There are six bowl games Saturday as college football begins its postseason and the late matchup features California playing its final game ever as a member of the Pac-12 as the Bears take on Big 12 school Texas Tech in the Independence Bowl. 2023 Independence Bowl Betting & Expert Analysis California vs. Texas Tech | MyBookie Sportsbook Bowls Odds, 2023/24 CFP College Bowl Game Lines
How to Bet Cal vs. Texas Tech NCAAF Independence Bowl Odds & TV Info
When: Saturday, 9:15 PM ET
Where: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.
Opening NCAAF Lines: Texas Tech -3 (total 58)
These teams have met once in football, coming in the 2004 Holiday Bowl. Texas Tech took home the 45-31 victory in that game, with current Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Cumbie being named the Offensive Player of the Game. It marked the fourth victory in TTU school history, at the time, over a top-five ranked team and the first away from Jones AT&T Stadium as the Aaron Rodgers-led Golden Bears entered at No. 4 in the polls after being previously snubbed for an appearance in the Rose Bowl.
Why Bet on California Golden Bears?
Cal finished 6-6 in its final season in the Pac-12 as it heads to the ACC next year with Stanford. The Bears have two of the league’s top freshmen in pass-rusher Cade Uluave and tight end Jack Endries.
Uluave was the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year who earned three Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. He has played in all 12 games including the first five starts of his career in Cal’s most recent five contests and contributed 58 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss (-42 yards), 2.5 sacks (-26 yards), two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries that he has returned for 51 yards and one of the team’s three fumble returns for a touchdown, two interceptions that he has returned for four yards and three pass breakups.
Fellow edge rusher David Reese has surged lately, recording 5.5 sacks over the final three games and earning Bednarik National Defensive Player of the Week honors after Cal’s regular-season finale at UCLA. The Bears have had a knack for big plays on defense, tying for the nation’s lead in fumbles recovered (14) and ranking tied for second in turnovers gained (25). Cal also has three defensive touchdowns to rank tied for 13th nationally.
Endries has contributed 32 receptions for 385 yards receiving with two touchdown catches, as well as one successful two-point conversion on a pass from Ben Finley.
Running back Jaydn Ott is also one of the Pac-12’s best as he was named first-team all-conference after rushing rushed 229 times for 1,260 yards with 11 touchdowns (all career highs), while adding 21 receptions for 141 yards and two touchdown catches, as well as one kick return for 100 yards and one touchdown to total career highs of 1,501 all-purpose yards and 1,401 yards from scrimmage, as well as a career-high 14 touchdowns overall. His 1,000-yard rushing season is the 19th in Cal history and first since Patrick Laird in 2017.
QB Patrick Mendoza has played in eight games including starts in each of Cal’s last seven contests. He has completed 131-of-180 passes (62.2%) for 1,447 yards with 13 touchdown passes and seven interceptions for a 134.0 rating and Has posted three games with a passer efficiency rating of 157.2 or higher.
Lachlan Wilson has registered a 45.7 yards per punt average that is currently the best single season in Cal history just ahead of the 45.6 posted by Bryan Anger in 2010, while his mark is also above Cal’s career record holder Scott Tabor (44.0). Wilson has punted 46 punts for 2,100 yards including 17 that have traveled 50 or more yards, 15 that have pinned opponents inside-the-20 with only two touchbacks, and 12 that have forced opponents into fair catches.
The Bears were last bowl-eligible in 2019 when they defeated Illinois in the Redbox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. It will mark the third time Coach Justin Wilcox has led Cal to a bowl game, and it’s the 25th bowl appearance in program history. Cal is 12-11-1 all-time in bowl games.
|NCAA Independence Bowl Betting
|Texas Tech Red Raiders
|California Golden Bears
Why Bet on Texas Tech Red Raiders?
Texas Tech will make its third all-time appearance in the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl after a 6-6 regular season under second-year head coach Joey McGuire. TTU will be searching for a third-consecutive bowl win on Saturday as the Red Raiders defeated a pair of SEC foes in Mississippi State (2021 Liberty Bowl) and Ole Miss (2022 Texas Bowl) the previous two seasons. With a win over Cal, it would mark only the second time in history and the first time since the 2002-04 seasons that Texas Tech boasted bowl wins in three-consecutive seasons. TTU is in a bowl for the 41st time in program history, which ranks tied for 20th in college football history.
The Red Raiders, who won three November games to become bowl-eligible, are led by All-Big 12 First Team running back Tahj Brooks, who ranks third nationally in rushing yards (1,443) and rushing yards per game (120.3). Brooks, who was fourth among FBS players with those 1,443 rushing yards, announced Monday on social media that he was returning to school for a fifth season.
The 5-10, 230-pound Brooks rushed for more than 100 yards in eight of the Red Raiders’ 12 games and just missed in two other games when he finished with more than 90 yards. Brooks was able to succeed despite opposing defenses loading up the line of scrimmage to stop him. Texas Tech ranks 11th in the Big 12 in passing offense. Brooks led all FBS players with 91 missed tackles forced, according to Pro Football Focus, and was third among Power 5 players with 919 yards after contact. Brooks needs 139 rushing yards in the Independence Bowl to finish third on the Texas Tech single-season rushing chart.
Linebacker Ben Roberts was named the Big 12 Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year and punter Austin McNamara was picked as the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.
The Red Raiders will be facing a member of the Pac-12 Conference for the second time this season (lost at home to Oregon) and the fourth time in a bowl game. Overall, the Red Raiders are 41-21-2 all-time against current members of the Pac-12 Conference as the only two schools Texas Tech has yet to face in its history are Stanford and UCLA.
Like most teams, TTU has been hit hard by transfers leaving especially at wideout in Myles Price and Jerand Bradley. McGuire said the starting receivers for the bowl will likely be Jordan Brown and Coy Eakin on the outside with Drae McCray and Xavier White in the slot. Tight ends Mason Tharp or Baylor Cupp could replace one of the inside receivers depending on the formation.
NCAAF Independence Bowl Expert Prediction
Texas Tech 30, Cal 27
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