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Las Vegas Bowl Betting Preview: Utah vs. Colorado State

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Colorado State is 18-8 ATS over the last two seasons, including 9-1 ATS versus non-conference opponents and 7-0 ATS following a loss.  The Rams are also the better team from the line of scrimmage.

Colorado State Offense vs. Utah Defense:

Colorado State is averaging 35.9 points per game on 498 total yards at 7.2 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 6.1 yards per play to a mediocre offensive squad.  Overall, the Rams are 0.1 yards per rush play, 1.7 yards per pass play and 1.1 yards per play better than average offensively, which is enough production to move the ball against a decent Utah defense.

The Utes are allowing 26.2 points per game on 5.4 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.8 yards per play against a mediocre offensive squad. Overall, Utah is is 0.4 yards per rush attempt, 0.1 yards per pass attempt and 0.4 yards per play better than average defensively, which leaves the Utes’ secondary exposed against an outstanding Colorado State aerial attack.

In fact, Colorado State possesses a significant 1.6 yards per pass play advantage over the Utes’ secondary so I expect a pass-heavy game plan to be employed by the Rams’ coaching staff.  Overall, Colorado State owns a 0.7 yards per play advantage offensively over the Utes’ stop unit.

Colorado State Defense vs. Utah Offense:

Utah takes the field with an anemic offense that is 0.2 yards per rush attempt, 0.3 yards per pass attempt and 0.4 yards per play worse than average in 2014.  And, when the Utes travel to foreign soil, they are averaging just 4.6 yards per play. Despite being 0.1 yards per play worse than average defensively (5.6 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.5 yards per play), the Rams still possess a 0.3 yards per play advantage defensively from the line of scrimmage.

The betting market has consistently undervalued the Rams as they are a profitable 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 games, 9-1-1 ATS in their last eleven games off a loss and 9-1-1 ATS in their last eleven non-conference affairs.  Colorado State also seems excited to be playing in the Las Vegas Bowl.  “It’s been a special season,” linebacker Aaron Davis said.  “This is definitely a high point of all of our careers.  It will be good to get out there and show another Pac-12 team how good the Colorado State Rams are.

“This team can establish and prove that it’s the best team along with the 1997 team,” said interim coach Dave Baldwin. “That’s big for them.  We talked about the importance of being in the history books.”  While coach Jim McElwain bolted for greener pastures in Florida, interim coach Dave Baldwin has expressed his interest in retaining the head coaching job on a permanent basis.  That desire is important in that Baldwin will be motivated to put the best product on the field to satisfy the school administration.

The players also understand that there performance will be viewed critically by someone who could be the team’s head coach next season.  In other words, Baldwin is auditioning for the head coaching position, while the players will be auditioning for starting roles next season under a Baldwin regime.  “This brings us back into something we’re familiar with,” Baldwin said.  “If there wasn’t this game, this opponent and this chance to be 11-2 all the other peripheral things could affect us.  I think this will draw us back.”  Take Colorado State in the Las Vegas Bowl and invest with confidence.