Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes are the Most Popular Bet in College Football
Pictured: Deion Sanders. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)
The Colorado Buffaloes are the biggest story in college football this season.
The Buffs are coming off a 1-11 season where they lost by an average of 29.1 points per game, but that seems like a distant memory after Colorado hired one of the most prolific men in football to be its head coach.
It is hard to watch any college football show without seeing at least some discussion of Deion Sanders and Colorado.
This has led to a lot of betting attention on Colorado futures. It may seem like Coach Prime is a polarizing figure, but bettors — for the most part — are willing to back his unprecedented rebuild.
Colorado over 3.5 wins is the most popular over bet at BetMGM. It has fluctuated a little bit throughout the offseason, but over 3.5 is still plus-money at BetMGM and 87% of the bets and 83% of the handle is on the over.
That isn't the only Colorado future attracting bettors.
Colorado is 150-1 to make the College Football Playoff at BetMGM. The Buffs are BetMGM's third-biggest liability in the make the playoff market with 2.7% of the bets and 3% of the handle.
CU is also the biggest liability in BetMGM's National Championship markets. The Buffs opened at 300-1 and are down to 250-1 to win it all. They have garnered 3.8% of the tickets and 3.6% of the money in the National Championship market.
It is no surprise that Colorado is also the most popular bet to win the Pac-12 conference. However, the market share might be a surprise. The Buffs are 100-1 to win the Pac-12, yet account for 41.8% of the tickets and 51.1% of the handle at BetMGM.
So why is Colorado such a popular bet?
It can't be just Buffs fans and Coach Prime fans who are taking up such a significant portion of the various college football betting markets.
Is there a reason to be backing the Buffs this season, aside from the head coach?
Sanders believes in the coaching staff he brought to Boulder. Seven of CU's 18 assistant coaches and quality control personnel have served as head coaches at the college or professional level. Several of them have won national championships and several have coached in the NFL.
There is also the roster turnover. Colorado returns just nine scholarship players from last year's 1-11 team and has added 68 scholarship newcomers. The total amount of newcomers jumps to 87 if you include walk-ons.
Of those 87 newcomers, 60 are transfers from other college programs. CU’s incoming transfers amassed 29 more touchdowns, 30 more sacks and seven more interceptions last year than the Buffaloes did as an entire team.
CU's roster includes 461 games started and 1,245 games played, which is easily the most experience Colorado has ever had.
Some may be noting that most of the experience comes from the lower levels. Yes, some of that is true. Nine players followed Coach Prime from Jackson State, including the two biggest names on the team — Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter.
But Colorado also pulled plenty of players from high-profile programs, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Tennessee and Washington. A player such as Derrick McLendon — who racked up 50 tackles (12.5 for loss) and 8.5 sacks over 38 games for Florida State — isn't often discussed when talking about Colorado's roster reconstruction.
There's also Alton McCaskill, who comes to CU from Houston, where he was a freshman All-American running back who racked up 18 touchdowns and over 1,000 total yards. And Jordan Domineck, who finished third in the SEC in sacks last season and is at his third Power 5 program. The list goes on and on.
247Sports recently published its 2023 College Football Team Talent Composite Rankings. They compile the rankings to determine which teams have the most talent on the roster and do so by utilizing the composite rankings from when the players were recruits.
Colorado came in at No. 35 overall and No. 6 in the Pac-12. Colorado was 63rd overall in 2022.
Nobody truly knows what to expect from Sanders and the Buffs in 2023. But two things are absolutely true: Colorado has upgraded in the talent department and it's going to be impossible to keep our eyes off the show.