California vs. North Carolina - 9/1/18 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

California vs. North Carolina - 9/1/18 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina Tar Heels (3-9) at California Golden Bears (5-7)

College Football: Saturday, September 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm (California Memorial Stadium)

The Line: California Golden Bears -4.5 -- Over/Under: 58.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds

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The North Carolina Tar Heels will travel to Memorial Stadium (Berkeley, CA) to take on the California Golden Bears this upcoming Saturday afternoon in College Football action.

The North Carolina Tar Heels battled a bunch of injuries last season which led to a disappointing 3-9 (1-7 ACC) season. Offensively, North Carolina struggled last season as the Tar Heels averaged just 26.0 ppg on 369.6 total yards per game (144.2 rushing yds/g; 225.4 passing yds/g). It was a tight QB battle between Chazz Surratt (58.5 Comp %; 8 TD; 3 INT; 149.1 yds/g) and Nathan Elliott (51.4 Comp %; 10 TD; 5 INT; 185.2 yds/g) however, it will be Elliott under center for the Tar Heels opener. The Tar Heels will have their leading receiver back in Anthony Ratliff-Williams (52.5 yds/g; 6 TD). North Carolina’s backfield will be led by the running duo of Jordon Brown (11.5 att/g; 51.1 yds/g; 4 TD) and Michael Carter (8.9 att/g; 50.7 yds/g; 8 TD). The Tar Heels defense continued to struggle agianst the run last season and the ended the year allowing their opponents to average 31.3 ppg on 436.1 total yards per game (213.0 rushing yds/g; 223.1 passing yds/g). North Carolina does return 7 defensive starters and will be led by DL Malik Carney and LB Cole Holcomb.

The California Golden Bears struggled at the end of last season, losing 4 of their last 5 games, and finished their season with a 5-7 (2-7 Pac-12) overall record. The good news for the Golden Bears is that they are returning basically their entire offense that averaged 27.8 ppg on 384.5 total yards per game (125.6 rushing yds/g; 258.9 passing yds/g). QB Ross Bowers will be leading the way for the California offense is coming off a season in which he completed 59.0% of his passes with 18 TD & 12 INT while averaging 253.3 passing yds/g. Bowlers will have his top two receivers back in Vic Wharton III (5.6 rec/g; 72.6 yds/g; 5 TD) and Kanawai Noa (5.1 rec/g; 71.6 yds/g; 4 TD). Leading the way for the Golden Bears backfield will be their leading rusher from last season, Patrick Laird, who had 8 TD’s last season while averaging 102.5 rushing yds/g. California made a great improvement on the defensive end last season as they allowed their opponents to average 28.4 ppg on 429.9 total yards per game (164.7 rushing yds/g; 258.9 passing yds/g). The Golden Bears will have a lot of questions as their defensive line will be very inexperienced however, they do return 7 starters led by LB Jordan Kunaszyk.

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 The Tar Heels are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games. The Golden Bears are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.

North Carolina will be looking from some pay back after they dropped a 35-30 battle at home to California last season to open their season however, it’s going to be  tough battle for the Tar Heels as their offensive line doesn’t have much experience which could make the life of the North Carolina QB difficult. The Tar Heels have struggled defensive, especially agianst the rush, over the last few seasons and as I expect the Golden Bears offense getting off to a quick start as basically all their important playmakers have returned, I’m taking California to cover this home spread.

See Who The Experts Picked To Win This One

Brett’s Pick California Golden Bears -4.5

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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