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Colorado vs. Oregon: Are Bettors Backing a Sanders Stunner?

Last Updated: September 22, 2023

This article originally appeared at FanDuel Research

It’s a Prime showdown in Eugene! Lock in for college football Week 4 with a big Oregon vs. Colorado prediction, plus the latest odds and insights from FanDuel.

College football’s Week 4 is where conference action floods the market.

Of this season’s most pleasant surprises, the Pac-12 — in its final campaign as currently constructed — has eight schools ranked in the AP Top 25 right now. For this upcoming Saturday, Deion Sanders and the No. 19 Colorado Buffaloes will visit the No. 10 Oregon Ducks. Expect fireworks on offense in Eugene.

Other noteworthy top-25 clashes around FBS this week include the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes making the short trip to South Bend where the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish await. For a bit of SEC action, the No. 13 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 15 Ole Miss Rebels will meet in Tuscaloosa.

As a nightcap, I am intrigued to see how Caleb Williams and the No. 5 USC Trojans perform in their first road bid of the season; they head to Tempe this weekend to face the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Let’s dive into Saturday’s slate with a big Colorado vs. Oregon prediction and scope out the most valuable college football picks on the traditional betting markets.

Colorado vs. Oregon Prediction & Odds: College Football Week 4

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

  • Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Spread: ORE -21 (-106)
  • Moneyline: COLO +740/ORE -1250
  • Total: 70.5

With a roller coaster 3-0 record, Coach Prime and Colorado have already produced plenty of noteworthy action this season. Still, they have yet to face a football team like the one currently fielded at the University of Oregon. The Ducks — who also enter conference play at 3-0 — are led by a dynamic quarterback of their own: Bo Nix. Will quarterback Shedeur Sanders be able to keep the Buffaloes up to speed without two-way star Travis Hunter?

Colorado was pushed to the limit by the Colorado State Rams last weekend. The Buffs emerged victorious after an incredible offensive drive to force overtime. In double OT, Colorado stifled the Rams for the 43-35 win, but the Buffs’ biggest loss came in the first half when CSU safety Henry Blackburn laid an illegal hit on Hunter. By halftime, it was announced that Hunter was en route to the hospital. With a lacerated liver, Hunter is expected to miss multiple weeks.

If you hadn’t noticed by now, Oregon’s offense has come out of the gate at full speed. Through three contests in 2023, the Fighting Ducks have produced a staggering 58.0 points per game — 2nd of 133 FBS institutions. Nix has done well to get four of his receivers over 100 yards already with Troy Franklin leading the way. Franklin has 292 yards and 3 scores so far. Also, tailback tandem Bucky Irving and Jordan James have been fierce, combining for eight touchdowns thus far.

Colorado vs. Oregon prediction graphic depicting the Ducks having a high chance to win based on amathematical projections model
Colorado vs. Oregon prediction based on numberFire’s projections model gives the Ducks a 98.6% chance to win at home against Colorado on Saturday.

Oregon vs. Colorado Best Bet: Oregon -21

I see Colorado’s first Pac-12 contest as a rude awakening. Through no fault of their own, the Buffaloes are tasked with starting conference play by taking on UO and USC — arguably the conference’s top two football schools — in consecutive weeks. After their slugfest with CSU, I think Colorado sputters without Hunter against Oregon.

The Ducks are 3-0 against the spread (ATS) so far this season. According to the CFB game projections on numberFire, Oregon is estimated to win by a score of 53.10-17.07 (-36.03), providing a confident cover. Considering this game is in Eugene rather than Boulder, I trust Oregon to pour on the points in their third home contest of the season.

@boardroom_ A prime example of Coach Prime’s ability to seize a prime opportunity. #deionsanders #gobuffs #collegefootball #coachprime ♬ original sound – Boardroom

Duke Blue Devils at UConn Huskies

  • Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
  • Spread: DUKE -21.5 (-106)
  • Moneyline: DUKE -2500/CONN +1100
  • Total: 45.5

When the Duke Blue Devils and Connecticut Huskies get together, most sports fans likely first think of college basketball. Regardless, these two universities have made impressive improvements on the gridiron in the current era. At No. 18, Duke currently has their highest AP Top-25 ranking since 1994. On the other hand, UConn is continuing to grow under head coach Jim Mora.

The Blue Devils are thriving on offense right now with dual-threat quarterback Riley Leonard. They have churned out 36.0 points per game so far in 2023 while Leonard is averaging 8.3 yards per carry. Along with running back Jordan Waters, the two form a dynamic duo in Duke’s backfield. As a team, the Dukies are rushing the ball for 242.7 yards each contest. Simply, head coach Mike Elko has the program in a strong position.

UConn football has been a cellar-dweller for the majority of the current millennium. Keep in mind that the Huskies have competed in Division I-A since only 2000. To commence the action in 2023, Connecticut showed a resilient effort back in Week 1 before ultimately losing to the North Carolina State Wolfpack, 24-14. Since then, the Huskies have scored at least two touchdowns in every game but still find themselves winless in three tries this year.

UConn vs. Duke Best Bet: Duke -21.5

Looking at ATS records, Duke is 2-1 while UConn is at 1-2. This meeting will be in East Hartford rather than Durham, so the Huskies will have that advantage but not much else. I mentioned the Blue Devils’ potent ground game in 2023, but their defense has been equally impressive this season, allowing just 9.3 points per contest. Duke held the Clemson Tigers (then ranked ninth) to only seven points in the opening week, so I am confident they can stifle Connecticut.

In 2023, this week will be Duke’s first road test. Additionally, this will be their final “cushy” game for a while. Next week, the Blue Devils host No. 9 Notre Dame before meeting with conference foe NC State. I think Duke flexes their muscles against UConn before tougher tests ahead.

In Week 4, numberFire’s college football projections have Duke winning by a score of 36.79-14.81. That estimation presents a cover of 21.89 points, and Duke has won by an average margin of 26.7 points this year. The Blue Devils will be the best side Connecticut has faced thus far in 2023, so give me Duke laying points.

USC Trojans at Arizona State Sun Devils

  • Time: 10:30 p.m. EST
  • TV: FOX
  • Spread: USC -35.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: USC -10000/ASU +2400
  • Total: 61.5

Commencing the 2023 campaign, many had the Stanford Cardinal as the Pac-12’s worst football team. Well, I am confident in claiming that title should actually apply to Arizona State instead. As it is now, FanDuel Sportsbook has Stanford and ASU tied for the longest odds to win the conference (+50000).

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Of course, incoming Southern Cal is the cream of Pac-12 football. At the moment, the Trojans have propelled to fifth in the AP Top 25. This is USC’s highest ranking since prior to 2017 when Sam Darnold was under center. I can buy it, though. With reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams at the helm these days, the Trojans have scored 59.3 points per game in 2023. That is currently the highest clip in all of FBS, and don’t expect it to stop this weekend in the desert.

Through three games, Williams has outputted a QBR of 91.9 (fourth-best in the nation) behind a dozen touchdown passes with no turnovers. If you’re wondering what his chances are of winning back-to-back Heismans, Williams currently leads the Heisman odds market at FanDuel Sportsbook with +350 odds.

For the Sun Devils, there have not been many positives on the gridiron in 2023. At 1-2 straight up, they are 0-3 ATS. When glancing at the power rankings on numberFire, Arizona State is way down at 125th (out of 133) with a -31.88 nERD. Who is ASU’s best player this season? At this point, wide receiver Elijhah Badger appears to be their most explosive offensive threat.

Arizona State vs. USC Best Bet: USC -35.5 (-105)

I’m not sure if the Trojans can go all the way this season (USC currently shows a +1400 price in the CFP National Championship odds), but that train certainly will not halt Saturday night in Tempe. According to ESPN’s 2023 College Football Power index, Southern Cal has a 23.2 rating (5th) compared to Arizona State’s -11.5 (109th). In regards to ASU, that is the very worst score of any Power 5 institution right now.

Coming into 2023, Pro Football Focus had USC’s offensive line fifth in the nation at that position group. Three games in, that big offensive line has allowed Williams and the Trojan offense to seemingly operate at will. Sure, a -35.5 spread is rather daunting, but SC has aleady covered 37.5 against the Nevada Wolf Pack this year. In their most recent showing, the Trojans shellacked Stanford 56-10.

Facing a Sun Devils side that was just shutout against the Fresno State Bulldogs last week, I am — once again — all over Coach Riley’s Trojans. When I remember that ASU football currently has a metaphorical dark cloud looming overhead, my confidence is amplified.

— Gabriel Santiago

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