September 1, 2017
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Welcome to Football Season everyone!!
Take Colorado State +4 spread (buy the half point) against Colorado for 3% of the bankroll.
The in-state rivalry renews tonight as the Colorado State Rams and Colorado Buffaloes due battle in the 89th edition of Rocky Mountain Showdown. Colorado has dominated this series and holds a 64-22-2 all-time advantage; however, we believe this year will be different as the Colorado State Rams could have numerous advantages in this matchup.
This is a big-time revenge game for the Rams who were thoroughly handled in last year's meeting, 44-7, but this is a much different Colorado team than a season ago. A stout defense helped the Buffaloes go from worst to first in the Pac-12 South a year ago. They ranked in the top three in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (21.7 ppg), passing defense (193.6 ypg) and total defense (342.5 ypg). The Buffaloes held opponents to 24 points or less in 10 games and went 9-1 in those contests. Duplicating that level of success won't be easy this season as the team returns only three full-time starters and also lost their defensive coordinator, Jim Leavitt who left for the Oregon Ducks.
One reason Colorado has prevailed against Colorado State the past two seasons is turnovers. The Buffaloes have a knack for making the Rams commit mistakes at the worst possible times. Last season, Colorado forced four turnovers and turned them into 13 points. Two years ago, a pick-six allowed the Buffaloes to ultimately rally for an overtime victory. Colorado has finished with a plus-2 turnover margin in each of its last two victories over Colorado State. The last time that the Rams finished with fewer turnovers than the Buffaloes was in 2012. In that game, a 22-17 victory for Colorado State, Colorado finished with a minus-1 turnover margin after losing a pair of fumbles. If the Rams can win the turnover battle tonight, they should have a great chance to not only keep things competitive, but also challenge for the outright victory.
much as the Buffaloes lost on the defensive side of the ball, they have also lost one of their most important pieces of their offense in quarterback Sefo Liufau. Liufau is the programs all-time passing leader and while the Buffaloes weren't a team that predominately relied on the pass, when they did, Liufau was seasoned. He was collected under center and provided a veteran leadership on the field. Steve Montez will take over the starting job and while he has some experiences under his belt, throwing for over 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns, but he also has 5 interceptions during his time on the field. He lacks true experience and in the first game of the season, with all the pressure of now being the starting QB, we wouldn't be surprised to see him struggle in the early going.
There is no doubt that the Rams will be motivated to atone for their performance last season and none may be hungrier for redemption than Rams QB, Nick Stevens. Things quickly went downhill for the Colorado State quarterback when he faced the Buffaloes last season as he totaled 31 yards and a pair of interceptions on 6-of-20 passing and lost the starting job to Colin Hill after the game. Stevens looks like a completely different player than what Colorado experienced a year ago. He was extremely impressive in their season-opening thrashing of Oregon State. The senior threw for 334 yards and three scores on 26-of-39 passing against the Beavers and finished with a 158.86 quarterback rating. His performance in the season opener builds on the progress Stevens showed a year ago after regaining his starting job when Hill went down with a season-ending injury. Stevens ranked fifth among FBS quarterbacks with a 171.3 passer efficiency rating and he was 16th nationally with a 64.2 percent completion rate. He led the Mountain West in both categories.
The Rams also have the advantage of already playing a game this season and they looked good doing it. This should give Colorado State a distinct advantage since they will have already played a full game at 'game-speed', having already gotten rid of those first-game jitters and will also have been able to work out any kinks in both their offense and defense. The Buffaloes will not have that luxury and come into this contest completely cold, having to adjust on the fly to the speed of the game and that could certainly cost them in the early going. There is no question that this will be a much different Colorado defense from a season ago and having lost so much talent, they should be in for a dramatic drop-off this year. We also believe Colorado State has improved quite a bit on both sides of the ball and may even be a bit more balanced than Colorado this season.
This should be an entertaining matchup to watch between in-state rivals, however we believe that Colorado State is just a little bit better at this point in the season and are more motivated for this contest. They are fully capable of winning this matchup outright and we believe they will do just that. If they happen to fall short, it should be by the narrowest of margins in which case the points will likely come into play.
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