Will Cal surpass the 5.5 win projection in the 2022 football season?

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Will Cal win five or fewer football games, or will he win six or more games? This is the question betting sites ask potential players.

With seven Pac-12 schools likely to start a quarterback secured through the transfer portal in the past offseason and three of the conference’s traditional powerhouses (USC, Oregon, Washington) plus Washington State having new coaches chief, it is difficult to predict what will happen. It doesn’t look like the Pac-12 has a national title contender, and the lack of a strong team makes it even harder to predict the number of wins.

***The odds of each Pac-12 team winning the conference title

We looked at the over/under lines for the expected number of regular season wins at five betting sites: Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, Draft Kings, Fan Duel and Bet online. Each of them puts Cal above/below at 5.5 wins in their 12-game regular season. We’ll provide some thoughts on Cal’s over/under later in this story, but first we’ll look at how betting sites place win totals for each Pac-12 school.

Five of the Pac-12 schools had the same over/under at all five venues, so only one number is provided for them. For the seven other schools, we provide the most/least frequent, then the sites which deviate from it in parentheses. Schools are listed in the order of their over/under rows.

USC – 9.5 wins (Caesars has 9 wins)

Utah – 9 wins (BetMGM and Fan Duel have 8.5 wins)

Oregon – 8.5 wins (Caesars has 9 wins)

UCLA – 8.5 wins (BetMGM has 8 wins)

Washington – 7.5 wins

Arizona State – 5.5 wins (Caesars has 6 wins; Draft Kings has had 6.5 wins)

Oregon State – 5.5 wins (Caesars has 6 wins; Draft Kings has 6.5 wins)

California – 5.5 wins

Washington State – 5.5 wins (Caesars has 5 wins)

Stanford – 4.5 wins

Colorado – 3.5 wins

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Arizona – 2.5 wins

Here are some of the comments regarding the likelihood of Cal going over the 5.5 win total:

John Wilner, San Jose Mercury News – Take Over

Comment: Here’s a case of the inter-division schedule dictating our assessment of total wins. The Bears miss Utah and Arizona State and instead face Arizona at home and Colorado on the road. We count both as wins. Add UC Davis and UNLV for four wins, and Cal would only need two of the remaining eight.

Our choice : MORE THAN 5.5

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David Cobb, CBS Sports – Take the Underside

Won : UC Davis, UNLV, Arizona, Colorado, Stanford

Losses: at Notre Dame, WA, Washington, Oregon, at USC, Oregon, UCLA

Analysis: Cal had plenty of experience over the past two seasons, but fell to a 6-10 record in that stretch, even after reaching the bowls in 2018 and 2019. Head coach Justin Wilcox made come NFL coaching veteran Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator starting in 2020, but that move didn’t trigger the Bears at all. In an era of offense in college football, Cal has essentially shrunk into a poor version of Iowa, and it’s hard to watch. Choose: Less than 5.5 (-115)

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Raymond Lucas Jr, 247 Sports – No Picks

It feels like forever since a quarterback not named Chase Garbers was QB1 for California. In the five years he started (2017-21), the Golden Bears enjoyed success and were able to dethrone playoff-hungry teams like Washington and Washington State. But they were never the legitimate threat they were meant to be in the Pac-12 North. Now that Jack Plummer is taking snaps, Cal will have to adjust to a new quarterback. But Cal could still find himself in a bowling match.

Jake Curtis, Cal Sports Report – Get the upper hand

Cal opens at home against UC Davis and UNLV. That’s two wins. Cal should also beat Arizona at Berkeley and Colorado on the road. It’s four. We count road games against Notre Dame and USC as losses, so the Bears need to find two more wins in games against Washington State (road), Washington (home), Oregon (home), Oregon State (road), Stanford (home) and UCLA (home). Cal could win any of those, but we’re picking home games against Washington and Stanford as the likeliest wins that will bring the Bears’ win total to six. The overall mediocrity of the Pac-12 is the main reason why Cal should have at least six regular season wins.

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Cover photo by Stan Szeto, USA TODAY Sports

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