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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Deion Sanders’ Colorado Is the ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ for Sportsbooks

  • “It's still flying in on Colorado. It's going to be by far our biggest decision this weekend,” Caesars Sportsbook college football lead Joey Feazel told FOS.
  • Colorado leads all national championship futures at FanDuel with 15% of the tickets, 74% of which came in after kickoff last Saturday.
Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders on the sidelines during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado closed as a 21-point road underdog to national championship runner-up TCU in its season opener on Saturday. The Buffaloes beat the Horned Frogs in a 45-42 thriller — and sportsbooks paid dearly for it.

Caesars Sportsbook college football lead Joey Feazel tells Front Office Sports that “the public definitely won,” with the popularity of the Colorado moneyline. Feazel says that a TCU game-winning drive would have been a perfect result for the book.

“Bettors were taking as high as +800 [Colorado moneyline] prematch and continued to bet them during in-game wagering,” DraftKings director of race and sports operations Johnny Avello tells FOS. “You ask if we won or lost on that particular game. How about hammered?”

BetMGM — where the Buffaloes opened at +900 and closed at +650 — reported 93% of the tickets and 68% of the handle on Colorado’s moneyline.

After Sanders’ new team far exceeded expectations, the books adjusted Colorado’s power ranking, affecting the betting line for its home opener this Saturday against Nebraska, as well as futures.

The Buffaloes opened as approximately eight-point underdogs to the Cornhuskers and are now around a three-point favorite — and the public will be all over them once again: At DraftKings, 92% of the bets and 91% of the handle are on the Buffs spread.

FanDuel tells Front Office Sports that Colorado vs. Nebraska has the second-highest handle of any football game this week behind only Thursday’s NFL opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions.

Dave Mason from offshore sportsbook BetOnline says there is more money on the Colorado spread than for any NFL team this week, and that he expects it to be the most-bet game in the history of the company.

Deion Sanders’ Colorado debut vs. TCU drew 7.62 million viewers as Fox’s most-watched Week 1 Big Noon Saturday game ever.

Colorado Spurs Fox Big Noon Saturday Week 1 Viewership Record

It marked a 17% increase over last year’s Big Noon Saturday average.
September 7, 2023

“It’s still flying in on Colorado,” says Feazel. “It’s going to be by far our biggest decision this weekend. And what’s crazy to me is I haven’t seen much talk about [No. 11] Texas-[No. 3] Alabama, that’s the game of the week.”

“I am willing to accept the fact that I was wrong [betting on TCU] in Week 1, but I don’t think the overcorrection in the market is right,” says NESN betting analyst Sam Panayotovich, who says he is on Nebraska. “If they beat me again, then I’ll have my conversation with God.”

The futures markets are quickly representing another enormous liability for the books. At Caesars, Colorado national championship, WR/DB Travis Hunter for Heisman, and QB Shedeur Sanders for Heisman are the three most popular.

“It was our worst-case scenario before Saturday, and they are continually our worst-case scenario after Saturday,” Feazel says.

FanDuel says that Colorado leads all national championship futures with 15% of the tickets, 74% of which came in after kickoff last Saturday.

Meanwhile, at FanDuel, Hunter leads the Heisman futures with 30% of bets and 31% of handle, while Sanders has garnered 23% of bets and 22% of handle; 98% and 95% of the wagers, respectively, came in after Saturday’s kickoff, significantly moving those lines.

“There’s going to be a lot of people that love them, there’ll be a lot of people that hate them, but that’s great when it comes to betting because people will have an opinion and they will put their money where their mouth is,” says Panayotovich.

Colorado going all the way or winning the Pac-12 still sits around +10000 and +2200, respectively, but the growing public popularity is making the sportsbooks sweat a bit.

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