in his first season with OC Beau Baldwin, who routinely led Eastern Washington to being among the highest scoring offenses in the FCS. With another offseason to work with Baldwin, Bowers and the Cal offense could take a step forward in 2018. Cal opens the season against a depleted UNC team at home.
The Tar Heels are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games overall.
The Golden Bears are 5-0 against the number in their last five home games.
Cal has a couple of nice defenders in linebackers Cameron Goode and Jordan Kunaszyk, who finished with a team-high 74 tackles last season. Their offense took a step back last season and will have to deal with a tough UNC defensive front this afternoon. That said, with so much turmoil on offense for the Tar Heels (which includes a suspension for quarterback Chazz Surratt), I like Cal to pull away in the second half and cover the spread.
College Football Week 1 Prediction: Cal Golden Bears -7 (buy the hook)