The California Golden Bears and Arizona State Sun Devils used to be noted for wild, high-scoring affairs. Now, both are near the top of the Pac-12 standings because of their prowess on defense. The upstart clubs meet on Friday night in Berkeley in an important showdown in the conference title race. The nationally-televised showcase kicks off at 10:30 p.m. ET from Memorial Stadium. The Golden Bears (4-0) have followed up a surprising bowl season with an even more attention-grabbing start to this year, which includes an upset of Pac-12 favorite Washington as a two-touchdown underdog. They beat Ole Miss last week to remain undefeated, but will face a stiff test from the Sun Devils (3-1), who also are off to a strong start in their second year under Herm Edwards. The Bears are four-point favorites, down from an open of 4.5, and the over-under is 42 in latest Arizona State vs. Cal odds. Before finalizing your California vs. Arizona State picks, listen to what SportsLine handicapper Zack Cimini has to say.
Cimini is a highly respected Las Vegas handicapper who’s never afraid to buck conventional wisdom. He uses a new-age approach to excel in multiple sports and has been one of the SportsLine’s most successful experts on an annual basis.
Cimini is in the midst of another strong season and enters this week on a 6-2 run on college football against the spread picks. What’s more, the West Coast-based analyst has been particularly strong with his reads on Pac-12 programs. Over the past two seasons, he has posted a strong 7-3 record on spread picks involving California. Anyone who has followed him is up big.
Now, Cimini has zeroed in on Arizona State vs. Cal from every angle and released another confident against the spread pick. That one is only available at SportsLine.
Cimini knows that in a conference better known for lofty defensive numbers, coach Justin Wilcox has kept the Golden Bears competitive because of a major impact on the defensive side. The former Oregon defensive back earned a reputation as one of the top coordinators in the country by leading Wisconsin’s unit to top-10 rankings in most statistical categories. Wilcox was expected to have a massive rebuilding project following the firing of Sonny Dykes, who had just one winning season in four years.
Instead, Wilcox’s Bears went 5-7 in 2017 with an upset of No.8-ranked Washington State to their credit and reached a bowl game after a seven-win campaign last season. This year’s team has yet to allow more than 20 points in a game, and two players are in the top five in the Pac-12 in tackles. Evan Weaver leads the conference with 15.8 stops per game, while Kuony Deng is tied for fourth with nine tackles per contest.
Still, the Golden Bears are far from assured of covering the Cal vs. Arizona State spread on Friday.
The Sun Devils were projected for a rebuilding season following the departures of veteran quarterback Manny Wilkins and receiver N’Keal Harry, both of whom are making a living in the NFL.
Instead, they have compensated on the other side of the ball with an air-tight defense that is allowing just 13.7 points per game (No. 17 nationally). Two weeks ago, they upset Michigan State for the second consecutive season. The 10-7 road victory came as a 14.5-point underdog.
We can tell you Cimini is leaning under, but he’s unearthed a critical X-factor that has him going big on one side of the spread. He’s only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins Cal vs. Arizona State? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Arizona State vs. California spread you should jump on Friday, all from the seasoned expert who has hit 70 percent of his spread picks on the Golden Bears, and find out.