The Smoke-and-Mirrors Road Show makes its debut in the heart of Texas, and we expect it to get thoroughly exposed, as we break down Colorado vs. TCU odds and predictions for the first full Saturday of the 2023 college football season.
TCU boss Sonny Dykes is that good. Early betting action has moved the line up a point, and the total has been bumped from 59 in recent weeks. We see the Horned Frogs keeping their scoreboard operator very busy.
Kickoff is set for high noon to a national FOX audience. New Colorado coach Deion Sanders is all about entertainment and flamboyance, but he has a lot to learn about life at the very top of the college football food chain.
And his charges are a long way from being ready for Prime Time.
Colorado vs. TCU Betting Lines: Point Spread, Moneyline, Total
TCU is priced as a favorite of , while the Buffs can be had for on the spread and on the moneyline.
Here are betting lines from the top sports betting apps.
Colorado Buffaloes (1-11, 2-10 Against the Spread in ’22)
The Buffs own one winning season in 16 of their past 17 non-shortened campaigns, and 2022 didn’t even represent rock bottom; they were 1-11 in 2012 as well.
And Neon Deion Coach Prime Time is going to turn all that malaise around in just a few months?
No, says one sharp pro bettor whom we’ll call Al, who compared the past carnival-like offseason of rah-rah hype and behavior in Boulder to what Brent Venables concocted and staged last summer before his first season in Norman.
Lotsa noise. Lotsa bluster.
“[Venables] said, ‘We’re gonna be great! We’re gonna be great!’ Well, guess what? You weren’t great,” Al says.
Fury that signified nothing as Oklahoma finished 6-7, underwater for the first time since 1998.
We are not on the Prime Time Choo-Choo, either, not with that long string of losing that is Colorado’s horrible foundation.
Sanders gutted the house and poached dozens of players from the portal. However, removing that rotted foundation and those moldy walls, and building a tight frame, requires time.
“And guess what?” Al said, “there just aren’t that many great players in the portal.”
Another corollary we’ll apply is the Sooners’ trip to TCU last year. Somehow, Oklahoma was a 5-point favorite. But it got blasted, 55-24.
“You can’t turn a program around that quickly, and I am leaning your way,” another sharp bettor, whom we’ll call Benny, says. “But I’m torn. Colorado definitely is down this year, but 20.5 points is a ton of points.
“That said, I do think it can be something like 45-20.”
The single Colorado unit that Phil Steele, in his comprehensive college football preview annual, rates higher than TCU is at tailback, and our favorite might be Kentucky transfer Kavosiey Smoke. Find a better collegiate running back’s name.
Alton McCaskill is in from Houston, and true freshman speedster Dylan Edwards wowed onlookers in spring practice. Anthony Hankerson and walk-on Charlie Offerdahl are the incumbents of a unit whose production is vital.
Shedeur Sanders is the coach’s son who will play quarterback. Ahh, nepotism. He’ll discover quickly that this is no longer Jackson State, as TCU’s defensive backs are ranked 13th in the country by Steele, their linebackers 22nd.
Lockdown cornerback Josh Newton will be complemented by Avery Helm from Florida, and stout returning safeties Mark Perry and Bud Clark (whom we’ll tap to pick off a pass here) will make it a very long day for Lil’ Prime Time.
No. 17 TCU Horned Frogs (13-2, 10-4-1 ATS in ’22)
In 2021, quarterback Chandler Morris recorded a scintillating 10.2 yards-per-throw ratio, a double-digit standard that is elite and makes NFL scouts drool.
Alas, it was achieved in only four games. But it behooves us to gaze back to November 2021, as the sub-.500 Horned Frogs were 7-point underdogs when they played host to No. 14 one-loss Baylor.
Morris was magical, going 29-for-41 for 461 yards, with two touchdown passes and no interceptions in the 30-28 triumph. He also dashed 11 times for 70 yards and a TD. He even caught a pass for a 7-yard gain.
The 6-foot, 195-pound turf general has been hailed for his smarts and release.
“A proven winner with great intangibles,” they wrote about him at his Dallas high school.
He stayed at Oklahoma for a year before zipping back home, to TCU. One year ago, he had a superb fall camp, beating out Max Duggan and Sam Jackson for the Horned Frogs’ starting quarterback position.
Then Morris injured a knee in the opener and never got the job back. Duggan took over and the 14-point-favorite Frogs won at Colorado, 38-13, the only meeting between these two teams.
The rest is history, as Duggan guided TCU to the national-title game, where Georgia treated it like a junior varsity reserve squad. Duggan gave USC QB Caleb Williams a run for the Heisman Trophy.
Duggan spent this fall camp with the LA Chargers, Jackson transferred to Cal, and Morris gets his chance.
The Frogs lost several experienced figures, but they’re deeper than ever with skill players who second-year coach Sonny Dykes snatched from LSU, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Texas, and two (tailback Trey Sanders, receiver Jojo Earle) from Alabama.
Colorado vs. TCU Prediction
It’s difficult to gauge Colorado. Experts say Sanders didn’t exactly nab rafts of blue-ribbon starters in the portal.
A sportsbook director pondered to us what might happen to the Buffaloes should TCU “throttle” them, a four-quarter beat-down that is not unreasonable to fathom.
What then? How does Sanders overcome such deflation, to keep it from affecting their next few games, slip-sliding into a disaster that is now so familiar in Boulder?
Dykes is 25-18 in his 14-year career as a home favorite, including 4-1 at TCU. He designs wide-open offenses, so even without some key returnees Steele projects the Frogs’ output to slip only from 38.8 points a game to 35.3.
That shines as the Buffs have trouble even sniffing the end zone.
Our Pick: Horned Frogs ()