Interest in Colorado Football Way Up at Sports Betting Sites, but Starting from Down Low

The Buffs-related boom could be particularly pronounced because wagering on the team was previously so low.

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2023 8:33 AM ET Read Time: 3 min
Deion Sanders Shedeur Sanders Colorado Buffaloes NCAAF
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Sports betting sites are seeing players stampede toward markets involving the Colorado Buffaloes, something that hasn’t happened for a long time — and with good reason.

That's because Colorado is the talk of the college football scene, as former NFL star Deion Sanders (a.k.a. Coach Prime) has engineered a quick turnaround for the program in his first year at the helm.

The Buffs started their season with an exciting win against a ranked opponent, TCU, before outpacing Nebraska last weekend. Fanatics Sportsbook, which isn't even live in Colorado, said the Colorado-Nebraska matchup was its busiest college football game of the week "by far."

And while Colorado will square off against a less-storied program this weekend in Colorado State, bettors are still flocking to the game and huddling around the excitement growing in Boulder. At BetMGM, the Buffs are the book’s biggest liability to win the national championship. 

“Colorado has been the most bet team each week so far this season,” John Ewing, a data analyst at BetMGM, told Covers in an email. “We expect they’ll be the most bet team to cover again on Saturday.” 

A material risk?

Similar trends are playing out at Tipico, which reported last week that it saw wagering on Colorado to win the Pac-12 championship increase by more than 5,000% following the Buffs’ win over TCU. The handle on Colorado to win the national title shot up 525%, and the amount of wagering on dual-threat Travis Hunter drove down his Heisman odds to +3000 from +20000. 

The Colorado sports betting action is heavy enough that it prompted an analyst at one investment bank to warn about the hit sportsbooks could take from wagering on the team. According to, Macquarie analyst Chad Beynon told clients that around 80% of the betting public was on Colorado last week, a potentially costly position.

Sports Interaction saw "exceptionally high" in-play action on Colorado during the TCU game, according to Phill Gray, head of trading operations at the online bookmaker. 

"We did get hit for a good loss there," Gray noted in an email.

Interest in Colorado is driven by the buzz created by Sanders and his son, quarterback Shedeur Sanders, who inserted himself into the Heisman conversation by throwing for 903 yards and six touchdowns in just two games. Circa Sports reported on Tuesday that odds for Sanders to win the Heisman dropped to +2000 from +4000 following the Nebraska win, while Hunter's fell to +1500 from +2500. 

At Sports Interaction, 90% of all Heisman bets are on Shedeur, according to Gray. As a result, Sanders' Heisman odds fell to +1800 from +12000. 

But the Buffs-related boom could be particularly pronounced because wagering on the team was previously so low. Colorado lost all but one game in 2022 and hadn't had a winning season since the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.

“We’ve certainly seen a lot of interest in the Colorado games this year,” said Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sportsbook operations at the SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas, in an email to Covers. “However, since they were a bottom feeder for years, they started at ground zero and therefore, the % increase is quite dramatic.”

Starting from scratch

Kornegay said talk of Colorado games generating the most tickets and handles for other sportsbooks is not the case at SuperBook, not by a long shot. That's true in Nevada and the other seven states in which the operator offers legal sports betting.

While the Colorado-Nebraska game last week was popular, the Alabama-Texas matchup accounted for twice as much handle, Kornegay said. The Colorado games are not coming near NFL levels yet either at SuperBook.  

“The Colorado games are popular but they don’t come close to the biggest games ever and we’re certainly not taking more handle on their games vs. NFL games,” Kornegay said. “Their Heisman candidates have received some attention from the fans but nothing earth-shattering.”

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