How To Bet When Rivals Colorado & Colorado State Clash in Week 1

Colorado State Rams

Rainman M.

Friday, September 1, 2017 2:06 PM GMT

Friday, Sep. 1, 2017 2:06 PM GMT

Colorado opened as 8 point favorites against Colorado State. But, that number has since come down. This rivalry game should come down to the wire.

 

Colorado Buffaloes vs Colorado State Rams

Colorado's 2016 was magical: the Buffaloes went from being last in the Pac 12 South in 2015 to first place in 2016. But a lot of the players who were responsible for that turnaround have since departed. The list of departures is most glaring on the defensive side of the football. Even though the Buffaloes have so much to figure out, it was the Colorado State Rams who already got to get their feet wet in the 2017 season.

A major question mark for the Rams was in quarterback Nick Stevens. Stevens was atrocious in last season's season opener against Colorado: he was 6/20 for 31 yards and 2 interceptions. After that game, he lost his starting job. But on October 15th, he got another chance, and he utilized it. He achieved a passer rating of over 120 in every game for the rest of the season. In the Rams' 2017 season opener against Oregon State, the question was whether we would see the Stevens from last season's season opener or the Stevens from the latter part of the 2016 season. We saw the better Stevens. He owned Oregon State's pass defense for 334 yards and 3 touchdowns. Granted, Oregon State's pass defense is subpar in quality. 

After Colorado suffered so many departures, the Buffaloes' defense seems to be inadequate as well. Top cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is gone. He led the secondary with 4 sacks, 12 passes broken up and other statistics as well. Top safety Tedric Thompson, who easily led the team with 7 interceptions, is gone as well. Proven ability on the field, a multitude of talents related to physical ability, instinct and football IQ. Those are the assets that the Buffaloes' leaders in the secondary had brought to the field and now they are gone, with question marks taking their place.

Colorado State's offense, not just Stevens, is picking up where it left off at the end of last season. They already showed showed great chemistry against Colorado where Colorado's new-look team will have to find a way to harmonize. Besides Stevens the Rams have a prolific threat in Senior Michael Gallup, who concluded last season with 4 consecutive 100+ yard games and caught 11 passes for 134 yards against Oregon State. He is not the biggest wide receiver, but he is improving his route running as he becomes more comfortable in the Rams' offense. He has speed and elusiveness and is capable of achieving big plays and many yards after the catch. Against the Buffaloes' new-look secondary, Gallup will be able to get open a lot and make some big plays.

Colorado loses quarterback legend Sefo Liufau but replaces him with a quarterback with considerable potential, a live arm, and a lot of support from teammates. Steve Montez was up and down when he did play last season for the tough but fragile Liufau. When he knew in advance of the coming game that he was going to be the starter and could adequately prepare to start, he did well. Against Oregon, Oregon State and USC, Montez produced solid numbers. Colorado State's passing defense is subpar and could easily have suffered more against Oregon State's attack had the Beavers not committed so many turnovers. Montez will be prepared for the Rams and can only be helped by a returning offensive line that is experienced and will hopefully remain healthy this season. Montez also has a very deep and talented wide receiving corps at his disposal. They have big play threats at their disposal, like the speedy Devin Ross. They have reliable possession receivers such as Shay Fields, who is also a capable big play threat. Montez will have reliable big-play options deep as well as in the shorter passing game and a solid workhorse in the backfield in Philip Lindsay.

 The Verdict

This game could easily turn into a very entertaining, pass-happy affair. Stevens surely has not forgotten his rough experience in last season's opener and will be extra motivated to maintain his solid form. Colorado's new-look secondary will struggle to stop him, while the Buffaloes are also missing their two best pass rushers from last year. The Buffaloes still possess a solid offense. Montez will be prepared to utilize his targets and will be assisted by a workhorse in the backfield and an experienced offensive line that is healthy so far. The line has dropped in this game somewhat, but any spread above 3 should be solid. If the line drops below 3, the Rams' team total 'over' and the game total 'over' 66 will both be great bets as well.

The Verdict: Colorado State +5Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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