Even while struggling over recent seasons, Colorado has retained the upper hand in the rivalry with Colorado State, winning six of the last nine meetings straight up and going 5-3-1 against the spread. The Buffaloes butt heads with the Rams Friday night on a neutral field at Mile High in Denver.
Point spread: Buffaloes opened as a 10-point favorite, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 30.3-26.4 Buffaloes
Why the Colorado State Rams can cover the spread
Colorado State returns only nine starters from a team that went 7-6 last year. Fortunately, they include some key people. Six starters are back on offense, led by junior quarterback Nick Stevens (61 percent passing, 21 touchdowns last year), leading rusher Dalyn Dawkins (867 yards, two TDs) and four of the big boys up front. And while only three starters return on defense, one of them is All-Mountain West linebacker candidate Kevin Davis.
Two years ago, Colorado State beat Colorado 31-17, and last year the Rams had a great chance to make it two in a row in the series. The Rams jumped out to a 14-0 lead and outgained the Buffs 500-345. Unfortunately, they also gave up touchdowns on a 65-yard bomb and a 60-yard interception return in an eventual 27-24 overtime defeat.
Why the Colorado Buffaloes can cover the spread
Colorado returns 18 starters this season, among the most in all of FBS, from a team that went 4-9 last year. The Buffaloes had chances to get to six wins and break a seven-season bowl-less streak last year, but they lost five games by one score or less.
Nine starters are back on offense, including senior quarterback Sefo Liufau (29 career starts) and four men along the offensive line; nine starters also come back on defense. Colorado averaged 25 points per game last year while allowing 28; both those figures should improve this season. Furthermore, while the Buffs are only 10-27 straight up in three seasons under head coach Mike MacIntyre, they're 20-16-1 against the spread.
Colorado owns the edge in experience, but Colorado State can move the ball on offense and keep this one close. Not only that, but the Rams have beaten the Buffaloes three times outright as underdogs since 2009. The smart money here sides with Colorado State.
Colorado State is 1-5 SU and ATS in its last six games against Colorado.
The total has gone under in seven of Colorado State's last eight games against Colorado.
The total has gone under in six of Colorado State's last eight games in Week 1.
All point spread and betting lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Odds Shark on Twitter and YouTube for injury information, line movement updates and more game analysis, and get the free odds tracker app.