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Pac 12 action here as the Colorado Buffaloes travel to the northwest to take on the Washington Huskies. Both teams absolutely need the game after losses, and the game will have massive implications for the Pac 12 standings. The last time these two teams met, Washington beat them down 37-10.
Colorado Finally Stumbles
The Buffs were one of the biggest surprises in college football in 2018 when they jumped out to a 5-0 start and launched themselves into the top 25 polls. Many called them phony at the time because they hadn’t beaten anyone difficult, and they didn’t exactly prove the doubters wrong last week in an 11 point loss to USC.
Colorado did play an extremely easy early-season schedule, but now I think they’re actually being underrated. They have an experienced quarterback in Steven Montez, and have the talent to compete with any team in the country.
The main matchup to watch will be whether or not senior running back Travon McMillan can get anything going on the ground against a tough Huskies defensive front. Revenge will be on CU’s mind after the 27-point beatdown they endured at home last season. Revenge can often be a huge motivator, especially in college, and it’s an angle worth factoring into the handicap here.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 29, 2018
The Buffs’ leading receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. is a little banged up, and there’s a chance he might not play this week. If he is unable to go, it would be a massive downgrade to the entire Buffs offense, especially since the receiving corp is already a little banged up. If he’s out, expect to see Montez take on an even larger role as a ball carrier, where you can see below that he is quite effective.
Can Washington Rebound?
Washington is coming off a tough three point loss to Oregon that all-but insured the Pac 12 will be shutout of the College Football Playoff again. It moved them to 5-2 after they already lost to Auburn during the non-conference slate. It’s a quick turnaround for the game, and they’ll have to make sure they don’t show up with a hangover from the Oregon loss.
Washington’s main concern for this game is their health. They could potentially be without a slew of key contributors on both sides of the ball, and their injury updates will definitely bear monitoring. Washington has one of the most experienced signal callers in the league, but Jake Browning hasn’t really lived up to expectations.
Browning was supposed to be a Heisman contender, but has been decidedly average so far. His yardage numbers have been good, but he was a mediocre 10:6 touchdown to interception ratio. Browning is a fine player, but likely doesn’t have what it takes to bring Washington to the next level. If you can get pressure in his face and force him off his spot, Browning quickly folds.
This game will certainly be determined in the trenches, and if the Buffs’ defensive line can win some one-on-one battles, they should have a very real chance at pulling off the upset. Ultimately, I think the Buffs’ defensive line will get enough pressure to keep this one close.
- 21-48-2 ATS in their last 71 games in October
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 conference games
- 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Buffs a lot here. Not only is it a major revenge game, but I think a few of the matchups favor Colorado. The injuries will need to be monitored, but I think Montez will have some success here. I don’t think they’ll be able to get enough done to win this game outright, but they should fairly easily keep it within this inflated number.
Prediction: Colorado +15.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams have talented defenses, and both teams have major injuries on offense. If the Buffs’ receiving corp continues to be as banged up as it looks, they may have no choice but to run the ball a ton. If that’s the case, this could turn into a pretty slow-paced game, and one without a ton of scoring. With two conference opponents who are very familiar with each other, I like the under quite a bit.
Half-Time Side Pick
If you like Colorado here, you should definitely consider taking them in the first half. There’s no doubt that Washington is the more talented team, so there’s a strong chance the Huskies could pull away in the second half even if Colorado keeps it close in the first half, which I think they will.
Prediction: Colorado +10
Half-Time Total Bet
This number seems like a lot to ask for in the first half from two offenses which haven’t shown very much in recent weeks. This should be a hard-fought conference game featuring two quarterbacks who have been very inconsistent lately. I think this should be a very sleepy first half.
Prediction: Under 24.5