College GameDay Week 3 Odds: Colorado State at Colorado Preview, Picks, Predictions, Betting Tips

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Written By Brett Gibbons on September 15, 2023Last Updated on September 16, 2023
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The ESPN College GameDay crew heads to Boulder this week for the Rocky Mountain Showdown. The Colorado State Rams (0-1) visit the No. 18 Colorado Buffaloes (2-0) on Saturday, Sept. 16, with kickoff coming at 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. Deion Sanders and the Buffs are home favorites while the Rams are heavy underdogs on the moneyline. Across odds at the college football betting sites, the best over/under mark sits at points.

It also marks the first head-to-head TV showdown between ESPN’s College GameDay and FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff, each going live from Colorado’s campus for their morning pregame shows.

College GameDay Odds: Colorado Vs. Colorado State

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Colorado Vs. Colorado State Quick Look

Colorado StateStatColorado
3.70 (17th)PPD4.67 (3rd)
0.33 (8th)PPD/A0.00 (1st)
5.5 (58th)YPP6.0 (35th)
6.2 (102nd)YPP/A6.1 (9th)
0-0Away/Home Record1-0
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Colorado Buffaloes Preview

The secret’s out – Colorado has a potent offense and is a dangerous team if taken lightly. Shedeur Sanders saw his Heisman Trophy odds skyrocket thanks to 903 passing yards through two games. Two-way star Travis Hunter proves to be another intriguing Heisman contender with his sheer volume of play. However, it’s USF transfers Jimmy Horn and Xavier Weaver who led the receiving room in Week 2, with Weaver racking up 170 yards receiving.

But through two games, the issues are apparent. Colorado struggles along the offensive line and the defense is going to be something they’ll have to overcome weekly. Once again, the offensive line failed to get much of a push against Nebraska (1.7 line yards/carry). Ten of their 24 rushes on the afternoon were stopped at two or fewer yards (15-of-30 in Week 1). But Sean Lewis’ offensive system utilizes space and gets the ball to the perimeter, leading to a +5% net success rate (60th) and +0.14 EPA per play (58th).

Defensively, Colorado also struggles to control the line of scrimmage. TCU and Nebraska both recognized this, rushing the ball 78 times against them in two games (12th-most nationally). While speed off the edge for players like Taijh Alston generate some pressure, the Buffs defense recorded a sack on just 3% of snaps so far this season, 90th-most nationally.

Colorado State Rams Preview

Preseason excitement existed for Colorado State, with the Rams being a popular dark horse pick in the Mountain West. But in Week 1, Washington State dropped 50 on CSU and quarterback Clay Millen was benched. Instead, Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi gets the start Saturday after having led Colorado State to 21 fourth quarter points. While Nicolosi shifted the Rams offense out of neutral, he also tossed three turnover-worthy throws on 20 attempts.

It seemed that the Rams picked right up where they left off – a bottom-10 team offensively. This week, that kind of underperformance will cost them again. Outside of a long 75-yard touchdown pass to Justus Ross-Simmons, all-conference receiver Tory Horton was the only reliable piece on CSU’s offense. With the prospect of Hunter shadowing Horton this week, Ross-Simmons and the rest of the receiving corps will have to seriously over-produce.

Before the fourth quarter, Colorado State’s defense held Wazzu’s offense to 21 points. But when the offense couldn’t keep pace, the floodgates opened. When the dust settled, CSU allowed 450 passing yards and defended just two passes.

Week 3: Colorado Vs. Colorado State Preview

At , there isn’t a lot of value betting Colorado with the points. The market took Colorado at its -19.5 opening and quickly moved it through -21 before it stagnated. At least in terms of closing line value, the train on Colorado left the station.

Colorado fields far too much speed and too many dangerous pass catchers for this to be a good matchup with Colorado State. At FanDuel Sportsbook, all three top receivers for Colorado have receiving props over 75 yards – Horn (84.5), Waver (80.5), and Hunter (76.5). Sanders’ receiving prop stands at 323.5 yards, which may be an intriguing bet if it weren’t for the blowout factor. Should a bettor lean Colorado State +22.5, then they may also want to come back over the total and betting over Sanders’ props.

Although the Buffs have one of the weaker defensive fronts in the Power Five, Colorado State isn’t the team to take advantage of it on the ground. Their offensive line was the primary concern coming into the season – Phil Steele ranked it worst in the Mountain West – and that’s come to fruition. Ultimately, the spread comes down to whether or not Colorado takes their foot off the gas and allows a Colorado State backdoor cover.

A situational nightmare?

While it’s highly unlikely Colorado overlooks an in-state opponent from up I-29, this spot against Colorado State could be better for the Buffs. First, Colorado State comes in with a rest advantage, sitting out on a bye last week. Colorado, of course, duked it out with Nebraska on national TV. The Buffs also begin an arduous stretch of conference opponents, with a road tilt at Oregon on deck and USC in the hole.

Colorado Vs. Colorado State Odds: Best Bets

It’s clear that Colorado’s lightning-paced offense is going to be an issue for Colorado State’s defense. It was immediately clear that the Rams lacked a defensive back capable of slowing down Washington State’s Lincoln Victor; now, they’re faced with a trio of dangerous pass catchers. When Jay Norvell’s crew got down early to Wazzu, they immediately abandoned the run game, throwing the ball on nearly 70% of their snaps offensively.

Against a much better team in TCU, Colorado showed what they do in a track meet. I have heavy doubts about Colorado State keeping up on the scoreboard.

However, the pace of play is sticky. Colorado State ran a play every 19.2 seconds against Washington State, the fourth-fastest pace in the country. Outside of a sloppy first half against Nebraska, the Buffs run a similar pace. With favorable weather conditions, at least one truly awful defense, and pace of play, my favorite play on the board is taking Over 59 points in this game.

Whether you’ll be watching College GameDay or Big Noon Kickoff for the pregame show, the game itself should produce another captivating chapter in the transformation of Colorado’s program by Deion Sanders, his players, and his staff.

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