The NCAA Division 1 college football game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday was a betting sensation, according to sportsbooks.
The 36-14 victory for the Buffaloes at their Folsom Stadium home in Boulder (pictured) saw more wagers on the match than the entire NFL opening weekend combined.
The University of Boulder’s Buffaloes were one of the worst teams in U.S. college football in the 2022/23 season, notching just one win on the board for the whole year. However, in the off-season, they hired double NCAA championship-winning coach and NFL legend Deion Sanders from Mississippi’s Jackson State Tigers.
Last week, Sanders oversaw the Buff’s upset victory over the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, which intrigued bettors going into the NFL week 1 and NCAA week two. Sanders and his team, including his son, Shedeur Sanders, at QB, then delivered the goods again this past weekend.
Colorado came out on top in a 36-14 rout of long-term rivals the Cornhuskers, while U.S. sportsbooks were amazed at the interest from bettors.
“Every time I have glanced at the college football ticker since Saturday, I have seen a line of Colorado bets,” said Joey Feazel, lead college football trader for Caesars Sportsbook, speaking to ESPN.
“The action has been crazy.”
Underdog Victory from Exciting Coach
Last week, Colorado was a 20.5-point underdog against TCU, but managed to win the game straight up.
According to BetMGM, 87% of the tickets and 87% of the money bet on the spread was on Colorado. For the moneyline, 69% of the tickets and 85% of the handle were also in Colorado.
“They are being backed as if they were one of the favorites to win it all,” one insider at Fanatics Sportsbook said.
The new coach’s winning credentials were obvious before, and now Sanders has demonstrably supercharged the team, resulting in two opening victories.
Sanders is not only an NFL legend, with 14 seasons and two Super Bowl titles to his name, but also quite handy at baseball, too. The Florida native played nine seasons in the MLB and reached a World Series final with the Atlanta Braves in 1992. That makes him the only person in history to have played in both a Super Bowl and a World Series game.
It seems that his winning desire is nowhere near sated yet either. The coach told local newspaper The Coloradoan that he literally slept in his office at the Folsom Stadium the night before the game.
“I wanted to wake up and see the stadium,” he said. “I wanted to wake up and feel it.”
The Buffaloes start to the season has not only led to betting interest in the team. It has also seen dramatic line movement in bets on players like Travis Hunter and quarterback Shedeur Sanders for the Heisman Trophy.
Hunter’s odds moved from 80-1 to 16-1, and Sanders’ odds shifted from 100-1 to 22-1 at Caesars Sportsbook.
The popularity of college football should not be underestimated going into the rest of the season, even if it has been a controversial topic this year.
So far in 2023, the NCAA, which runs college football’s biggest leagues, has suspended dozens of players for betting violations. That has included Iowa State Cyclones starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers, who is facing criminal charges for his alleged betting activities, including betting on his own team from sportsbook accounts not in his name.
It also reported that last week that almost all Division 1 schools have seen at least some players harassed by bettors over the last year.
However, that unwelcome news clearly hasn’t put off bettors from getting involved in the NCAA season. As well as the incredible popularity the Colorado Buffaloes demonstrated over the weekend, last week also saw Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) launch retail sportsbooks in Kentucky – and his ceremonial first bet was on college ball.
Beshear placed a three-way over/under futures parlay on the NCAA season for his historic state-first wager. The Governor chose “over” on wins for local University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, and “under” on wins for Duke University across the season, on which he put down $20.
Meanwhile, for the apparently now highly-rated Buffaloes and Sanders, it’s onto playing their local rivals Colorado State next week. Then they’ll face their toughest test so far in week 4 with a visit from the Pac-12’s Oregon Ducks and their Heisman Trophy favorites, Bo Nix and Caleb Williams.