This handicapper has his attention focused on Colorado's QB Sefo Liufau before making his bet for Saturday's game, when the Pac-12 North-champion Oregon Ducks host the Buffs.
Buffs-Ducks Betting Odds
As of early this week this game had not been lined because of the injury situation with Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau. The sophomore, who's connected on 66 percent of his throws this season for over 2,800 yards and a 26/14 TD/INT ratio, took a big hit two weeks in a loss to Arizona and left the game with about 10 minutes to go. His status for this week is uncertain. With Liufau, the Buffs might be dogs of around 24-28 points; without him, they might get 40.
Buffs-Ducks: The Situation
After going 11-2 last year but missing the Pac-12 championship game Oregon went off this year with a wins OVER/UNDER of 10.5, and as the favorite to win the North Division. At 9-1 overall, 6-1 in Pac-12 play the Ducks have already clinched the North title, but need to win their last two games, against Colorado and Oregon State, to play OVER their wins total.
Oregon started this season with four straight victories, but had to come from behind against Michigan State, and needed a late score to hold off Washington State. The Ducks then got upset at home by Arizona 31-24, losing outright as 21-point favorites. But since then Oregon has won five in a row both SU and ATS, after dispatching of Utah two weeks ago 51-27, covering as 10-point road chalk.
Actually, the Ducks only led the Utes 30-27 in the fourth quarter, but scored the last three touchdowns of the game. Oregon outgained Utah 508-440 and won the turnover battle 4-1.
The Ducks also own a 42-30 victory and cover over UCLA and a 45-16 cover/victory over Stanford.
Oregon has outgained and outrushed its last four opponents.
After winning four games last year, its first under Coach MacIntyre, Colorado went off this season with a wins OVER/UNDER of four. The Buffs were hoping them might end a six-season bowl-less drought. But with just two wins so far, none in Pac-12 play, Colorado needs to win its last two games, against Oregon and Utah, just to push its wins total, and it will not go to a bowl this season.
The Buffaloes started this season 2-2, beating Massachusetts and Hawaii, but have lost their last six in a row, after falling at Arizona last time out 38-20. They are 3-3 ATS, though, during that losing streak.
The Buffs have come close a few times; they lost at Cal in overtime 59-56, covering as 14-point dogs; to Oregon State 36-31; to UCLA 40-37 in OT, covering again as two-touchdown underdogs; and they led Washington at the half, before fading to a 38-23 defeat.
Colorado only trailed the Wildcats two weeks ago 24-20 through three quarters, but once again faded down the stretch.
The Buffs might be 3-0 ATS over their last three games, if they hadn't given up a pair of defensive/special teams touchdowns against Washington three weeks ago. And they gave up another one against Arizona.
Still, Colorado has been outgained in four of its last five games, and outrushed in its last five.
In four games against common opponents this season – Cal, UCLA, Washington and Arizona – Oregon is 3-1 both SU and ATS, while Colorado is 0-4 SU but 3-1 ATS.
Both these teams had last week off.
Buffs-Ducks Recent History
Three seasons ago Oregon beat Colorado 45-2 in Boulder, covering as a 30-point road favorite; two years ago the Ducks bounced the Buffs 70-14 in Eugene, covering as 47-point favorites; and last year UO beat CU 57-16 back at Folsom Field, covering as 38-point chalk.
Those last two games played OVER on the totals, if you hadn't guessed.
Colorado actually led last year's game early 10-8, and only trailed 29-16 into the latter stages of the second quarter, but the Ducks scored the last 28 points of the game. Oregon outgained the Buffaloes 756-374, and held the Buffs to an 0-for-15 effort on third downs.
Buffs-Ducks Betting Trends
Colorado is 6-4 on the totals this season, as Buffs games have averaged 68 points.
Oregon is 6-3-1 on the totals, as Ducks games have averaged 71 points.
Buffs-Ducks Free Pick
Oregon has already clinched a spot in the Pac-12 championship game, but it's also still very much in the running for a spot in the national championship playoff. So there's little doubt as to who will win this contest. Regarding our College Football pick here, it's a matter of the final margin.
It doesn't show in the W/L columns but Colorado is a better team this year than it was last year.
Free College Football Pick: Our pick here depends on the Buffs QB situation; if Liufau can go, we like Colorado and the points at a sportsbook like 5Dimes. But if he's can't, we couldn't recommend Colorado.