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Colorado 5-Point Road Favorites at Rival Colorado State; Buffaloes 3-6 ATS This Season

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Basketball

Dec 13, 2019 · 9:34 AM PST

Moby Arena at Colorado State
No. 24 Colorado clashes with rival Colorado State Friday night. Photo by LUSportsFan (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • No. 24 Colorado and Colorado State clash on Friday night (Dec. 13, 8:00 PM ET)
  • The Buffaloes are 5-point road favorites and the total is set at a 139
  • Colorado’s defense has struggled lately, but this is a get right spot versus an inefficient Rams team

It’s a rocky mountain showdown Friday Night (Dec. 13, 8:00 PM ET) when No. 24 Colorado squares off with Colorado State. The 7-2 Buffaloes are fresh off their first two losses of the season, but that didn’t stop sportsbooks from making them 5-point road favorites.

No. 24 Colorado vs Colorado State Odds

Team Spread Total
Colorado Buffaloes -5.0 (-120) Over 139.0 (-115)
Colorado State Rams +5.0 (+100) Under 139.0 (-105)

Odds taken Dec. 12

Colorado’s hot start hasn’t correlated with success against the spread. They’ve covered just three times in nine outings, and are 3-5 ATS as a favorite this season.

The Rams haven’t fared much better ATS, failing to cover in seven of 12 contests, and posting a 1-4 ATS record as underdogs.

Where’s the Defense?

The calling card of the Buffaloes this season has been their defense. They rank 27th in KenPom’s efficiency metrics and have allowed just 60.6 points per game. They were brilliant at the defensive end over their first seven games, but the last two outings have been a different story. Colorado has surrendered a combined 151 points in back-to-back losses, which is by far their worst two-game stretch of the season.

On Tuesday night, they gave up a season-high 79 points to Northern Iowa, and allowed the Panthers to knock down 54% of their three-point attempts. Three days earlier, top-three 2020 NCAA Tournament odds contender Kansas blew the Buffaloes out by 14, shooting 53% from the floor in the process.

Prior to those two losses, Colorado had held each of its opponents to a shooting percentage of 41% or less. Northern Iowa and Kansas are two of the better offenses the Buffaloes have faced all season. Next up is a Rams team that is extremely inconsistent.

An Offensive Mirage

On paper, the Colorado State offense looks like a slightly above-average unit. They shoot 46.7% and average 71.3 points per game. However, if you dig deeper, you’ll discover this team’s offensive stats have been severely inflated due to a soft schedule. Nine of CSU’ first 12 opponents have ranked outside the top-105 in KenPom’s overall efficiency metrics and have had an average defensive efficiency rating of 196.

Not surprisingly, the Rams are 7-2 versus those nine opponents, but when the competition stiffens, CSU’s offense disappears. They’re 0-3 versus teams ranked inside KenPom’s top-105, and have been outscored by an average of 21.3 points per game. They failed to exceed 61 points in any one of those contests and the prospect of facing a sound Colorado defense does not look promising.

Roll with the Buffaloes

Despite the Buffaloes’ recent struggles, this is a get-right spot for their program. Their defense should be able to neutralize the Rams attack, and they should have no problem scoring versus a Colorado State team that ranks 189th in defensive efficiency.

This game actually opened Colorado -4.5 and, within the time it took to write this article, the line moved half a point in the Buffaloes’ favor. KenPom projects Colorado as a 6-point favorite, and with how heavy the juice is shaded towards them, it won’t be long before the line gets there.

Pick: Colorado -5 (-120)

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