Free NCAA Football Picks - Colorado Buffaloes vs Stanford Cardinal

Colorado Buffaloes Players

Joe Catalano

Thursday, October 20, 2016 5:26 PM GMT

While scoring has been an issue for Stanford, they still managed to come away with a hard-fought victory over Notre Dame on the road. Can they pull it offs against Colorado? Here's our free pick.

According to Bookmaker Sportsbook, this game will be a tall order for the Cardinal as they're a 2.5 point betting favorite at home and the total for the game is listed at 49.5 points.

 

Keeping Pace With Colorado

Thus far this season, the Cardinal has underachieved as they possess one of the most potent weapons in college football in Christian McCaffrey and have managed to average just 19 points per game and 305.2 yards per contest. This is half of Colorado's offensive production point-wise and the Buffaloes have accrued over 200 more yards per game than Stanford. Stanford will need to play an almost perfect game to pick up a "W" here as 5-2 and 4-3 are a big difference and the implications where the Pac-12 division are concerned, are immense.

 

Will Christian McCaffrey Play?

This is the $64,000 question as the answer to this question will have a major impact on the outcome of this game. McCaffrey missed last week's game against Notre Dame as running back Bryce Love managed to fill in and gain a career high 129 yards and 1 TD in a victory over disappointing Notre Dame team, but the level of competition is much greater here and for Stanford to have a legitimate chance at winning this game, they need McCaffrey in the backfield.

McCaffrey is a player that rushed for 2019 yards last season and also set an FBS record with 3.496 all-purpose yards. I'm not a doctor, but with such an important game at stake, look for McCaffrey to play. Currently, it's a feeling out process as McCaffrey hasn't practiced, but will look to practice before Friday, which is the day that the coaching staff will make a decision if he can play. Time will tell, but if McCaffrey doesn't play, I would definitely lean towards the underdog Huskies.

This is a Colorado team that's held the opposition in check to a tune of 20 point per game and 314 overall yards per game. The Buffaloes aren't a team that's going to beat themselves as they keep turnovers to a minimum and it all starts at the quarterback position with the combination of senior, Sefo Liufau (1044 yards, 6 TD's and 0 INT's) and freshman Steven Montez (940 yards, 9 TD's, 3 INT"s).

 

Liufau To Start vs.Stanford

There has been no official word in who will start against the Cardinal, but Sefo Liufau has given us no reason to think that he wouldn't start as he returned to action last week in a 40-16 win over Arizona State. Liufau didn't throw a touchdown pass, but he managed to stay mistake-free, throwing for 265 yards at a completion rate of 74.2 %. Thus far this season, Liufau has been on the money as he's completed over 70% of his passes and will look to pick up where he left off last week.

 Phillip Lindsay

The Buffaloes also feature a very effective running game, led by Phillip Lindsay and Lindsay is coming off of a monster performance against Arizona State in which he ran for a season high 219 yards and 3 TD's. Stopping Lindsay will be a key focus for the Cardinal as he's coming into this game with a ton of confidence. Colorado is a team that can beat an opponent in so many different ways. They possess 3 different receivers with over 400 yards apiece and I look for the play calling to be well balanced to create the element of surprise.

Even if McCaffrey play's and he is a game changer; no doubt about it. The Colorado Buffaloes are simply a better team with more options and Stanford's inability to reach the endzone has me siding with the Buffaloes in this matchup.

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Free College Football Pick: Colorado Buffaloes +2.5 Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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