College Football Picks: Back Oregon To Rebound Against Colorado

Mark Lathrop

Friday, October 2, 2015 6:01 PM GMT

Oregon has covered 30+ point spreads against Colorado the last four years. Our handicapper looks at what has changed as we go into this week's matchup between Oregona and Colorado.

A reeling 2-2 Oregon Duck team travels a mile high this week to take on the surprising 3-1 Colorado Buffaloes in Colorado’s conference opener. After an opening loss to Hawaii, Colorado has been sharpening its knife against non-conference foes, culminating in a dominating 48-0 win against Nicholls State last weekend.

You could say that Oregon has been taking the opposite approach, as they hit a new low in a 62-20 loss against Utah at home last week. That loss took the Ducks out of the AP rankings for the first time since 2009. Eastern Washington transfer, Vernon Adams, was supposed to come in and seamlessly take over the torch from Marcus Mariota, but that has yet to come to pass. Dealing with a broken index finger last week against Utah, Adams was pulled in the 2nd quarter for redshirt junior, Jeff Lockie. Now we don’t have a starter named against Colorado yet, but if I was a betting man I would say that Lockie gets the start. Vernon Adams not only has a broken finger, he has sickle cell anemia, which could affect him at the altitude in Colorado. If Oregon’s coaching staff starts Adams, I would be warier of the Ducks than I already am.

Jeff Lockie came into the Utah game and didn’t exactly light up the stat sheet either, posting a 50% completion percentage, 139 yds, 2 interceptions, while getting sacked 4 times. He was much better in his prior start against Georgia State, posting a 157.3 QBR, but come on that’s Georgia State not a Pac-12 foe.

Colorado has its own questions at quarterback in this game, as Sefo Liufau was noticeably off against Nicholls State as he dealt with a banged up shoulder that kept him out of practice all week. There will be some room for error against Oregon though, as their secondary is one of the worst in the nation and allows 301 yards passing per game. With how Sefo goes, so do the Buffaloes. In the only loss of the year for Colorado against Hawaii, Sefo had a subpar game and was running for his life (18 attempts for 81 yards), taking 4 sacks in the process. Colorado hasn’t given up a sack since in the three wins after the Hawaii game.

What’s telling in this game is the line movement against Oregon right now. After the line opened at 10.5 college football odds in favor of Oregon, it was quickly bet down to 7 points before settling in at 7.5. Let’s keep in mind that the Ducks haven’t been favored by less than 30.5 points when playing Colorado in the last four years. And they covered those huge spreads in all of those games as well. To be only favored by 7.5 is a huge slap in the face to this program.

The O/U total has also seen significant movement, opening at 71.5 and dropping to 68.5 at multiple sportsbooks. The total dropping in the face of Colorado facing the 117th ranked defense is counterintuitive.

Even though we have compelling reasons not to pick Oregon in this game, there is still an extreme talent discrepancy between these two programs. The last three meetings were won by the Ducks 70-14, 57-16, and 44-10. This line looks like a trap, and I’m pretty comfortable that Oregon will win by two scores here. Shop around and buy the half point at 5Dimes to take the Ducks -7 (-120) as one of your college football picks this weekend.

College Football Pick: Oregon -7 at 5Dimes

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