2018 Cheez-It Bowl Betting - California Takes On TCU

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D.S. Williamson

December 22nd, 2018

It’s a Pac 12 versus Big 12 throwdown in this year’s 2018 Cheez-It Bowl betting duel. The California Golden Bears and TCU Horned Frogs battle each other at Chase Field in Arizona on Wednesday, Dec. 26. The game’s so competitive that the line’s gone from the Horned Frogs being a slight favorite to a pick’em.

California has displayed moments of greatness. The Golden Bears upset BYU, Washington and USC on the moneyline as the underdog. Unlike in past seasons, this year’s version of the Cal Bears relied on a strong defense that yielded around 21 points per. That’s close to amazing because the Pac 12’s produced some of the highest-scoring teams in college football.

In a contrast to Cal, Texas Christian, normally a defensive powerhouse, had to push the pace. At times, that didn’t work out. The Horned Frogs went 1-5 SU in 6 games during the middle part of their schedule where an attempt to turn in to an offensive juggernaut didn't get exactly go the way they'd hoped. TCU did step it up on the other side of the football in the final month, but it was too little too late. Will the Horned Frogs or Golden Bears win what should be a low-scoring Cheez-It Bowl?

2018 CHEEZ-IT BOWL FOOTBALL BETTING California Golden Bears vs Texas Christian Horned Frogs Wednesday, December 26th– Chase Field – 9:00pm ET Odds: TCU pk (40)

Cal Hoping To Finish Strong

One of the reasons the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl betting line is a pick 'em game is because California had a late season surge. The Bears’ late season porduction might be more impressive than what the Horned Frogs did.

Cal went 4-2 SU in their final 6. They lost to Washington State on the road and Stanford at home. But they beat Washington, USC, and Colorado. The win over the Washington Huskies showed that when California’s hitting on all cylinders, they can hang with some of the best teams in the country.

The problem the Golden Bears might face on Dec. 26 is how to deal with a team they’re unfamiliar with. Cal did beat Washington, USC, and Colorado, but the Golden Bears face those 3 squads every season. This is the first time California has ever seen TCU, which means unfamiliarity could hurt the Golden Bears.

Did the Pac 12 schedule prepare Cal to beat a good Big 12 team? We shall see.

TCU Can Salvage Disappointing Season

TCU looked great after the first couple of weeks with a 55-7 win over Southern and a 42-12 victory over SMU. However, starting with the 28-40 loss to Ohio State in Week 3, the wheels fell off the bus and this once respected program slammed right in to the guardrail.

The aforementioned five-loss run in the middle of the season could have ended the Horned Frogs chances of attracting a bowl bid. Knowing this, coach Gary Patterson really got on his team. He pushed them in the final month of the season. The Horned Frogs responded with wins over Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State.

The season started great, went south in a hurry and was then resurrected just in the nick of time. A win over Cal would salvage the 2018 campaign and give Patterson’s young crew great confidence heading into spring ball this April.

2018 Cheez-It Bowl Betting Analysis & Trends

The money’s gone to California. That actually makes a ton of sense because TCU’s had some major problems along the offensive line this season. Patterson knew going in that having to replace the entire offensive line could lead to disaster.

It almost did. The fact that Patterson got his team to play so well in the final month’s a testament to his coaching ability. Cal’s a different squad than those teams TCU beat in the final month, though. Plus, all the trends point to a Golden Bears’ cover.

California’s 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall, 4-1 in their last 5 on grass, and most importantly 5-2-1 in their last 8 versus a non-conference opponent. The Horned Frogs are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 bowl games.

Although the Golden Bears played in what could turn out to be the weakest Power 5 Conference, they’ve got the edge versus TCU. I’ll follow the money in this one and back California.

2018 Cheez-It Bowl Betting Free Pick: Cal PK