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Independence Bowl Betting Preview: Cal Golden Bears vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

December 16, 2023


The 2023 Independence Bowl will take place on Saturday night when the Cal Bears face the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Shreveport, Louisiana at Independence Stadium with kick-off scheduled for 9:15 PM ET and will air on ESPN.

The Cal Bears finished in 7th place in the Pac-12 with a record of 6-6, however, they finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak and outscored their opponents by an average of 13.67 points per game during their winning streak which included a 33-7 win on the road against the UCLA Bruins in their season finale. 

The Bears featured one of the worst scoring defenses in college football this season as they allowed an average of 32.67 points per game, however, they had an above-average scoring offense that featured one of the best-rushing offenses as they enter this game averaging 31.58 points per game while rushing for an average of 181.17 yards per game. Jaydn Ott played a pivotal role in the rushing offense for Cal as he rushed for 1,260 yards and 11 touchdowns on 229 attempts. The Cal Bears will look to extend their winning streak to four games when they play the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Independence Bowl.

Texas Tech finished in 7th place in the Big 12 with a record of 6-6 and were blown out in their season finale against the Texas Longhorns on the road by a score of 7-57 which also ended their three-game winning streak. The Red Raiders had a below-average scoring offense as they averaged 26.83 points per game which was below the national average of 27.93 points per game and were a below-average scoring defense as they allowed an average of 27 points per game which was more than the national average of 25.76 points per game. 

However, they featured an above-average rushing offense that averaged 165.83 rushing yards per game with Tahj Brooks being the main reason for the success Texas Tech had at running the ball as he led the team in rushing with 1,447 yards and nine touchdowns. The Texas Tech Red Raiders will look to bounce back following the blowout loss against the Texas Longhorns when they face the Cal Bears in the Independence Bowl on Saturday night.

BookMaker has the Texas Tech Red Raiders listed as 3-point favorites against the Cal Bears in the Independence Bowl on Saturday night. These teams have only played one other time before this meeting which occurred in the 2004 season and resulted in a 45-31 win on the road for the Texas Tech Red Raiders and a 10.5-point cover as an underdog by winning the game outright. The Cal Bears are 6-6 ATS overall and 3-4 ATS as an underdog this season while the Texas Tech Red Raiders are 5-7 ATS overall and 4-5 ATS as a favorite on the year.

Both teams enter this game with identical records of 6-6, however, Cal enters this game on a three-game winning streak while Texas Tech is coming off a blowout loss against the Texas Longhorns. The Bears have been the better team at covering the spread this season as they are 6-6 ATS overall while the Red Raiders are 5-7 ATS overall. I look for those trends to continue which is why I am taking the points with the Cal Bears when they face the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Independence Bowl.

Spooky Express Pick: Cal Bears +3