Hyped To Be Home: Bet Utah to Cover ATS as the College Football Pick vs. Colorado

Kevin Stott

Thursday, November 26, 2015 5:03 PM GMT

Colorado Buffaloes are travelling  to Utah for this Pac-12 matchup, let's take a look at the college football odds and provide our readers with a wise free selection for Saturday's game.

Odds Overview
Colorado vs. Utah [Saturday 19:30] (PAC12, 2:30 p.m. EST/11:30 a.m. PST): Rice-Eccles Stadium (FieldTurf) in Salt Lake City is the site of the this final Regular Season game between Pac-12 South combatants Colorado (1-7 Pac-12, 4-8 Overall) and host Utah (5-3 Pac-12, 8-3 Overall) on Saturday afternoon in a game which has lost much of its luster due to the Utes being out of the picture and the injuries to at least three key players. The Point Spread here currently sees host Utah as robust 16½-point favorites (bet365) with the Total (Points) set at a seemingly low 49½ (bet365), although with the key Skill Player Injuries to both sides and the colder Fall weather coming into the West and the Beehive State (TWC Salt Lake City Forecast: Partly Cloudy, High: 38°, Winds 7 mph, 10% Precipitation). The college football odds in this game sees Utah as massive -700 Favorites with the Road Underdog Buffaloes priced at +500 (bet365). The Utah Utes Team Total Points is set at 33½ (Betfair Sportsbook, Under -137), while the Colorado Buffaloes Team Total Points is at 17½ (Betfair Sportsbook, Under -150), so it’s pretty safe to assume who wins this game on Saturday.

 

Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado (4-7-1 ATS, 23-1 ATS Road) and third-year Head Coach Mike Macintyre (14-17-2 ATS) have just one Win (at Oregon State) in Pac-12 play this season and the Buffaloes head into this tough game on the Road against Utah without starting QB Sefo Liufau (Foot) who is Out for the Season with a broken Foot. Filling in for the injured Liufau (2,401 Passing Yards) is Cade Apsay (51/74, 437 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 119.3 Rating), and with Colorado averaging just 12.3 ppg over their L3 games and the Buffaloes are 97th in average Points scored (out of 115 NCAA Division I FBS teams) per game (23.5 ppg), so scoring has definitely been a problem for this school almost all season, although Colorado hung with both Southern California schools, USC (Lost 35-31) and UCLA (Lost 27-24). And ever since these two programs (Colorado, Utah) have been in this conference together, all of the meetings have been decided by just one possession. And luckily for the Buffaloes, Utah also more than its share of Injury problems at two key Offensive spots.

 

Utah Utes
Utah (5-6 ATS, 2-4 ATS Home) and Head Coach Kyle Whittingham (68-61-3 ATS) looked like they could maybe make a run at an NCAAF Final Four spot in the new FBS Playoff System, racking up 6 straight Wins, including an impressive 62-20 clobbering of at then#13 Oregon in Eugene before the Trojans of Southern Cal provided a rude awakening to the Utes and their Future aspirations three weeks later in Los Angeles. This team has always prided itself on playing great Special Teams and with a +7 TO Margin (Tied #20) compared to Colorado’s +2 (#63), that edge as well as the site (Rice-Eccles Stadium) are worth about 10 or so points combined for Utah (31.0 ppg). The Utes solid Defense has allowed just 22.5 ppg (#39) heading in here and with the Buffaloes (L4) having only scored 37 Points in their L3 games, it may be hard for the visitors to eclipse the 17-point mark, especially without their starting QB. But with the team’s leading Receiver Covey (41 Receptions, 518 yards, 12.6 ypc, 4 TDs) and Rusher Booker (1,261 Rushing yards, 11 TDs; 27 Receptions, 318 yards, 8.6 ypc), both out for the year here, can Utah QB Travis Wilson (1,916 yards, 12 TDs, 9 INTs) make up the difference? And will he and his teammates want to? The answers are Yes and Probably. With guys like WR Kenneth Scott (35 Receptions, 417 yards, 3 TDs, 11.9 ypc), WR Harrison Handley (18 Receptions, 242 yards, 13.4 ypc, 4 TDs) and Junior RB Joe Williams (26 Rushes, 147 yards, 4.7 ypc vs. UCLA) and likely QB Wilson (113 Rushes, 434 yards, 6 TDs) running the pigskin some more himself, Utah should still be able to approach and maybe eclipse the 30-point mark if it’s heart is in it.

 

Best Betting Approaches and Series Trends
These teams are both relatively new members of the Pac-12 Conference, so they have only played four times since helping make the Pac-10 the Pac-12 back in 2011. Utah is 3-1 SU but 0-4 ATS against Colorado, winning in Boulder last year (2014), but failing to cover as a TD (7-point) favorite (Utah 37-34); winning 24-17 in 2013 here at Home in SLC but not even close to covering the 16½ it was laying; winning 42-35 in 2012 on the Road at Boulder, but again not even close ATS, giving 23½ to the Buffaloes; and, in 2011 in the first meeting between the two in the Pac-12, seeing Colorado not only cover ATS but win outright, 16-14 in SLC getting 23 points. So, cumulatively, the Point Spread has only been off an amazing 55 points (4, 9½, 16½, 25), the Buffaloes way in the 4 meetings which have seen them go a very surprising 4-0 ATS. The Totals (Over/Under) results from those 4 encounters: 2-2. Also, the Under is 6-2 ATS the L8 Buffaloes games but probably the most significant relevant Trend which can be applied to this game is that Colorado is an abysmal 18-38-1 ATS in its L57 Road game (32.1%).
So what to expect here. First of all, remember how Cold it could be (38°) and that these are College kids eating Top Ramen sometimes and not NFL players eating Clif bars. And remember that this is the last Regular Season game for both, meaning many things. Bowl eyes will certainly be upon this game. Also remember, no Booker, Convey or Liufau Fiau. If this is played in the middle of the Pac-12 schedule with all three of these guys in and in even moderate Weather, than we have a different game here. Maybe the biggest thing besides Colorado being 4-0 ATS in this short series is that the Utes already have three painful Losses (USC Arizona, UCLA) and will not want the fourth. But still, giving up so many points and being a combined 55 points off in the 4 meetings make it hard to make case for the host Utes.
And working through the above theoretical, with a loose “at least” 30 for Utah to a “maybe” 17 scoreline for the Utes, working with a number of (Utah minus) 16½ (at Bet365). This may be close (the the Point Spread), but the Utah could put up 4-5 TDs and a FG or two here and be around 33-37, and if the Defense cares, 17 Buffaloes points or less. So, still, no great advantage. And that theoretical 33-17 falls almost right on the Total (49½, bet365), so this one on Saturday afternoon is best approached at the smallest level for many reasons. But because of that powerful 18-38-1 ATS record for Colorado in its L57 Road games, backing Utah in its Home finale seems a tad wiser college football pick than backing the Buffaloes and their 4-0 ATS record in this series.

Final Score Prediction: Utah 37 Colorado 16

College Football Pick: Utah -16 at Pinnacle

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