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2005 California Golden Bears Handicapping Review


By Tom Wilkinson


After a 2001 season in which they went 1-10 straight up and 3-8 against the odds the Golden Bears of California were written off by much of the sports handicapping community. Most sports betting bloggers speculated that it would be several years before Cal would be appealing enough to appear on anyone’s lists of football picks. Enter head coach Jeff Tedford. Tedford’s timetable was much faster than the sports betting bloggers. In his very first season, Cal went 7-5 straight up and 8-4 against the odds. Still, Cal garnered little respect in the sports handicapping community and was installed as 28-point dogs in their 2003 season opener against perennial Big 12 power Kansas State at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium. Cal played the Wildcats tough and got the cash in a 28-42 loss that got the attention of many sports bettors expecting a slaughter. Cal went on to an 8-6 season in 2003 which included an Insight Bowl win over Virginia Tech as the Bears lost just four out of fourteen games against the odds that season.

Entering the 2004 campaign Cal now had the full attention of the sports handicapping community and many sports betting bloggers insistent that the Bears would be an excellent team to have on any list of football picks for 2004. Cal was quickly becoming a semi public team, as their track record of just eight losses in twenty-six games against the odds in 2002-2003 was hard for most sports bettors to ignore.

Cal began the 2004 season with a statement making 56-14 win at Air Force as 14-point chalks. This shot their value, however, for their home opener against New Mexico State as the Bears were a whopping 36-point chalk in a 41-14 win. But in their next game at Oregon State, a 49-7 win as 6.5-point chalks, Cal began a streak of five consecutive against the odds, with just one straight up loss, (a 17-23 defeat at USC as 7.5-point dogs). Cal was now the darlings of many sports betting bloggers and was considered strong Bowl Championship Series material by the general media as they stood at 6-1 both straight up and against the odds.

By this time it seemed as if Cal was on everyone’s lists of football picks and, as a result, their sports handicapping value plummeted. The Bears finished 2004 with four losses against the odds in their final five games as the sports betting market correction began.









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