College Football Odds & Pick For Colorado vs. Stanford: Betting Value Lies With Cardinal

Credit:

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Colorado Buffaloes running back Jarek Broussard.

  • Colorado looks to ride its dynamic running game to a second straight win, while Stanford looks to notch its first win.
  • The Cardinal hope to bounce back after COVID-19 thwarted their game plan last week against Oregon.
  • Roberto Arguello explains why he is betting Stanford’s total.

Colorado vs. Stanford Odds

Colorado Odds +9 [BET NOW]
Stanford Odds -9 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +260/-335 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 55.5 [BET NOW]
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

The Colorado Buffaloes travel to the Bay Area to face the Stanford Cardinal after scratching out a 48-42 home win over UCLA behind a strong rushing attack that racked up 264 yards.

On the other side, Stanford suffered a 35-14 loss to Oregon after starting quarterback Davis Mills was ruled out for the game due to COVID-19 protocols. However, the Cardinal fans were encouraged by the reemergence of the team’s running game (197 yards rushing) behind an impressive showing from the “Tunnel Workers Union” up front.

As of Thursday evening, Mills is believed to have been held out of the Oregon game due to a false positive COVID-19 test and should start against Colorado. However, markets have yet to adjust the Stanford team total up from 30.5 points. I recommend pouncing on this number soon before the books adjust, as this is a great time to buy low on the Stanford offense after a misleading 14-point performance against Oregon.

Colorado Buffaloes

Despite losing starting quarterback Steven Montez, top receivers Laviska Shenault Jr. and Tony Brown to the NFL, Colorado impressed by scoring 48 points in its first game for coach Karl Dorrell against a bad UCLA defense.

In addition to those losses, the Buffaloes competed without their leading returners at key skill positions due to injury. Running back Alex Fontenot (undisclosed) remains out indefinitely and wide receiver K.D. Nixon (hamstring) could play this week (day-to-day) against Stanford.

Nonetheless, Colorado’s dynamic backfield duo of fifth-year senior quarterback Sam Noyer and sophomore Jarek Broussard impressed in their first starts. Noyer completed 20 of 31 pass attempts for 257 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He added 64 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

However, Noyer’s passes were relatively conservative as he threw for a conference-low 6.4-yard average depth of target, although Colorado’s rushing attack was so dominant that the offense didn’t need to take any chances throwing the football.

After redshirting in 2018 and missing the 2019 season with a knee injury, Broussard finally made his collegiate debut last Saturday and gained 187 rushing yards on 31 carries for three touchdowns. Broussard also had two receptions for 21 yards.

Broussard and Noyer were successful against UCLA because of a dominant performance by the Colorado offensive line. The Buffaloes’ 264 rushing yards came behind a consistent churn rather than big plays, as the longest rush of the night went for 37 yards.

Colorado mustered an Opportunity Rate (the percentage of carries that gain at least four yards) of 56.4%, which ranks 16th nationally. The Buffaloes had success at the line of scrimmage against UCLA, with poor tackling gifting them excess yardage.

The consistent rushing attack for Colorado should find success against a Stanford defense that came into the year with question marks along the defensive line. Two starting seniors from 2019 decided to pursue their seasons as grad transfers instead of returning to the Farm.

Colorado looks to pick up where Oregon left off after the Ducks gashed the Cardinal for 269 rushing yards, with four touchdowns on 6.7 yards per carry.

On the other side of the ball, the Buffaloes struggled, as the UCLA offense easily moved the ball in the second half while scoring 42 points and nearly pulling off another stunning comeback in #PAC12AfterDark.

Colorado committed four pass interference penalties, allowed 14 plays of 10 yards or more in the last 35 minutes of play and had several coverage busts that resulted in wide-open UCLA receivers gaining easy yardage.

Davion Taylor, the Buffaloes’ standout STAR (a hybrid linebacker/safety that plays a key role in the defense) from 2019, was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft. His replacement, Chris Miller — who was expected to be a defensive playmaker — went down with an injury against UCLA and is doubtful to play at Stanford.

Miller’s backup left the program and is in the transfer portal, meaning a walk-on might be forced to start unless Colorado reshuffles its secondary.


Stanford Cardinal

Stanford was blindsided 90 minutes before kickoff against Oregon when three players were ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols, including two captains: Mills and starting wide receiver Connor Wedington.

Losing Mills was a huge blow, as the Cardinal played two inexperienced quarterbacks against Oregon: junior Jack West and freshman Tanner McKee. West’s only prior experience came in an ugly home loss to UCLA last year, while McKee was a highly-touted quarterback in the 2018 class who took two years away from football to complete a Latter-day Saints mission trip.

While Stanford fans held their breath at start the Oregon game, they could exhale quickly after seeing an impressive performance from the offensive line. The Cardinal suffered a myriad of injuries on the offensive line in 2019, forcing freshmen to start at nearly every position at different points of the season. However, this unit has more depth, experience and confidence because of it.

Stanford also has one of the top running back duos in the conference in Austin Jones and Nathaniel Peat in the backfield.

The Cardinal kept its young quarterbacks away from trouble, throwing more balls to the outside and away from the majority of Oregon defenders. While the opportunities to score on big plays outside were there, neither West nor McKee connected on enough deep balls to win the game.

With Mills back in the fold this week, expect the Cardinal offense to capitalize on the missed opportunities from a week ago. Mills was ranked as a five-star recruit coming out of high school, even above former Alabama star and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the class of 2017.

Mills is a significant upgrade at quarterback because of his advanced understanding of the offense and cohesion with the top receivers. He earned Stanford’s Gundelach Award last season as the team’s most outstanding junior player. Now a senior and a captain, expect Mills to play well against a Colorado defense with holes.

Without having any practices to prepare the Cardinal for the Oregon game, it makes sense that head coach David Shaw played conservatively against an Oregon defense that is expected to be the class of the conference.

Shaw noted midweek that if teams continue to play Stanford’s strong and fast receivers (such as Simi Fehoko, Brycen Tremayne, Elijah Higgins, etc …) without safety help, the Cardinal will continue to give its playmakers chances to win the game.

Fehoko, Stanford’s best receiver who stands at 6’4,” weighs 227 pounds and runs a 4.3-second 40-yard dash, caught a career-long 79-yard touchdown in at home last season.

Expect Stanford to target its big-play receivers downfield this week, as Mills returns to the field. Don’t be surprised if Stanford attacks the middle of the field more consistently now that a proven signal-caller will be leading the way.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Back Stanford to score at least 30.5 points against Colorado. Stanford gets a huge boost with Mills at quarterback, and the Cardinal’s offensive line should churn out yardage.

The Colorado defense struggled with over-pursuit last week, as it was gashed on screens.  Expect Stanford to set up some easy throws on screens for its young quarterbacks and to get its talented offensive linemen in space to make plays, especially if Wedington is active.

I like this opportunity to buy low on Stanford’s offense after a 14-point performance against Oregon, in which the offense missed out on 12 points as Stanford’s former all-conference kicker uncharacteristically went 0 for 4 on field goals.

Stanford’s offense will have a better plan in place to maximize the strengths of Mills rather than a backup thrust into the starting role right before kickoff.

Colorado should move the ball against Stanford on the ground and put up enough points to stay competitive. Noyer’s legs will be a problem for Stanford’s defense, and Colorado’s tempo will help push the total up. Stanford will find success rushing the football and will be more effective pushing the ball down the field in the passing game.

Both defenses have a bend-don’t-break feel to them, but I trust the Stanford offense with more playmakers to be the difference in a competitive game.

Although Stanford doesn’t have a standout tight end, its wide-receiver room is as deep and talented with big bodies as ever. Stanford gets Osiris St. Brown back after missing last week and could also add Wedington back to the fold if he clears virus protocols. Expect Stanford to find mismatches in the Colorado secondary, especially if Miller can’t play at STAR for Colorado.

I like Stanford to win, but I like its team total over 30.5 points and up to 34.5 as my best bet. I liked this number before it was announced Mills missed last game with a false positive, but with him likely back on the field, get this number while you still can.

Pick: Stanford Over 30.5 points (up to 34.5)

[Bet the Stanford team total now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]
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