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Week 12 NCAA Over / Under Odds for Washington State at Colorado

Who: #20 Washington State Cougars (8-2, 7-0 PAC 12) at #12 Colorado Buffaloes (8-2, 6-1 PAC 12)
Where: Folsom Field, Boulder CO
When: Saturday, November 19th at 3:30 PM EST
Over / Under: 60 at Bovada Sportsbook

Can a team lose to an FCS opponent and still play on New Year’s Day?

Mike Leach’s Cougars began 2016-17 with a miserable 45-42 loss to Eastern Washington, then found themselves on the unlucky side of another 3-point result in a 31-28 loss to Boise State. Since then, WSU has rattled off 8 wins in a row, including the last 7 in-conference. That has resurrected hope in Pullman for a conference title even while it feeds the narrative of the PAC 12 being down this season.

The controversial Leach’s pass-happy system requires a tall, smart QB with a big arm, and the head coach appears to have found a gem in junior Luke Falk, who has completed almost 75% of his throws in 2016-17.

The Buffaloes, meanwhile, have kept their offense close to the vest with an emphasis on running. Junior RB Phillip Lindsay rushed for 119 yards in last Saturday’s 49-24 win over AZU, and at 937 on the season makes a low-risk prop bet to reach over 1000 yards against the Cougars.

Colorado is favored with a -175 money line, while most bookies have the O/U at an even 60.

Colorado – Power Over Finesse?

All things being equal, power tends to overcome finesse. A role-player, Colorado QB Sefo Liufau has passed for only 10 touchdowns on the season. But a powerful rushing offense has controlled the ball and worn defenses down. That’s a good thing, because the defense can struggle against dynamic, talented opponents. Michigan scored 45 points and rushed for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns in its 45-28 win over the Buffs on September 17th.

But when a team challenges the Buffaloes, it is likely someone who can match their power on the line of scrimmage. Like USC, who won a tough 21-17 contest over the visiting Boulder Boys on October 8th, or Stanford, who fought and lost a defensive battle against CU in a game in which only 15 points were scored.

Wash State – Weak Conference Or Manna In The Air?

Washington State has rebounded from a dreadful start to stand 1st in the PAC 12 North, and their remaining 2 games against Colorado and Utah will have major implications in the West. As usual with Mike Leach teams, the defense is good enough in fits and starts, but mostly the aerial offense simply blows past unprepared opponents – the Cougars have beaten Oregon 51-33, California 56-21, and scored an impressive 4-touchdown win over Stanford.

Injuries could slow the air bombardment. Senior WR River Cracraft tore an ACL against Cal, and is lost for the season. Senior Gabe Marks had 12 catches against the Bears, but he can’t do it alone. Time will tell if the WSU attack can continue to produce against November contenders as it has over a merciful PAC 12 schedule.

Junior PK Erik Powell is also having a glum season for the Cougars, going 5-for-10 from the field and missing short FG attempts in each of the program’s season-opening losses.

Watch The Flats, Jimmy

With the more physical team playing at home, Colorado feels like a value bet to win even against a dangerous opponent like WSU.

However, the Buffaloes have had problems generating a healthy pass rush from their D-line, which has produced less than a sack per game this season. Stud senior LB Jimmie Gilbert leads the team with 6 1/2 sacks, but against Leach’s playbook a blitzing LB leaves room for easy completions in the flat.

On a cold day in Boulder, this game could be reduced to a cat-and-mouse between Leach and the lunch-bucket CU defense. But if Lindsay has a big day running the ball, expect the visiting Cougars to be worn down in the 2nd half with few opportunities for big plays.

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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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