Colorado Betting Odds Preview
The Buffaloes won four games last year, their first season under new head coach Mike MacIntyre, three more than in their 1-11 campaign of 2012. However, the number of victories against Big 5 conference schools remained the same – one.
Coach MacIntyre got results at San Jose State, but it took about a season and a half for things to click. This year Colorado, with a season's worth of learning curve under its belt, gets several winnable games early, before the big boys of the Pac-12 pop up in October and November. The Buffs will be better, but can they get to six wins?
Colorado began last year 2-0, then began Pac-12 play with losses to Oregon State, Oregon and eventual South Division champion Arizona State, giving up some big numbers on defense. The Buffs later lost three more in a row to Arizona, UCLA and Washington, again giving up a ton of points, before picking up their only conference victory, over lowly Cal. Colorado then lost to USC and Utah to finish 4-8 SU but 7-5 ATS, covering their last three games in a row.
The Buffaloes are now 4-23 SU and 9-18 ATS in three seasons of Pac-12 play.
This year the Buffs return 16 starters, second-most in the conference. Eight starters are back on offense, including QB Sefo Liufau (59 percent completions as a true freshman last year), last year's top two rushers and three along the offensive line; and eight starters return on defense, spread out among three on the line, two at linebacker and three in the secondary.
Colorado begins this year with the rivalry game against Colorado State in Denver, then gets a winnable road game at Massachusetts, then begins Pac-12 play by hosting Arizona State. The Buffs then step back out of conference for a home game with Hawaii, then visit Cal, then host Oregon State. So it's not inconceivable the Buffaloes could win four or five of their first six games. But after that Colorado plays at USC, Arizona and Oregon, and hosts UCLA, Washington and Utah. So the Buffs better be ready for a good start to this season, because they're not going to win more than one or two of those last six contests.
Colorado hasn't gone bowling since 2007. The Buffs have a good chance to at least match last year's win total, even with a tougher schedule, but they'll still need to pull a couple of upsets to end that bowl drought this season.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5
Arizona State 12/1
Oregon State 33/1
Washington State 50/1
Since leaving the Big 12 to join the Pac-12 three years ago Colorado has gone 4-21 and won just three conference games. Makes one wonder if the powers-that-be at CU are regretting the move.
Colorado also hasn't posted a winning season since Gary Barnett was in charge, or played in a bowl game since 2007. New head coach Mike MacIntyre did some very good things at San Jose State, but he'll have his hands full trying to make progress in the Pac-12 South, at least right away.
Odds to Win Pac-12: +20000 at 5Dimes
Regular Season Win Total: 3.5 at Bovada
Colorado was a very young team last year, with just nine returning starters, so its prospects for snapping a four-year bowl-less streak seemed remote. And that hypothesis held true, to an ugly extent. The Buffs began last season by losing their rivalry game to Colorado State, then got “upset” by Sacramento State, then gave up 69 points in losing to Fresno State. Colorado then came from way back to win at Washington State, but that was it; the Buffs didn't win another game, and had trouble just staying close.
They lost by 28 to UCLA, 34 to Arizona State, 44 to USC, 56 to Oregon, 48 to Stanford, 25 to Arizona, 35 to Washington and, lo and behold, just seven to Utah. On the whole Colorado got out-gained by 186 YPG and out-scored by 28 PPG. The Buffaloes also went just 3-9 ATS last year, posting a hard-to-believe -19 turnover ratio. In the wake of that performance there was just no way Colorado could do anything else than cut loose head coach Jon Embree and look to someone else for a fresh start. This year coach MacIntyre inherits a team with 16 returning starters, third-most in the league.
Seven starters are back on offense, including last year's top rusher, top two receivers, and three along the offensive line, and nine starters return on defense. But that defense ranked 117th last year by allowing 489 YPG. So a little coaching-up is needed for that unit. The Buffs open this season with non-conference games against Colorado State, Central Arkansas, and Fresno State, and there's no guarantee they'll win any of those.
In conference play they visit Oregon State, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington, and Utah, and host Oregon, Arizona, Cal, and USC. From afar CU might only have two or three winnable games on this year's schedule, and might not win a conference game.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 11
Oregon State +1050
Arizona State +1100
Washington State +6000