After once being ranked fourth in the country, two straight losses have Utah eliminated from Pac-12 title and College Football Playoff contention, so take the points with Colorado.
The home team could be demoralized here given what could have been, so the big road underdogs could have value Saturday afternoon when those Colorado Buffaloes (4-8, 4-7-1 ATS) pay a visit to the Utah Utes (8-3, 5-6 ATS) at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT at 2:30 ET in a game available on Pac-12 Network.
The point spread at Bet365 has Colorado as a large underdog for this contest with the current line at +16½ with odds of -110.
From Fourth in the Country to Out of Playoffs
Utah was once ranked fourth in the country, and even two short weeks ago the Utes were 8-1 and fighting for both a Pac-12 Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff. However, in those two weeks they have lost superstar running back Devontae Booker for the rest of the regular season as he just had surgery on his leg for a torn meniscus and, more importantly, they have dropped back-to-back games to Arizona and UCLA to fall out of contention.
Colorado began this season 3-1 in non-conference play, but unfortunately the Buffaloes have been the losing college football picks in seven of their eight Pac-12 games, with their only conference win coming vs. one of the very worst offenses in the entire country this year in Oregon State. The good news is that Colorado has played each of the two teams that beat Utah the last two weeks tough, losing by just seven points to Arizona and four points to UCLA.
Running Down without Booker
The injured Booker finished this season with 1512 rushing yards on 5.2 yards per carry with 10 touchdowns on the ground, and the Utes became easier for UCLA to defend without him in a 17-9 Utah loss here at home last week. On the surface, Utah finished that contest with a commendable 197 rushing yards, but they needed 49 carries to do so (4.0 YPC).
And quarterback Travis Wilson once again showed that he is nothing more than a game manager as he struggled without adequate support from the running game, completing just 50 percent of his passes (13-for-26) for only 110 yards, averaging a disastrous 4.2 yards per pass attempt that was just a smidgeon more than the Utes’ rushing average for the game!
Thus, Utah failed to score a single touchdown in the contest and this now figures to be a demoralized team that should have a tough time getting up for this season finale vs. a supposedly inferior team with virtually nothing left to play for.
Close Losses vs. Good Teams
Colorado may be 1-7 inside the conference, but it has also tended to play better vs. better competition as beside the two aforementioned narrow losses to Arizona and UCLA, the Buffaloes also played USC tough in a narrow 27-24 loss two weeks ago. And remember that they very nearly upset these Utes back home in Boulder last season before falling by just a 38-34 score as seven-point underdogs.
If Colorado has as much of a letdown as we expect after being officially eliminated from the Pac-12 title chase last week, then the Colorado offense that ranks a semi-respectable 62nd in the country with 404.3 yards per game certainly seems equipped enough to move the ball on the Utes. On the flip side, Utah is only 79th in total offense with just 381.6 yards per game, so any lack of intensity from the normally good Utes’ defense can make this a single-digit game.
Buffs Covered as Underdogs Last Four Meetings
Finally, Colorado is a perfect 4-0 ATS in the last four head-to-head meetings despite being the underdog all four times, including one outright upset as a 22½-point underdog. Also, Utah is 1-5 ATS in its last six games vs. teams with losing records and 1-4 ATS in its last five games following a straight up loss.
With Utah probably a dejected team entering this contest, look for Colorado to keep those trends intact by staying inside this large point spread on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Colorado +16½ (-110)