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College Football Betting: Colorado State at Colorado

James Murphy
by in NCAAF on
  • The University of Colorado is the biggest story of the college football season and has captured the imagination–and dollars–of the betting public.
  • The rivalry game between Colorado State and Colorado is known as the ‘Rocky Mountain Showdown’ and dates back to 1893.
  • The game was last played in 2019 with Colorado winning 52-31.

Late last week, we discussed how the University of Colorado has become the biggest story of the college football season and in the process has become one of the biggest ‘public’ teams on the betting board. That shows no signs of abating as the Buffaloes win and cover once again this past weekend. Reports from sportsbooks all over the US and offshore have all reported the same phenomenon with Colorado taking over as the king of college football betting action. Tipico Sportsbook informed me as of Saturday morning they had five times more money on the Colorado/Nebraska game than on the Alabama/Texas Game. BetMGM said simply that Colorado was the most heavily bet college football side of the weekend.

The influx of public money should continue on Saturday as Colorado hosts their in-state rivals, the Colorado State Rams. This rivalry was long ago dubbed the ‘Rocky Mountain Showdown’ and dates back to 1893 when Colorado State was known as ‘Colorado Agricultural College’. It has been renewed 91 times and was last played in 2019, with Colorado winning 52-31. Not surprisingly, Colorado has dominated SU play with a record of 67-22-2. More recently, the Buffs have won five straight against the Rams going 4-0-1 against the spread.

Colorado State was at one point a very capable football program. Back in high school when I first started paying attention to college football betting they were a constant thorn in the side of WAC powerhouse BYU. Between 1994 and 2017 they went to 15 bowl games. They’ve since fallen on hard times with a combined record of 11-30 SU since 2019. Prior to last season, Jay Norvell was brought in as head coach and charged with rebuilding the program from the ground up. That included the player roster–only two teams started more freshman in 2022 than Colorado State. The Rams finished 3-9 SU but were reasonably competitive and scratched out a 6-5 record against the spread.

While the Buffaloes have become the ‘toast of the town’ this season, the same can’t be said for Colorado State. They’ve played once and looked pretty bad in a 50-24 home loss to Washington State. Yet, these divergent results set things up nicely for a play on the underdog here. All of a sudden this has become the biggest game of the season for Colorado State and enter this game off of a bye week. This will likely be another long season in Fort Collins and a strong showing here could end up being the highlight of 2023. After this game, Colorado State travels to Middle Tennessee to face a Blue Raiders team that won’t provide much intrinsic motivation followed by a home game against FCS Utah Tech.

This is about as flat of a flat spot as is possible for Colorado. Next week, the Buffaloes head to Eugene for their toughest test so far against the 13th ranked Oregon Ducks followed by another tough game at home against 5th ranked USC. The rivalry game might have some greater importance to a longer tenured coach, but for ‘Coach Prime’ and his roster full of transfers this becomes little more than an ‘easy’ win against a program in the doldrums. It’s doubtful that Colorado State can pull off the outright upset–they’re 0-25 SU all time against ranked opponents–but at this price all we need them to do is to not be embarrassed.

Ultimately, this is more of a play against the public than on Colorado State or against Colorado. Even if the Buffaloes are ‘legit’ covering such a big number is asking a lot–especially in a downright brutal scheduling spot. If the ‘squares’ are going to continue to pound Colorado all season, you can be sure that bookmakers are going to make them pay a premium to do so. Colorado hasn’t been a favorite of more than -13 points since 2018 and are 7-14 ATS as -21.5 or higher chalk since 1993. This number could go higher–most books are currently at Colorado -22.5 but there are several books with a ‘public’ clientele showing -23. DraftKings is showing -23.5. The Buffaloes will likely be 3-0 SU heading into their tough back to back schedule segment against Oregon State and USC but there’s a good chance they’ll just be 2-1 ATS.


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