Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#371 Colorado 69 vs.
#372 Washington State -13
Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 7:00pm EDT
Martin Stadium, Pullman
Written by Chris Altruda

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#371 University of Colorado Boulder
#372 Washington State University
3-3
3-3
3-3
1-5
3-2-1
3-3
29
42
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This article covers a past game!

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Colorado at Washington State

When and Where: Saturday, Oct. 19, Martin Stadium, Pullman, Wash., 7 p.m. EDT.

Still trying to figure out its defensive adjustments, Washington State attempts to avoid a fourth consecutive loss Saturday night when it hosts Colorado in a cross-division game of Pac-12 teams.

Buffs seeking bounce-back after thrashing by Ducks

Nothing went right for Colorado (3-3, 1-2 Pac-12 South) last time out as it was manhandled 45-3 by then-No. 13 Oregon on the road Oct. 11. Steven Montez threw four interceptions, the Buffaloes committed 14 penalties for 114 yards, and were outgained 527-299 while giving up the final 38 points of the contest.

The game swung on Montez's red zone interception -- also his first in 115 pass attempts -- late in the first half that thwarted a Buffaloes drive down 17-3. Oregon promptly marched 80 yards on six plays to extend its lead before halftime, and Montez was picked off on Colorado's first three possessions of the second half.

"I think we avoid what happened last time by coming in and working every single day in practice," Montez said at media availability Tuesday. "Coming in hard, with the right mentality, and putting in the time and work. I think that stuff definitely combats losing control and spiraling out of control, like we did last year.

"From what we had at practice yesterday and today, our dudes are focused and locked in. Everyone's really excited to play Washington State and to get another opportunity to play football. So, we're excited and hopefully we'll make the most out of it."

Montez has thrown for 1,594 yards and 10 TDs, though he tripled his interception total in the loss. In addition to trying to regroup from this loss, he also struggled in last year's 31-7 home loss to Washington State as he finished 20 of 35 for 199 yards without a touchdown pass.

Shenault, who is second on the team with 21 catches and third with 296 yards, declared himself "pretty much at 100 percent" according to the Denver Post, and Colorado desperately needs him to make an impact on this game to have a chance to win. A 1,000-yard receiver last season, Shenault had 10 catches for 102 yards and an 18-yard run in the loss to the Cougars.

The Buffaloes have won just seven of their last 33 conference road games sine the start of the 2012 season and have scored just three points in their last two trips to the Palouse.

Fallout at Wazzou following Claeys' resignation continues

Washington State (3-3, 0-3 North) has been a mess defensively, giving up staggering totals of 143 points and 1,715 yards during its current three-game losing streak that started with its meltdown during a 67-63 loss to UCLA in its most recent home game Sept. 21.

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys resigned after the Cougars' 38-13 loss at Utah the following week, but things did not get much better last Saturday in a 38-34 defeat to then-No. 19 Arizona State on the road. Washington State was breached for 532 yards, and four of the five Sun Devils touchdowns came on plays of 33 or more yards.

During the run-up to this game, word has filtered out regarding the breakdown in the relationship of Claeys and interim co-defensive coordinator Darcel McBath that led to the former resigning.

Cougars coach Mike Leach has not offered many details on Claeys' departure, saying last week his decision to resign "caught us all by surprise." Washington State shuffled a good portion of its lineup on that side of the ball, but to little effect.

With the defense still transitioning, it puts pressure on Anthony Gordon to keep producing points. He did his part versus Arizona State, completing 44 of 64 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns. Gordon leads the nation with 2,612 passing yards and is tied for second with 25 TD tosses.

The Cougars are the only FBS team averaging over 400 passing yards (452.7) and are fifth in the country in total offense (538.7). They are also 115th in total defense, giving up 459 yards per contest.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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If this game were being played in Boulder, the pick would be different, but the feeling is this game will serve as catharsis for the Cougars. That does not necessarily mean the defense is going to suddenly rise up and pitch a shutout, but the expectation is Gordon will just keep piling up yards and touchdown passes as Washington State gets its act together for at least these 60 minutes.

Prediction: Washington State -12.5 (-110)

Full-Game Total Pick

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The Buffaloes do not have a good defense, and the Cougars do not have a good defense. Washington State has a prolific offense, and Colorado has enough of an offense with Montez and Shenault that it should be able to hang for most of this game. This has the feel of a "first to 50" wins, and the Buffaloes should be able to crack 30 to clear this number comfortably.

This line has been driven down 2.5 points to 68.5 ahead of kickoff, increasing confidence in taking the over.

Prediction: OVER 68.5 points (-110)

Full-Game Prop Bet

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Though the Cougars are struggling in general, they have not struggled offensively at home. Wazzou has scored at least 58 points in all three home games this season and has averaged 40.7 points in its last 17 contests in Pullman. Colorado's defense has been ordinary at best, and the expected fireworks between Montez and Gordon should make this an easy number for the Cougars to hit.

Prediction: Washington State OVER 40.5 points (-110)

Half-Time Side Pick

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This is more of a pick expecting Colorado to fall off the pace trying to keep up with Washington State's offense in addition to its less-than-stellar track record in its last two visits to Pullman. The flat touchdown spread does not allow for an aggressive play, but the Cougars being at home helps.

Prediction: Washington State -7 (-110)

Half-Time Total Bet

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The low-side hook on a flat TD total is too good to pass up, especially considering Washington State scored 35 points in its lone conference home game and averaged 21.7 points in the three Pac-12 tilts. The Buffs did ring up 44 points against the Arizona schools before being held in check by Oregon, but the Ducks defense is looking more legit with each passing week.

Prediction: OVER 34.5 points (-110)
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Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is based in Chicago. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiner, he worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Follow Chris daily right here at W&W and on Twitter at @AlTruda73. You won’t be disappointed.