Bowl season is finally here! To kick off the festivities on this Saturday, the Independence Bowl will kick off under the lights for all college football fans to see as the California Golden Bears take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. It is time to take a look at our College Football odds series where our Cal-Texas Tech prediction and pick will be revealed.

At one point, the California Golden Bears were looking at a season that was all but lost until they reeled off three consecutive wins to end the year and reach bowl eligibility at 6-6. In their final official game as members of the Pac-12 Conference before they head east to join the ACC Conference, can the Bears take care of business and earn their first winning season since the 2019 campaign?

Also entering this postseason matchup with a 6-6 record, it was the Red Raiders that also caught fire near the end of the year with wins in three of their last four games. Although Texas Tech got the rails beat out of them in a 57-7 loss to Texas, the Red Raiders can still end the season on a positive note with an impressive showing in the Independence Bowl.

Here are the college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

Independence Bowl Odds: Cal-Texas Tech Odds

Cal: +3.5 (-115)

Texas Tech: -3.5 (-105)

Over: 55.5 (-110)

Under: 55.5 (-110)

How to Watch Cal vs. Texas Tech

Time: 9:15 ET/6:15 PT


Stream: fuboTV (Click for free trial)

Why Cal Will Cover The Spread

Without a doubt, the Golden Bears had to gain eligibility the hard way with their backs up against the wall at 3-6, but credit head coach Justin Wilcox and the rest of his staff for instilling belief in the team that a bowl game was more than possible.

At first glance, the Cal Bears come into this one expected to start freshman quarterback Fernando Mendoza who happened to be the main man under center for the last seven games of the season. Over that span, Mendoza put forth a 13:7 touchdown-to-interception rate and also averaged 207.3 passing yards per game. All in all, Mendoza has looked promising in only half of the season at the quarterback position and as long as he doesn't make back-breaking mistakes, then Cal will be set up in a good position to cover.

At the end of the day, don't be surprised if this Bears offense revolves around the running game, especially in terms of giving the rock to all-purpose back Jayden Ott who is capable of blowing the top off of opposing defenses. In general, Ott had quite the productive season as he barreled his way to an average of 105 rushing yards per game and also found paydirt eleven times on the ground. Unfortunately, this Cal defense has more holes in it than a beehive. Considering that top linebacker Kaleb Alarms-Orr and corner Jeremiah Earby are not expected to suit up for play, it may be up to the Cal offense to score at will if they want to see themselves be crowned Independence Bowl champions.

Why Texas Tech Will Cover The Spread

On the other side of things, Texas Tech also has been affected by players choosing to opt out for this game as notable names such as QB Tyler Shough, WR Myles Price, WR Jerand Bradley, and even OT Monroe Mills will be unavailable for play. With a slew of fresh faces expected to be playing on both sides of the ball come Saturday night, the Red Raiders are keeping their fingers crossed that some unlikely heroes can change the outcome of this game for the better.

Since the quarterback position in football is arguably the most important, receiving splendid play under center may end up being the difference in this matchup. After it was Shough that illustrated his splendid dual-threat capabilities throughout the opening month of the college football season, a devastating injury sidelined the starting quarterback the rest of the way out. Starting with a late September loss at the hands of West Virginia, it ended up being backup QB Behren Morton who took over the reigns under center and has certainly had his moments ever since. All together, Morton has compiled nearly 1,500 passing yards to go along with 12 touchdowns through the air. Although the true sophomore signal caller doesn't quite have as much experience as Shough, he has filled in nicely and is a major reason why Texas Tech was able to salvage their season with a bowl appearance.

Clearly, whoever has better quarterback play in this one will rise to victory, but there is no debate that the Red Raiders have to exploit the Golden Bears up front at the line of scrimmage. In a game where the running games will also be utilized heavily, it will be extremely vital for the Red Raiders to win the battle up front in order to establish some hard-earned runs and to protect Mr. Morton on a consistent basis.

Final Cal-Texas Tech Prediction & Pick

Simply put, this bowl game clash has the makings to go down to the wire and could truly go either way. However, Texas Tech's big boys up front on both sides of the ball will set the tone early and often on their way to a winning season.

Final Cal-Texas Tech Prediction & Pick: Texas Tech -3.5 (-105)