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Colorado vs. Colorado State: Is the Smart Money on a Buffalo Stampede?

This article originally appeared at FanDuel Research

As the hype keeps building, get set for Week 3 in college football with a big Colorado State vs. Colorado prediction, plus the latest odds and insights from FanDuel.

Embarking on college football’s Week 3, this will be our last Saturday before being completely submerged in the glory of conference play.

Still, there are a few SEC sides getting after one another this weekend, such as upcoming tilts between the No. 14 LSU Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs, along with the No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers and Florida Gators.

Also, ACC foes will be in action on Saturday; the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles have a date up north with the Boston College Eagles.

Of the games I am most looking forward to in Week 3, it should be a real scratch-and-claw type of contest between the No. 15 Kansas State Wildcats and Missouri Tigers.

As a nightcap, I will be fully tuned into to the 2023 Rocky Mountain Showdown: Colorado State Rams at No. 18 Colorado Buffaloes.

Let’s dive into Saturday’s slate with an emphasis on scoping out the most valuable of the traditional betting markets, including a big Colorado vs. Colorado state prediction, plus the latest odds and betting insights from FanDuel.

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College Football Betting Picks (Saturday, Sept. 16)

NOTE: All college football odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Lines may change after this article is published.

Away TeamHome TeamHome SpreadTotalImplied Road TotalImplied Home Total
Penn StateIllinois+14.548.531.517.0
Kansas StMissouri+3.547.525.522.0
LSUMississippi St+9.554.532.022.5
Florida StateBoston College+26.547.537.010.5
MinnesotaNorth Carolina-7.550.521.529.0
South CarolinaGeorgia-27.554.513.541.0
WashingtonMichigan St+16.555.536.019.5
PittsburghWest Virginia-2.547.522.525.0
Georgia TechOle Miss-18.563.522.541.0

Colorado State vs. Colorado Odds & Betting Info

  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Spread: COLO -23.5
  • Moneyline: CSU +1000/COLO -2100
  • Total: 60.5

The 91st Rocky Mountain Showdown will not be played in Denver like the previous 10 meetings between the Buffs and Rams. The intrastate rivalry will shift back to Colorado’s Folsom Field in Boulder for the first time since 2009.

Considering all that has transpired in three weeks of college football action, can CSU actually hope to graze with Coach Prime’s Buffaloes?

Notably, Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders has set the college football landscape on fire in just three games at the FBS level. In 89 pass attempts so far (77.5% completion clip), Sanders has produced 903 yards, 6 touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Buffaloes are averaging 40.5 points per game in 2023, and as such, Sanders’ current Heisman Trophy odds have come down to +3000 (ninth-best) at FanDuel Sportsbook.

For Colorado State, they are one of a few sides that have only played one game up to this point in the season. In that Week 1 contest, CSU was bested 50-24 by the No. 23 Washington State Cougars in Pullman. Of course, Rams head coach Jay Norvell just added fuel to the upcoming fire by taking a media shot at Colorado’s flamboyant head coach.

Per the current SP+ rankings, the Buffs chime in at 76th overall, while their offense shows at 54th. For State, they are a bottom-10 team in the country right now (128th out of 133). This weekend in Boulder, things could get ugly on the scoreboard.

Colorado vs. CSU Best Bet: Colorado -23.5

As stated last week, I will be riding strong with Colorado until another school can reasonably contain their air attack.

It will happen eventually, but I don’t anticipate this week against Colorado State to be the contest that the Buffs disappear. I highlighted the SP+ rankings above, but Colorado and CSU are even further apart on the Football Power Index (58th compared to the Rams at 124th).

Explosive Buffalo wideouts Travis Hunter and Xavier Weaver combined for 243 receiving yards against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Week 2; good enough to account for 61.8% of Sanders’ passing production. Colorado State’s defensive backfield will have their hands full, to put it lightly.

Also, something gives me the inkling that Coach Prime will stay on the gas pedal in every contest this year, regardless of the score. Especially versus an in-state rival, we may see him recycle an old, iconic quote: “I built this, and this is my house.”

Scroll to the end of this story for a final Colorado vs. CSU prediction.

LSU vs. Mississippi State

  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Spread: LSU -9.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: LSU -335/MSST +265
  • Total: 54.5

It’s already Week 3, so I am more than ready to start SEC action. As our first 2023 taste of the nation’s best college football conference, head coach Brian Kelly and No. 14 LSU will head to Starkville for a rumble at Mississippi State.

The Tigers are coming off a primetime beatdown courtesy of No. 3 Florida State. At 1-1, LSU still has plenty of season left to surge into the College Football Playoff conversation, but they will be tight-roping with their national title hopes for the rest of the way. Simply, they will need to forget the recent loss and produce a dominant showing against the Bulldogs this week.

Thus far, Mississippi State has played to a 2-0 record while going 1-1 ATS, failing to cover nine points last week in their 31-24 victory over the Arizona Wildcats. Still, Bulldog quarterback Will Rogers threw for three scores against ‘Zona while Mississippi State’s defense produced four interceptions. But how will MSST look in their first 2023 showing as an underdog?

The “Bayou Bengals” are seeking to get back in the win column this weekend. In the recent loss against FSU, Tigers star signal-caller Jayden Daniels produced 411 all-purpose yards but just one touchdown. However, LSU’s defense will have an easier task this week, as Rogers is not the dual-threat player that Florida State’s Jordan Travis is.

LSU vs. MSU Best Bet: Mississippi State +9.5 (-115)

When surveying ESPN’s latest CFB SP+ scale, LSU and Miss. St. are not many spots apart. The Tigers currently find themselves at 16th overall while the Bulldogs are nearby at 23rd. Between both schools, the Tigers’ defense is the worst-ranked unit at 35th out of 133.

Mississippi State head coach Zach Arnett is in his first season at the helm, taking over for the late-great Mike Leach. The side from Starkville has appeared motivated in 2023, scoring 39.5 points per game thus far.

I’m not sure I trust the Bulldogs to completely pull off the upset, but I believe they can keep this game with LSU closer than last year’s 31-16 loss in Baton Rouge. With Mississippi State currently getting 9.5 points at FanDuel Sportsbook, I will be taking the points on the home side.

When referencing game projections on numberFire, my selection on the Bulldogs ATS is affirmed, showing a narrow estimated winning score for LSU of 28.12-25.78.

Kansas State vs. Missouri Odds & Betting Info

  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: SECN
  • Spread: KSU -3.5 (-120)
  • Moneyline: KSU -182/MIZ +150
  • Total: 47.5 (-115/-105)

Straddling Kansas City, Missouri at equidistance, the campuses of K-State and Mizzou sit less than 250 miles apart.

On Saturday, head coach Chris Klieman and the No. 15 Wildcats will make the short trip east to tangle with the Tigers in Columbia. Over last season’s head-to-head meeting in Manhattan (Week 2), Kansas State thrashed Missouri 40-12.

Each side enters this game at 2-0. Transparently, K-State has yet to be tested in 2023; they shut out SEMO State in Week 1 before shellacking the Troy Trojans in Week 2. For Mizzou, they first ran through South Dakota prior to outlasting the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders last Saturday.

So, what facets will translate going forward, and what will not?

Will Howard is back at quarterback for the Wildcats in 2023. Through two games this year, he is throwing the ball at a completion clip of 67.2%. However, Missouri is returning a familiar signal-caller of their own in Brady Cook. It will be interesting to see which passer separates their offense this Saturday afternoon.

Best Bet: Kansas State -3.5 (-120)

As the reigning Big 12 champions, Kansas State has seemed like the stronger side in 2023.

On ESPN’s latest CFB Power Index, the Wildcats have a rating of 13.1 (21st out of 133 FBS schools) compared to the Tigers at 4.1 (47th). Traveling a short distance, I don’t mind KSU laying less than a touchdown in Columbia on Saturday.

At the moment, both schools boast 2-0 records straight-up, but K-State is also 2-0 ATS, while the Tigers have failed to cover in either prior effort. Additionally, the Wildcats have averaged 43.5 points per game while allowing just 6.5ppg; the latter figure is the seventh-best defensive production in the nation right now.

Looking back at numberFire’s CFB game projections, their model supports KSU -3.5, yielding a projected score of 26.73-20.33. Worth mentioning: at FanDuel Sportsbook, the public is heavy on K-State in this market.

Northwestern vs. Duke

  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ACCN
  • Spread: DUKE -18.5
  • Moneyline: NU +800/DUKE -1400
  • Total: 48.5

The No. 21 Duke Blue Devils have made brilliant strides on the gridiron since head coach Mike Elko took over the program in 2022.

Remember, Duke football finished at 3-9 as recently as 2021. Fast-forward to now, and they are 2-0 behind a 35.0-point-per-game scoring clip.

On the other side, NU seems to be trending in the opposite direction.

After 17 seasons as head coach of the Northwestern Wildcats, Pat Fitzgerald was notably dismissed after rampant allegations of hazing throughout the football program. This comes on the heels of a 1-11 campaign last year.

It is now hard to imagine that this team was ranked as high as No. 10 on the AP Top 25 to close out 2020. For the time being, defensive coordinator David Braun has assumed interim head coaching duties in Evanston.

Duke and Northwestern have clashed on the football field in consecutive seasons and will do so again in 2023 and 2024. In each of the past two years, the Blue Devils bested NU by a touchdown (winning by near-identical scores of 31-23 and 30-23). Still, I think they will be much further apart this Saturday in Durham.

Best Bet: Duke -18.5

Duke started their current season with an upset of the Clemson Tigers. In that game, quarterback Riley Leonard completed timely passes while also establishing himself as a dual-threat (rushing for 98 yards and a score).

However, perhaps even more uplifting for the Blue Devils, their defense allowed only seven points against the Tigers. Additionally, Duke has surrendered just two total touchdowns this season.

The Blue Devils have won both of their contests in 2023 by three or more scores. At the moment, their average margin of victory is 28.0 points.

Given the luxury of staying home in Week 3, Duke is laying 18 points with a hook against Northwestern. Considering the respective programs are trending with polarity right now, I like the Blue Devils to cover this double-digit spread.

At FanDuel Sportsbook, Duke is receiving the majority of bets and handle support ATS.

— Gabriel Santiago

Colorado vs. Colorado State Prediction

According to numberFire’s projections model, Colorado has an 82.6% chance to win.

With a total of 60.5 and a spread of 23.5, that implies a final score projection of approximately 42-18.5.

Click here for more numberFire college football projections.

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