After Upsetting Toledo, Can Colorado State Stay Close At Iowa?

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A strange thing happened this past Saturday: The Colorado State football team won on the road as a 14.5-point underdog. This was after consecutive home losses to open the season against South Dakota State (currently favored at odds of +380 to win the FCS national championship at WynnBET) and Vanderbilt, leading SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt to rip on the Rams’ head coach rather mercilessly.

Heading into Saturday’s 22-6 win, CSU was ranked among the very worst FBS teams in the country. Heading out of Saturday’s victory, the Rams might look capable — if you squint hard enough — of beating a 23-point spread at No. 5 Iowa. But sports bettors shouldn’t race to wagering windows or their phones just yet, says Jay Kornegay, executive vice president of sportsbook operations for the SuperBook. Having graduated from CSU, Kornegay the fan is a total Rams homer. But, with his oddsmaking hat on, he advises bettors to be wary of his Rams’ second-game success.

“I watched the replay of that game this morning,” Kornegay told CO Bets Tuesday. “I’m thrilled that they got that win, but they’ve got a lot of work to do. There is no doubt Toledo was flat as a pancake in that game, but the Rams made the plays that they needed.”

The final score was a bit deceptive in that the Rams failed to score an offensive touchdown, with their sole trip across the goal line coming on a punt return. Their kicking and running games weren’t bad, and the defense “obviously played a lot better than they did the first two weeks,” said Kornegay. 

Meanwhile, tight end Trey McBride was downright fantastic, tallying 109 receiving yards. Problem was, the team had only 110 yards total in the air — with CSU’s wide receivers accounting for just one catch for minus-3 yards. This explains why Kornegay categorizes the Rams’ offense “very concerning.”

Don’t expect Iowa to come out flat against Rams

As for Iowa, after a pair of quality wins over ranked opponents in Indiana and Iowa State, Kornegay said the Hawkeyes “looked kind of flat” in a 30-7 home win over Kent State last weekend. Note that they still won that game by 23 points — SuperBook’s exact spread for Saturday’s CSU-Iowa game as of Tuesday — and that Kornegay doesn’t expect the matchup against the Rams to be “as much of flat spot” for the Hawkeyes.

So proceed with caution — or don’t proceed at all — if you’re under the impression that this is a good opportunity to bet on the Rams to stay closer than expected to the Big Ten behemoth, which looks primed for a blowout win before opening conference play Oct. 1 at Maryland. If you’re leaning toward that scenario and want action on more than the spread, you might consider betting the over at 44.5.

Interestingly, both CSU and the University of Colorado closed with season-win totals of 4.5 at the SuperBook — with CSU closing as a slight favorite to exceed that total and the Buffaloes narrowly favored to go under. That feels a bit backward: Like CSU, the Buffaloes are 1-2 coming off an embarrassing 30-0 road loss to Minnesota, but their path to five wins in the unpredictable Pac-12 looks a little clearer than that of the Rams.

“Obviously, you have opportunities with New Mexico, maybe Air Force,” said Kornegay of CSU’s Mountain West slate. “Maybe at Hawaii, but that’s no easy task — so you hope for an upset here and there. It’s going to be a steep hill to climb to get to five wins.”

Mike Seely has written about horse racing for The Daily Racing Form and America’s Best Racing, and has contributed pieces on a multitude of topics to The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among other publications. He can be reached at mseely@bettercollective.com.

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