California vs


at Santa Clara
Mon, Dec 30
1:00 PM Pacific
Odds: Illinois +6.5, Total: 43.5

Game Analysis

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Lean – Over (43.5) – California (-6.5)  27   Illinois  20

Cal is 6-0 when starting quarterback Chase Garbers starts and finishes a game and just 1-5 otherwise (0-2 when he started and was knocked out of the game with injury). Garbers is not great, rating at 0.2 yards per pass play better than average (6.8 yppp against teams that would allow 6.6 yppp to an average QB) but he’s better than the other quarterbacks and 1.1 yppp better than Cal’s season rating. The Bears’ #2 receiver Jordan Duncan (7.7 yards per target) will miss this game but Kekoa Crawford (11.6 yards per target) is the best receiver on the team and he is reportedly ready to return to action after missing 7 ½ games. Garbers should have pretty good success against a sub-par Illinois pass defense that’s allowed 6.9 yppp to quarterbacks that would combine to average 6.4 yppp against an average defensive team, and the Bears mediocre ground game (0.1 yprp worse than average) should produce slightly better than normal results against an Illinois defensive front that’s been 0.2 yprp worse than average. The math projects 415 total yards at 6.1 yppl for the Bears in this game.

Illinois’ starting quarterback Brandon Peters is scheduled to start after missing the season finale but Peters is no better than his backup and averaged just 5.5 yppp this season despite facing teams that would allow 6.7 yppp to an average quarterback. Peters isn’t likely to have much success even if star WR Josh Imatorbhebhe is able to play (he’s questionable and considered a game-time decision) and he’ll have no chance against a good Bears’ pass defense (6.1 yppp allowed to quarterbacks that would average 7.1 yppp against an average defense) if Imatorbhebhe is unable to play. Imatorbhebhe is Illinois’ only receiving threat, as he averaged 19.2 yards per catch and 10.6 yards per target while the rest of the wide receivers have combined for just 5.4 yards per target. For now I’ll assume that Imatorbhebhe has a 50% chance to play and that he’ll be 100% if he does play. Peters is projected to average anywhere between 3.8 yppp and 4.6 yppp, depending on if his star receiver plays (I am using 4.2 yppp for now) and the Illini’s average rush attack is scheduled to rush for 4.3 yards per rushing play against a stiff Cal run defense that is 1.0 yprp better than average. I adjusted for the absence of Cal safety Ashtyn Davis, his backup Trey Turner, and DE Tevin Paul (a non-factor). Cal would miss the speedy Davis if Imatorbhebhe is able to play.

Overall, the math favors Cal from 5.9 points to 8.9 points depending on the status of Illinois’ star receiver, with a total ranging from 46.1 points to 48.7 points. Cal’s offense appears to be underrated due to how bad they were without Garbers and I see some value in the over.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • California
  • Illinois


  • Run Plays 31.7 34.1
  • Run Yards 139.1 130.9
  • YPRP 4.9 4.4


  • Pass Comp 17.6 19.8
  • Pass Att 30.5 32.5
  • Comp % 57.8% 61.0%
  • Pass Yards 185.1 206.9
  • Sacks 3.2 2.8
  • Sack Yards 16.8 18.2
  • Sack % 9.4% 7.8%
  • Pass Plays 33.6 35.3
  • Net Pass Yards 168.3 188.7
  • YPPP 5.0 5.3


  • Total Plays 65.3 69.4
  • Total Yards 324.2 337.7
  • YPPL 5.0 4.9


  • Int 1.2 1.2
  • Int % 4.0% 3.6%
  • Fumbles 0.6 0.7
  • Turnovers 1.8 1.8
  • Points 20.1 22.1
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