The next stop on the Primetime Express is Deion Sanders’s second matchup as a three-touchdown underdog on the college football odds board this season. The Colorado Buffaloes face the Oregon Ducks as 21-point underdogs, partly because they're missing their two-way star, cornerback/receiver Travis Hunter.
Can No. 19 Colorado keep its high-profile run going with a huge upset at No. 10 Oregon? As unlikely as it seems, everything about the Buffaloes’ 2023 has been unlikely.
Here are our free college football picks and predictions for Colorado vs. Oregon on September 23, with kickoff set for 3:30 ET.
Colorado vs Oregon best odds
Colorado vs Oregon picks and predictions
Let’s talk about shopping. Not for clothes, a deep closet is overrated, anyway. Not for liquor, finding your favorite bottle of rum and becoming known for it is an underrated way of simplifying your home decor. Not for a car, we aren’t betting enough money to think about such a purchase in this economy.
No, let’s talk about shopping for odds and lines.
It can be difficult and time-consuming when looking at certain markets, like team totals, but it is too important not to do. Betting the Oregon team total Over 45.5 points at DraftKings will come at a vig of -115. Doing it at FanDuel? Just -102.
That’s enough of a difference to perhaps pay for that preferred bottle of rum.
If last week’s dramatic double-overtime win against Colorado State proved anything about Colorado, it’s that the Buffaloes have no genuine defense. The Rams offense ranks No. 107 in the country in expected points added per snap. Their passing game is No. 82. Yet Colorado State sophomore quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi threw three touchdowns in regulation against Colorado and added one more in overtime in his second career start. He completed 72.3 percent of his passes and averaged 7.8 yards per pass attempt.
Before overtime, the Buffaloes gave up five quality possessions to Fowler-Nicolosi and the Rams, drives on which it was more likely than not that Colorado State would score. The Rams turned three of those into touchdowns, all through the air, and the other two into turnovers.
Those turnovers are not mistakes to expect from Oregon fifth-year quarterback Bo Nix — at least not since he went to the Pacific Northwest, throwing only seven interceptions in his 16-game Ducks career. If Colorado wilted that much when it mattered most against Colorado State, only pulled from the fire by the Rams’ mistakes, then it will be readily exposed by one of the most potent offenses in the country.
Particularly without two-way star Travis Hunter at cornerback. He is, by far, the Buffaloes’ best defender, and now Nix has that much less to worry about.
The Ducks saw fit to post billboards of Nix in New York City and Dallas to drum up Heisman interest. More than that, they were advertising the program for the next wave of transfer portal entrants. A high-profile game like this will provide another opportunity for such advertising. Allowing Nix to shine against a porous defense to start with, one currently weakened by injury, will be noticed by players across the country, never mind Heisman voters.
Hanging a big number on Colorado will help Oregon in the long run, as well as pace the Ducks to a victory to open Pac-12 play.
FanDuel is offering a 30% profit boost for one bet on this game — turning this -102 bet into a +128 wager; easily the best number on the market. Otherwise, well, just make sure you get the best number available. Shop.
My best bet: Oregon team total Over 45.5 (-102 at FanDuel)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
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Colorado vs Oregon same-game parlay
Give Deion credit. He has elevated Colorado faster and higher than anyone anticipated. Much of that was talent infusion, led by Hunter, Sanders’s sons, and freshman running back Dylan Edwards. But a healthy amount of it has also been coaching.
Offensive coordinator Sean Lewis has long been recognized as a unique offensive mind, his Kent State teams operating at a tempo that was worthy of the nickname Flashes. His opening scripts through three games at Colorado have yielded three scoring opportunities to open the season against TCU and two turnovers before a touchdown last week against Colorado State. Between them, an ugly, four-punt opening against Nebraska.
Last week’s turnovers can be chalked up to the emotions that led to a pregame fracas in Boulder. That should not be as much of a thought this week; it has been downright mundane by usual Colorado standards.
Betting the first half Over is betting on Lewis to have thoroughly rehearsed the first 15 plays with Buffaloes quarterback Shadeur Sanders.
Then adding in an alternate touchdown total for Nix is a bet on Oregon head coach Dan Lanning recognizing the spotlight opportunity his program has. Emphasize Nix against one of the worst passing defenses in the country and not only do the Ducks benefit on Saturday, but they could benefit for years to come.
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Colorado vs Oregon spread and Over/Under analysis
Lookahead lines should be treated with a disclaimer. They usually have low limits, betting them too heavily can expose a player to even more restrictive limits, and they are not the truest data points as a week begins.
But Colorado lookahead lines have changed. They have become more actionable than any others. Sportsbooks are leaning into the Primetime Express.
On Sunday morning, this lookahead line began climbing, from Oregon by 16.5 to -21 before the first lines even hit the market in Nevada. This number had been shaped before the week’s action actually began. It did not need to move again.
Totals are not treated as recklessly, this opening in Las Vegas at 66.5 and having a chance to climb to a peak of 72.5 before ticking back down to 70 or 70.5 by late Wednesday. Some of that original climb may have been public money betting on the fun of Colorado, but some of it may also have just been doubting Colorado’s defense.
Colorado vs Oregon betting trend to know
Oregon has cashed its team total Over in six of its last nine games. Find more college football betting trends for Colorado vs Oregon.
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Colorado vs Oregon game info
|Location:||Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR|
|Date:||Saturday, September 23, 2023|
|Kickoff:||3:30 p.m. ET|
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