College Football Pick
College Football in state rivals Colorado and Colorado State will kick off their 2016 season against each other on September 2 at Sports Authority Field in Denver. The Game is Scheduled to kick off at 8pm est. and can be seen on ESPN. Colorado is an 8 point favorite with a current posted total of 54 at 5 dimes sportsbook.
Last years Game was a thriller that took overtime to decide. It was a Game where Colorado State won the first down battle 27-18, won the total yardage battle 500 to 345 and won the time of possession battle 37 minutes to 23. Yet when the dust cleared, it was the Colorado Buffalos on top by a score of 27-24, due in large part to a couple of big defensive plays and turnovers.
So why then, are the Colorado Buffalos favored by 8 when it took OT a year ago in this Game with the Buffs losing key statistical battles? Well, this is another perfect example of just how prominently LAST year figures into early season college football lines. If you take a glance at any of the publicly available power ratings sites, and there are many, you’ll find that most would favor the Buffs on a neutral field by around a TD, if this Game were played last January.
Our own Score Prediction model, using several different time frame parameters from last season, has the Buffs winning by 12 to 15 points. It’s the handicappers job to study what each team brings to the table THIS year to determine how valid predictions using last years data are. We need to look at returning starters, coaches, motivation etc. You can read Our Colorado Buffalos season preview here and Our Colorado State preview here for additional information on both teams.
While last years Game was tight, it’s worth noting that 4 of the last 6 in this series were decided by 14 points or more. The Buffs won 4 of the last 6 in the series with 3 of those by 14+. From a motivational standpoint, we’d have to favor the Buffs here. Coach Mike MACIntyre could very well be on the hot seat with a record of 10-27 at Colorado (2-25 in conference) and the program itself is starving for some success, posting a 14-48 record since joining the PAC-12 and not having been to a Bowl Game since 2007.
The Buffs are in better shape in terms of key players returning. They do lose their best receiver, however return 17 starters overall, among the top in the country in returning starters, while the Rams are near the bottom in that category, returning just 10.
This is a spot where we’ll let the number, the line, make Our decision for us. The line currently sits at Buffs -8. While we’re always a tad leery playing against a revenge situation, if Colorado State money comes in, as we think will happen, and it pushes this number to -7 or less, we’ll play the Buffalos. Otherwise, it’s a pass. Colorado -7 or less.