The Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl will set the California Golden Bears against the Texas Longhorns. See where the college football odds makers have set the lines and find out where we are placing our picks.
Free college football pick backing the ‘UNDER’ the posted total in the
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl set to start at 8:00 PM ET, December 28,
2011. The Texas football program has started a new bowl streak after last
year’s very disappointing season that saw a streak of 12 straight bowl
Cal missed last year’s bowls as well, after a loss in the BCS Title game two season ago. Their bowl season was in doubt when they
started out largely inconsistent and posting a 4-4 mark, but then went on to
win two of the last three games of the regular season to earn a 7-5 record. This will
be an entertaining game with two teams from elite conferences playing strong
The Simulator Projections
My proprietary sports betting database and simulator shows a
high probability that fewer than 47 points will be scored in this game. The
simulator shows a high probability that California will gain between 300 and
350 offensive yards in this game. This performance level has lent itself to
‘under’ plays. When California has achieved this level in past games they are 2-0
‘under’ this season and 17-6 ‘under’ since 1992.
Another if the dozens of projections supporting the ‘under’ play
calls on Texas to rush the ball for 150 to 200 yards in this game. In past
games where they have enjoyed this rushing success they are 4-1 ‘under’ this
season and 8-2 ‘under’ the past three seasons.
Ball Control and More Ball
The Texas defense ranks 14th in the nation overall and
was first in the Big-12. They were lit up in their last game, but by Heisman
Trophy winner RG3 (Robert Griffin III). I think that game simply an aberration
and Texas will have had weeks to prepare for a solid California offensive
Cal is led by quarterback Zack Maynard and running back Iso
Safely, who were largely responsible for the team winning three of the last
four games this season. Their offensive scheme will look to take advantage of what the Texas
defense will give them, which will be underneath routes, slants, and drags.
Texas will play a base cover-2 and not allow any deep vertical routes to get
Mack Brown believes that the Texas running game will to it's mid-season form thanks to the return of many players that were out due
to injury. He has them working very hard and will have three straight days of
intense practices Sunday through Tuesday December 20. They will then
back off steadily as the bowl game approaches. This shows how serious Mack
Brown is to finish the season with a bowl win.
I do expect Texas to establish the run and use more varied
formations and misdirection running plays as they look to get a quick Cal defense
out of their gap disciplines. The return of a healthy Malcolm Brown will be key
to this execution.
The last four weeks of the season, Texas played without many of
their offensive weapons. Running back Jaxson Shipley was out for three straight
games and returned wearing a knee brace that limited his agility, but he played
in pain nonetheless. Fozz Whittaker was lost for the season in a horrific ACL
knee injury against Missouri. Freshman Joe Bergeron played well in their
absence gaining 327 yards in wins over Texas Tech and Kansas, but then fell to
a hamstring injury limiting him to just nine more carries the rest of the
All but Whittaker will be back in the stable for Texas, and the Longhorns will have a strong ground game. They then can use play action to
attack the seems and the middle of the field with ball control-type pass
routes. This will end up being a game of field position.
Cal’s Elite Running Back
He is an elite running back and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with
1270 rushing yards, seventh with nine rushing touch downs, third with 232
rushing attempts second with 21 15+ yard gains from scrimmage, and tied for
fourth with seven 25 or more yards gained from scrimmage runs.
He will do well in this game, but it may take till the third
quarter for him to break some bigger gains as Texas’ defensive front is fully
capable of containing him. That is the key for the Texas defense will be to simply contain him with strong gap discipline and pursuit and not attempt to
completely minimize him in this game.
Supporting this graded play is a system that has produced a
record of 32-10 ‘under’ for 76% winners since 2000. Play ‘under’ with all teams where
the total is between 42.5 and 49 after allowing 31 points or more in two
straight games and facing an opponent after a playing a game where 60 total
points or more were scored. Of the 42 games played based on the criteria of
this system, 23 of them or 55%, went ‘under’ the total by seven or more points.
My Pick: Take