The NCAAB Cal at Oregon State pick is one of the more closely contested matchups on the season opening slate with OSU listed as just a -2 favorite at home on Wednesday. The two teams did just learn they would be playing each other a day ago, after Cal’s game with Colorado State was cancelled because of COVID tests from the Rams.
These two Pac-12 foes will be meeting up in what counts as a non-conference tilt due to the late scheduling. The teams split last season with both winning on their home court, and visiting teams are just 2-8-1 ATS the last 11 in this head to head series. That’s one of many reasons why Oregon State is looking like a solid play in this matchup.
Cal Will Have Best Player on the Court
The Beavers seem to have more depth heading into the NCAAB Cal at Oregon State pick, but the Golden Bears get an edge in top tier talent. Specifically, Matt Bradley is a preseason All-Pac 12 pick after averaging 17.5 ppg last year for the 14-18 California squad. The guard enters his Junior season, and Mark Fox plans to make Bradley more of a facilitator this season.
Of course Bradley passing more means somebody stepping up for a Cal team that ranked last in scoring in the Pac-12 last season with just 63.2 ppg. The Bears lose Sr. point guard Paris Austin, and sophomore Joel Brown takes over as the only true PG on the Cal roster.
Two grad transfers that averaged over a dozen ppg last season are expected to be the catalysts for an improved Cal offense. Makele Foreman put up 15.6 ppg for Stony Point last season and Ryan Betley averaged 12.8 as a member of Penn. Monty Bowser is also a 4-star top 50 recruit which can only help with the Bears’ depth.
Oregon State Poised for Big Things?
Cal was the lowest scoring team in the Pac-12 last season, but Oregon State actually thrived on that end of the court putting up 71.2 ppg, which was 4th most in the conference. The Beavers need to find a way to replace almost half of that with the graduations of Tres Tinkle (18.5) and Kylor Kelly (11.1).
Tinkle’s loss could be bigger from more than a statistical standpoint as he was the de facto floor leader as the son of head coach Wayne Tinkle, who led the Beavers to an 18-13 record a season ago. If any team that can endure through that, it’s Oregon State who is still very veteran laded led by seniors Ethan Thompson (14.8 ppg), Zach Reichle (7.9), and Alfred Hollins (5.2).
Thompson entered the 2020 NBA Draft pool before withdrawing, and is an All-Pac 12 2nd team preseason selection. Oregon State also added three JuCo transfers, and that experience could be especially valuable in early season games after shortened preseason camps.
Free NCAAB Cal at Oregon State Pick
The teams split last season, but Oregon State won by 18 at home while only falling 69-67 in Berkeley. Tinkle has won all six of his season openers at Oregon State, showing he knows how to get his team prepared even if it’s never been against a conference opponent before. Bradley is a force for Cal, but OSU has the intangibles.
Oregon State 68 – California 60
Free Pick: Oregon State -2