Colorado football win total odds: How the betting market views Deion Sanders’ roster overhaul

right arrow

The first several months of Deion Sanders’ coaching tenure at Colorado have gone largely as expected. The Buffaloes have been in the national spotlight consistently, Sanders has provided plenty of attention-grabbing quotes, the recruiting has picked up and there have been tons of transfers. So many transfers.

The hype has also spilled over into the betting world. With 250-to-1 odds and a roster that has been almost completely overhauled, Colorado is the sixth-most bet-on team in college football to win the title at BetMGM:

Even for those expecting just a trip to a bowl game in Year 1 may be in for a rude awakening. Colorado’s win total is listed at 3.5 on BetMGM, with the over at +140 and the under at -175.

Colorado went 1-11 last year and its most recent bowl game appearance was in 2016, so even reaching 6-6 does seem like a stretch — but under four wins? Neighboring Kansas went from 2-10 to 6-7 last year under Lance Leipold, but that was Leipold’s second season in charge. Kansas was 0-9 the year before Leipold took over.

Kansas’ football history is bleaker than Colorado’s and Sanders is a bigger name more capable of a quick roster rebuild than Leipold, but the Buffaloes still appear to lack the depth of a competitive Pac-12 roster.

National college football writer Ari Wasserman chimed in to give us a quick overview on Colorado’s chances.

Expert view

Ari Wasserman: The story of the offseason has been how violently Deion Sanders has overhauled his roster. More than 60 guys from Colorado’s team last year entered the transfer portal and left. The biggest question about that, of course, is how a team could possibly get better with that much turnover in one offseason. When you consider that Colorado was 1-11 and one of the worst teams in the Power 5 a year ago, you may think it’s impossible to get worse.

But this all needs to be put in proper context.

The amount of people who have bet on Colorado winning the national title is staggering, especially given the team is looking at a season win total prop of 3.5 wins. There is so much up in the air, too. How good is quarterback Shedeur Sanders? Is Travis Hunter going to be a two-way star? Can Colorado – which has non-conference games against TCU and Nebraska — be good enough to win four games? It’s going to take some blind trust in Sanders because there aren’t four no-doubt-about-it wins on that schedule.

Where will the wins come from?

The Pac-12 schedule has nine conference games and on paper this could be a strong year for the conference, especially at quarterback. USC brings back Heisman winner Caleb Williams. Oregon has Bo Nix back after he threw for 29 touchdowns last season. Utah, which has won the last two Pac-12 titles, still has Cam Rising. Washington returns Michael Penix Jr. after he threw for 4,641 yards last season. Oregon State added Clemson transfer D.J. Uiagalelei. Of that group, Colorado only misses Washington.

Non-conference play isn’t any easier. The Deion Sanders era will start at TCU, last season’s national runner-up. Next is the home opener against another rebuilding program in rival Nebraska, which has first-year coach Matt Rhule.

The last non-conference game is perhaps the most winnable on the schedule, a Week 3 game against Colorado State. The in-state foes last played in 2019 and the Rams last beat the Buffaloes in 2014.

Even if Colorado is much-improved, it wouldn’t be surprising to be 1-2 after that non-conference slate. That would leave the Buffaloes needing to go 3-6 in Pac-12 play to hit the over. Colorado has won three or more conference games just four times in its 12 Pac-12 seasons.

Colorado’s 2023 schedule

Team Date 2022 record 2022 result

Sept. 2


L 13-38

Sept. 9


Sept. 16


Sept. 23


L 10-49

Sept. 30


L 17-55

Oct. 7


L 34-42

Oct. 13


Oct. 28


L 17-45

Nov. 4


L 9-42

Nov. 11


L 20-43

Nov. 17


Nov. 25


L 21-63

Not playing Washington is a bonus, but the Buffaloes also miss Cal, the only team Colorado beat last season. Realistically, Colorado’s path to four wins and the over likely involves beating four of the following five teams:

Arizona is further along in its rebuild after winning five games in the second year of Jedd Fisch’s tenure. Perhaps Arizona State will be a winnable road game after the Sun Devils went 3-9 last year; they also have a new head coach in Kenny Dillingham.

The short version is the win total isn’t just based on last year’s record and the massive roster turnover. The schedule is tough for a rebuilding team.

Roster turnover leads to big questions

The story of the offseason was the roster turnover. After all, Sanders declared “I’m bringing my luggage” upon his arrival and encouraged players to jump into the portal. The mass exodus took off when the transfer portal opened after spring football started. There are just 12 returning scholarship players on the roster, while has 47 incoming transfers listed as commits to Colorado. None of the returning scholarship players are quarterbacks, wide receivers, defensive linemen or cornerbacks.

Returning players from a 1-11 team likely aren’t going to be the building blocks of a contender, but relying on the transfer portal to build out an entire position group is not easy.

Sanders brought Travis Hunter, the top recruit in the country in 2022, and Sanders’ son, QB Shedeur Sanders, along with a number of transfers from Jackson State. He also landed five-star cornerback Cormani McClain in the 2023 class. The rest of the portal class includes players coming from the likes of Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, Florida and Michigan — but many of those players weren’t getting a lot of snaps at those schools.

What do our simulations say?

The Athletic’s Austin Mock runs thousands of simulated seasons that produce a projected win total. His model puts Colorado at 2.2 wins, but that also comes with a heavy asterisk.

“Due to the historic turnover of Colorado’s roster, the current roster projection has more guesswork than most teams at this point in the year,” Mock said. “Due to that, the accuracy of their projection will have lower confidence.”

That is to say, expectations are justifiably low in Vegas, but there are too many unknowns to say that with conviction.

(Photo of Deion Sanders: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top