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PAC 12 Championship – Best Money Line Value Colorado vs Washington

#8 Colorado Buffaloes(10-2) @ #4 Washington Huskies(11-1)

  • Where: Levi's Stadium. Santa Clara, CA (Neutral Site)
  • When: December 2, 2016 9:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Colorado (+6) Washington (-6)
  • Moneyline: Colorado (+240) Washington (-280)
  • Over / Under: Over 58 (-110) Under 58 (-110)

Washington head coach Chris Petersen is 1 of the “good guys” who, rather than bolt for greener pastures at every opportunity, built a fan-friendly institution at Boise State before finally settling in to what appears to be a long-term gig with the Huskies.

Petersen simply wins wherever he goes, with an explosive multiple-offense playbook and a slap-leather pass rush. But the HC has never been under more pressure than right now. Washington has an awful lot riding on the upcoming PAC-12 championship clash with 10-win, #9-ranked Colorado. If they win, the Huskies could receive a College Football Playoff bid. Lose, and they might not even play on New Years.

The Buffaloes have a lot riding on it too. HC Mike MacIntyre (what is it about Colorado coaches with “Mac” in their name?) arrived at a beaten-down program in 2012 and embarked on an old-school rebuild, where a team tends to get worse before it gets better. The Buffaloes were 1-8 in the Pacific Athletic Conference last season. In 2016-17, they’re 8-1. A conference championship would cement MacIntyre as the coach who turned things around in Boulder.

The Bovada Sportsbook over/under is 58 for the scrum in Santa Clara, with the Huskies a money line favorite at (-280).

Colorado – (Buffalo) Head and a Nickel for a Kicker

When bounty-gate NFL coach Gregg Williams was accosted for telling his team “kill the head and the body will die,” he was actually talking about strategy, not concussion-hunting. The “head” is the key athlete that the success of an offense is built around, usually a star RB or QB.

Colorado’s fountain of 1st downs is talented senior QB Sefo Liufau. Liufau has completed almost 65% of his throws in ’16-17 and has added 7 rushing touchdowns. The upperclassman’s leadership actually gives the Buffs an interesting outsider’s pitch to be included in CFP discussion, should they win this weekend – in the 2 games CU has lost, Liufau was injured.

Featuring studs like CB Chidobe Awuzie, a strong Colorado ‘D has allowed the 3rd fewest yards-per-pass-attempt in the FBS. Another striking stat is that teams have completed less than 30% of 10+ yard passes against the Buffs. That kind of sideline-to-sideline defense could go a long way in slowing down the Huskies.

CU is modestly healthy, but beaten up a little at WR. The Buffaloes also had to replace an excellent kicker, Diego Gonzalez, who was 16-for-16 before tearing his Achilles and missing the remainder of the season.

Can Washington Play for the National Title?

The last time the Huskies won a PAC-12 championship (1991-92), they won the national championship too. After an 11-1 campaign in 2016 that included wins such as 44-6 over Stanford and 70-21 over Oregon, fans from the Pacific Northwest are hoping Petersen will take them to the promised land again after 25 long years.

Jake Browning has been a sophomore sensation at QB, throwing for 3162 yards and a white-hot 40 touchdowns. Junior WR John Ross has caught 16 of those TDs, and has accounted for over 1000 receiving yards.

But the heart and soul of Petersen’s fancy playbook is the ground game, in which the Huskies have been super-efficient with a prodigious 5.5 team-ypc average.

Washington is hurting at LB, but coaches and insiders are pointing to an extra day’s advantage in recovery/prep time that should help the Husky defense ward off a tough opponent.

As the Game Develops…

For a potential live betting gambit, watch Colorado’s offense on 3rd down and long early in the night. Browning is a more durable QB than Liufau, whose passing attack at CU is humble in comparison to the high-powered Huskies.

If Liafau struggles against a fierce Husky rush early in the game, shoot the moon (maybe 2 or 3 units of your stake) at Washington to win handily. If the scrappy senior engineers a nice drive or 2 early on, save your cash.

The Huskies are the Money Line Play

With all due respect to Coach Mac “The 2nd” and the worthy Buffaloes, Chris Petersen knows how to steer an upstart through an all-or-nothing battle – even outside of Husky Stadium or the Boise Blue.

With the advantage in game-planning focus, Washington will metriculate drives early on with surprise play-calls and take a halftime lead that the Buffs will not have the firepower to answer in the 2nd half.

Take the favored Huskies -280 to win S/U at Bovada Sportsbook.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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