Colorado vs. Utah Odds, Picks, Predictions: Don’t Expect Much Offense (Friday, Nov. 26)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: The Utah Utes.
Colorado vs. Utah Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Ah yes, Week 13. The conclusion to the regular season. Boy, has time really flown by.
We had shades of the 2007 season with surprise upsets and shocking results. A consistent Georgia team remained on top while others have clawed their way to stay toward the top of the rankings. It’s the beginning of the end.
Utah is the epitome of the shocking results for this season. Regarded as one of the best teams in the Pac-12, it stumbled out the gates to a 2-2 start. The Utes turned it around and are currently 8-3 and have secured a Pac-12 Championship berth.
Colorado shocked the nation at the start of the season by narrowly losing to Texas A&M in Week 2. It was all downhill after that game, as it currently sits with a 4-7 record and no hopes of going bowling.
With end-of-season motivation playing more of a factor than ever, this game screams value to me as we try and figure out how this matchup shapes up.
Colorado must not a fan of the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This offense is broken, but the scheme remains the same.
Colorado has one of the heaviest rush rates at 16th in the nation, running at a 62.3% clip. But just because it runs it often doesn’t mean it runs it well. The Buffaloes rank 99th in Rush Success Rate and 105th in Line Yards.
I can see why they run the ball at a heavy rate as their pass attack is even worse. Quarterback Brendon Lewis has thrown for 1,456 yards, 10 touchdowns, and three interceptions. That has led to a Pass Success Rate ranking of 109th in the nation.
If Colorado wants to stay within the number, its primary focus will need to be taking care of the ball. Currently ranking 99th in the nation in Havoc Allowed, it’s going against a top-10 defense in Havoc created.
If Utah takes its foot off the pedal in a look-ahead spot, then Colorado will have a chance to extend drives and potentially put points on the board if it avoids turnovers.
For a team with one of the most heavy-rush units in football, Colorado should be more than ready for what Utah is going to throw at it. Utah is one of the most efficient running teams in the nation and runs it at a decently heavy rate as well.
While the Buffs should be prepared for defending the run, it doesn’t mean they’re very good at stopping it. Colorado ranks 109th in Defensive Rush Success Rate and 90th in Defensive Line Yards. This is a unit that has been pushed around all season on the ground.
This group is poor all around, ranking 100th or worse in four defensive metrics. With that said, it’s capable of stopping the Utes’ pass attack, as it ranks near average in Passing Success Rate Allowed. This may cause Utah to run it even more often.
Utah reminded the nation why it’s projected as one of the best teams in the Pac-12 by dominating conference-leading Oregon by a score of 38-7.
This was in large part due to its run game, a unit that ranks 14th in Rush Success Rate and ninth in Line Yards.
The Utes’ run game was on full display, as running back Tavion Thomas ran for 94 yards and three touchdowns. He has been a terror to opposing defenses all season, rushing for a total of 836 yards and an eye-popping 17 touchdowns.
Colorado can’t just focus on Thomas, as Utes quarterback Cameron Rising is also a dual-threat quarterback. Throwing for 1,930 yards and 14 touchdowns, he has also added 329 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Utah should have no trouble putting points on the board, as it’s one of the best at Finishing Drives. The real question is how often it will find itself in that position, as it may dial it back.
Unlike the offense, which relies on being one of the best at a certain metric, this defense is more of an all-around average unit. The Utes have no glaring weaknesses but no incredible strengths other than creating Havoc.
They are constantly ball-hawking and creating disruptions and turnovers, as they have created the eighth-most Havoc in the nation, which has been a huge key to their success.
Utah should expect a heavy dose of a run game from Colorado, as it’s one of the heaviest rushing units in football. The Utes rank 57th in Defensive Rush Success Rate Allowed and 76th in Defensive Line Yards.
While not the best, they benefit from Colorado not being very successful, either.
Colorado vs. Utah Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Colorado and Utah match up statistically:
Colorado Offense vs. Utah Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Utah Offense vs. Colorado Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||39||122|
|Plays per Minute||94||75|
|Rush Rate||62.3% (16)||55.8% (58)|
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
Colorado vs. Utah Betting Pick
While Week 13 is one of my favorite weeks for viewing pleasure, it’s actually one of my least favorite weeks for betting.
Capping motivation is incredibly difficult, and it gets even tougher when neither team has anything to play for. Utah has secured a Pac-12 Championship berth, and Colorado can’t get into a bowl with a win.
With that said, one bet stands out to me: the under.
Multiple factors play into this bet, with the key factor being how much running we should see. Colorado is one of the heaviest rushing units in football, and Utah may run it more often to bleed the clock so it can focus on the Pac-12 North winner.
Coupled with one of the heaviest rush rates in Colorado and Utah’s run-heavy game plan, both teams are also below the national average in plays per minute, making this under even tastier.
I expect the Utes to take their foot off the pedal early in the game, leading to more stalled-out possessions on their end. If Colorado can limit early success from Utah, then this game should be on cruise control until the final buzzer.
I played the under at 52.5 and would take it no less than 52.
Pick: Under 52.5 (Play to 52)
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