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Colorado Buffaloes vs. Washington Huskies Pac-12 Championship Game Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – December 2, 2016

Colorado Buffaloes vs. Washington Huskies Pac-12 Championship Game Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – December 2, 2016

Colorado Buffaloes vs. Washington Huskies Preview

Where: Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, California

When: Friday, December 2, 9:00 PM ET

Line: Colorado Buffaloes (+7.5) vs. Washington Huskies (-7.5) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines

TV Broadcast: FOX

Writer’s Pick: Colorado Buffaloes (+7.5)

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Betting on the Colorado Buffaloes (+7.5)

It’s been a remarkable season for Colorado. Mike MacIntyre has led the previously struggling program to a 10-2 record (straight-up and against the spread), its first 10-win season since 2001 and its first division title in over two decades.

The key to Colorado’s success has been its outstanding defense. The Buffs are No. 13 in the country in scoring defense (18.8 points) and No. 13 in total defense (323 yards). The Buffs also have a plus-10 turnover margin, tied for 8th-best in the nation.

That defense had another stellar showing in their 27-22 win over Utah in Week 13. The Buffs were able to force four more turnovers, and limited Utah’s Troy Williams to just 13-of-40 passing for 160 yards.

Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau is hardly the most prolific passer – he has just 11 touchdown passes all year – but he brings a different dimension with his legs. He rushed for 483 yards with 7 rushing TDs this season.

Liufau’s running ability could present the Washington defense with some problems. The Huskies notably struggled containing Arizona’s dual-threat QB Brandon Dawkins, who rushed for 176 yards and 2 TDs in a 35-28 Washington win.

Defensively, Colorado has an excellent pass defense which comfortably finished No. 1 in the Pac-12 in just about every important category. The Colorado corners’ ability to hold up in coverage can allow them to do what USC did so well in their win against Washington, which was to take away the run while limiting the passing game.

Betting on the Washington Huskies (-7.5)

There are not many chinks in Washington’s armor. That’s why the Huskies went 11-1 (6-6 against the spread) this season en route to their first-ever Pac-12 North title. They are just so good and balanced everywhere on the field. You could say Washington is a bit like Colorado, only with better players.

Quarterback Jake Browning is not quite the running threat Liufau is, but he’s arguably been the best passing quarterback in college football this season. The sophomore has 40 touchdowns (3rd in the nation) against just seven interceptions, while his 181.6 passer rating is 4th. The running game isn’t spectacular, but it is still easily above average.

Meanwhile, the defense has been one of the best in the country. The Huskies finished No. 10 nationally in scoring defense (17.8 points), No. 23 in rushing defense, No. 33 in passing defense, and No. 1 in turnovers forced (30). That defense limited Washington State’s prolific offense to just 17 points and 334 yards while forcing four turnovers in a 45-17 Apple Cup win.

That defense should be able to slow down a limited Colorado offense, especially through the air. Liufau had his problems moving the ball against the Pac-12’s better pass defenses, and had his worst game by far against UCLA (143 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs). Washington’s secondary, though, has a legit claim to being more talented than UCLA’s.

While Browning will also face a tough Colorado secondary, he does have the benefit of having receivers who can just make plays with more frequency than their Colorado counterparts. John Ross and Dante Pettis have 16 and 14 touchdown catches, respectively (No. 1 and No. 2 in the conference). Meanwhile, deep threat Chico McClatcher is averaging 20.3 yards per catch, No. 9 in the entire country.

Writer’s Prediction

While Washington has the more talented team from top to bottom, Colorado willy likely stick around thanks to its defense and ability to not beat itself. Washington edges it out, 31-27, but Colorado (+7.5) covers the spread.

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Written by Joel

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