The Colorado Buffaloes host the Colorado State Rams next Friday in the 2019 edition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown from Denver. CSU has not fared well as of late in this particular matchup, losing four straight against their state rival since 2015. Kickoff is set for 10:00 PM EST on August 30th at Mile High Stadium and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Taking a look at the Week 1 college football odds, Colorado opened as a 10-point favorite earlier this week. That line has moved substantially after early betting, as the Buffaloes are currently listed at -13. The total for the game is sitting at 58.5 points.

Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Colorado vs Colorado State

Things didn’t go all that well for Colorado State in 2018, as the Rams finished the season with a disappointing 3-9 record and failed to qualify for a bowl game. It was CSU’s first losing season since 2012, which had many questioning whether head coach Mike Bobo would return. However, Bobo will be back on the sidelines in Week 1 after many inside the program attributed the lost season to starting QB Colin Hill’s ACL injury before the year even began. Hill is reportedly back to full health which is certainly a terrific sign for Colorado State, as he was a standout on offense back in 2016. It will be very interesting to see how the rest of the offense responds after averaging only 22.8 points per game (107th overall) without Hill under center.

The Rams were an absolute disaster last year on the defensive side of the ball, giving up 37 points per game on an average of 452 total yards. They were especially bad against the run, allowing opponents to rack up an average of over 215 yards per game on the ground (113th overall).

Colorado game out of the gate flying to start 2018, going a perfect 5-0 to open their schedule before losing seven straight and missing out on a bowl game. Former head coach Mike MacIntyre was replaced in the offseason by Mel Tucker, who signed a lucrative multi-year contract to try and turn things around for the Buffs. He will certainly have his work cut out for him during his first season, as starting QB Steven Montez has shown flashes of brilliance but can’t seem to overcome prolonged periods of inconsistent play. Montez should continue to receive a ton of help from speedy receiver Laviska Shenault, who was a first team all-conference selection in 2018. Freshman RB Jaren Mangham really impressed both during fall camp and during a spring game against Colorado State, so it should be interesting to see how much usage he gets over the first few weeks of the season.

The Buffaloes were fairly average on defense last season, allowing opponents to score an average of 27.3 points per game (70th overall) on 380.3 total yards (52nd overall). However, they were slightly above average against the run, limiting teams to 145.6 yards per game on the ground (44th overall).

NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: OVER 58.5

Colorado State has struggled mightily on offense against the Buffaloes over their last three meetings, scoring just 23 combined points over that time span. However, the return of their starting quarterback should give a huge boost to this group, as Hill posted fairly impressive numbers during his last full season. While I think taking Colorado against the spread when the line was -10 offered decent value when this game was posted, that number has already ballooned to -13. As such, I think the OVER on 58.5 is now the better play, as both teams should be able to put some points on the board here in Week 1.

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While I think that the Rams should be a bit better overall on the defensive side of the ball this year, I’m not so sure they will be able to correct everything all at once in the first game of the regular season. CSU has one of the worst defensive teams in the nation last year, especially in terms of points allowed per game. Meanwhile, the Buffs also weren’t exactly a defensive juggernaut either, giving up almost 30 points per game. The x-factor for me in this one has to be Colin Hill, who will be eager to show that he can still play after a serious of serious injuries. Colorado should win their first Rocky Mountain Showdown in a row, but I like Colorado State to stay within two touchdowns. I’ll take the over on 58.5 in what should turn out to be a high-scoring, entertaining affair.