The Line: Cal -2 at Arizona

Posted by: Avinash on Thursday, October 16th, 2008

This opened at Pick’em, but some sportsbooks┬áhave moved the line up. I wasn’t terribly surprised with the line, given all the staistical indicators seem to point toward this game going either way. Why? Just look at Sagarin.

Sagarian has these teams on equal footing this week. Although they have California ranked at #15 and Arizona at #37 overall, their Predictor Ratings are approximately identical: Cal at 86.25, Arizona at 84.09 (8th and 15th on the Sagarin Predictors). So given that the differential is 2.16 and Sagarin places a -2.87 homefield advantage point, Sagarin’s spread would have Arizona favored by barely 0.71 points, about on par with the original Vegas line.

Why the two point shift? I can only think that Vegas believes Jahvid Best will play, which would dramatically alter the offensive gameplan for the Golden Bears. Considering how Arizona has been gashed by power running, and how impressive Shane Vereen has been out of the blocks, Best would give the Bears a decent edge and makes California a more attractive option to bet on against the line. If you picked up the Bears at pick’em, there’s a decent chance at a middle with Arizona +2.5, considering how close this game will be.

Interest on betting this line: Meh. There isn’t much of a reason to cause yourself more undue stress by betting on the Golden Bears, unless you’re totally confident in the defense smashing Willie Tuitama into the ground. Bet Cal if you like, but I can see this game going either way. Flip a coin! Football betting is never usually this hard.

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