Vegas NCAAF Game Preview & Betting Pick: Colorado vs Washington State

The no. 8 Washington State Cougars will try to stay on track for a Pac-12 title when they pay a visit to the Colorado Buffaloes. The action gets started at 3:30 EST on Saturday, November 10, at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado. Fans everywhere can see the game on ESPN.

Based on the Week 11 college football odds, the Cougars are 5.5-point favorites on the road. That line has already increased by a point since Wazzou opened as 4.5-point favorites. The over/under for the game is set at 58.5 points. 

Colorado vs Washington State Game Preview & Betting Odds

Washington State appears to be the Pac-12’s only hope of crashing the College Football Playoff playoff party this season. Despite a close call against Cal last week, the Cougars have now won five games in a row to get to 8-1 on the season. It’ll take some outside help, but if Washington State wins out, they’ll have a case that they belong in the top-4. 

The Cougars still have three tough games left in the regular season, including a showdown against in-state rival Washington, before they can wrap up the Pac-12 North and reach the conference title game for the first time under Mike Leach. The good news is that this week’s trip to Colorado will be their final road game of the season, so they have a few things working in their favor.

The Buffaloes, meanwhile, have plummeted after starting their season 5-0. Colorado has lost four games in a row, dropping them to 5-4 overall and taking them out of contention inside a wide open Pac-12 South division. In fairness, three of Colorado’s four losses have come on the road. However, that doesn’t excuse a home loss to lowly Oregon State a couple weeks ago.

The bottom line for the Buffs is that they need to win at least one of their final three games in order to secure a bowl spot and salvage their season. With home games against Washington State and Utah and a road game against Cal, there are no easy games left on Colorado’s schedule for the Buffs to get that elusive sixth win.

Despite playing in opposite divisions, these two teams have met in each of the last three seasons with the home team winning all three games. The Cougars scored a 28-0 shutout win over the Buffaloes a year ago, although Colorado was able to hold serve at home in 2016, winning 38-24.

College Football Free Pick Against the Spread: Washington State -5.5

I was shocked to see the spread in this game at less than a touchdown. Washington State only has a couple of comfortable wins during Pac-12 play. But they also have all the momentum in the world on their side while Colorado must be completely void of confidence at this point. After getting a surprising challenge against Cal last week, I think the Cougars will kick Colorado while they’re down and have a much more comfortable win this week, easily covering the spread.

The brilliance of Washington State is that they’re one-dimensional offensively and don’t seem to mind. The Cougars can toss the ball all over the place with quarterback Gardner Minshew while rarely asking their running game for anything substantial.

On the season, Minshew has completed 71% of his passes. More importantly, against Pac-12 teams, he’s thrown 19 touchdowns to just four interceptions while only getting sacked five times. Even against good defenses, he’s able to post outrageous numbers and put big points on the board for the Cougars.

On paper, the Wazzou passing attack appears to be a terrible matchup for the Colorado defense. The Buffs have been shredded through the air in their last two games, giving up nearly 700 total passing yards to Oregon State and Arizona. With all due respect to those teams, they shouldn’t be putting up those kinds of numbers against a power conference team that’s one win away from a bowl game. If those teams can do so much damage against the Colorado defense, Minshew should have a field day against the Buffaloes.

Cal may have been able to hold Washington State to 19 points last week, but I doubt the Buffaloes will be able to do the same. Colorado’s only path to staying competitive in this game will be keeping pace in a shootout. To be fair, that’s not an impossible occurrence. The troika of Steven Montz, Travon McMillian, and Laviska Shenault Jr. is one of the best in the Pac-12. Even in losing efforts, the Buffaloes have managed to score 34 points in each of the last two weeks, so they could be a worthy adversary for the Cougars in a track meet.

That being said, the Buffs have still fallen short in high-scoring games the past two weeks. Again, if Colorado was outscored by both Oregon State and Arizona, I don’t see them keeping up with a team like Washington State. The Cougars are so rarely contained for an extended period of time. Sooner or later, Wazzou will be able to build on their lead enough to cover the 5.5-point spread. For me, this is a heavy lean toward Washington State.

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