Despite recent struggles, the Colorado Buffaloes have maintained the upper hand in their in-state rivalry with Colorado State, winning and covering six of the last seven meetings with the Rams.
The Buffs are lined as field-goal favorites for the 88th edition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown Friday night at Mile High in Denver.
Point spread: The Buffaloes opened as three-point favorites; the total was 61 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 35.9-18.1 Rams
Why the Colorado State Rams can cover the spread
The Rams only have five starters back on offense this year, but they include senior quarterback Garrett Grayson (62 percent completions, 23/11 TD/INT ratio last year) and his top two targets, Rashard Higgins and Joe Hansley, who combined for 120 catches. And seven starters return on defense, including six of the back seven.
CSU went 10-4 against the spread (ATS) last year, exceeding expectations on a regular basis.
The Rams lost this rivalry battle last year 41-27 as three-point favorites, but they led late in the third quarter. That game was decided when Colorado State, with a chance to retake the lead with 11 minutes to go, had a fumble returned for a Colorado score.
Why the Colorado Buffaloes can cover the spread
Colorado won this matchup last year, outgaining the Rams by over 200 yards, holding the ball for over 33 minutes. This year, the Buffs get 16 starters back, including QB Sefo Liufau (59 percent completions as a true freshman last year), last season's top two rushers, three along the offensive line and eight on defense.
While Colorado only won four games last season, it also topped the weekly expectations, going 7-5 ATS.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre pulled off a turnaround at San Jose State, taking that team from 2-10 the year before his arrival to 11-2 in three seasons. Might he herd the Buffaloes down a similar path?
Colorado owns the advantage in returning talent, and as mentioned above, even through the recent tough times, it's owned this rivalry. On top of that, Colorado State will miss running back Kapri Bibbs, who only ran for 1,700 yards and 31 scores last year, and the four starters it lost along the offensive line and the three starters along the defensive front four.
If Colorado wants to become bowl-eligible this season, it must get off to a good start, because the second-half schedule is rough. Give the points and back the Buffs to come through here, despite what the computer says.
- The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings between these teams.
- The Rams are 1-6 straight up and ATS in the past seven games against the Buffs.
- The Rams are 6-1 ATS in their past seven road games.
Note: All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury updates and line-move updates and get the free odds tracker app.
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