California vs. Texas Tech Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for Independence Bowl

Texas Tech's running back Tahj Brooks (28) runs for a touchdown against TCU in a Big 12 football
Texas Tech's running back Tahj Brooks (28) runs for a touchdown against TCU in a Big 12 football / Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY

Texas Tech and Cal meet in the Independence Bowl on Saturday, December 16th.

Both the Red Raiders and Golden Bears rallied late in the season to qualify for a bowl game, setting up a battle of two of the most fast-paced teams in the country that have two stellar running backs who are both set to play as of this writing in Cal's Jaydn Ott and Texas Tech's Tahj Brooks.

How will it play out in Shrveport, Louisiana?

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California vs. Texas Tech Odds, Spread and Total

Texas Tech vs. California Betting Trends

California vs. Texas Tech How to Watch

  • Date: Saturday, December 16th
  • Game Time: 9:15 PM EST
  • Venue: Independence Stadium
  • How to Watch (TV): ESPN
  • Cal Record: 6-6
  • Texas Tech Record: 6-6

Cal vs. Texas Tech Key Players to Watch


Jaydn Ott: It took Cal a bit to land on its starting quarterback in freshman Fernando Mendoza, but this is a run-focused offense anyway. The team was 45th in EPA/Rush behind the fine play of Ott, who ran for 1,305 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Texas Tech

Tahj Brooks: Similar to Cal, Texas Tech had a revolving door at quarterback due to injuries, but Brooks has been one of the best running backs in the country, the anchor of a unit that is 13th in EPA/Rush. Brooks has the third most carries in the country and is fourth in rushing yards at 1,443.

California vs. Texas Tech Prediction and Pick

One key news item to note for this one is that Cal's offensive coordinator Jake Spavital took the same job at Baylor last week, a big hit to a revamped Golden Bears offense. While the team will implement the same scheme, this will lower its effectiveness as Spavital did a fine job in his lone season with the team (he was there before taking the head coaching job at Texas State).

I do think this is a bad draw for the Cal defense, though, the team is 113th in success rate and 123rd in tackles for loss. I expect Texas Tech, who has an elite offensive line (19th in line yards) and a dependable running back can keep the chains moving at will.

The Red Raiders lost some tight games early in the year to the likes of Wyoming (on the road in overtime), and Oregon (at home in the last two minutes) and had injuries to its starting quarterback and Brehen Morton (who is starting this game). However, the team finished the season strong, outside of getting shelled by College Football Playoff-bound Texas, winning three straight to close the year.

Cal also had some tough losses, but its defense has been a leaky faucet all season, allowing six of nine PAC-12 games. To be fair, Texas Tech had lofty goals entering the season and might be realizing some of that upside down the stretch.

This should be a fun game with plenty of plays, each team is top 20 in terms of snaps per minute, but I trust Texas Tech to take care of business and win and cover in Joey McGuire's second straight bowl game.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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