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Colorado, Deion Sanders cost USC bettors; UNLV still perfect

Updated September 30, 2023 - 10:07 pm

The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey will track the biggest betting storylines every Saturday of the college football season.

Colorado lost its second straight game Saturday after a 3-0 start under coach Deion Sanders that captivated the world of college football.

But the Buffaloes, 22½-point home underdogs to Southern California, rallied for a cover in a 48-41 loss to the Trojans that sailed over the total of 73.

Station Casinos sportsbooks won on the game as many bettors jumped off the Buffs’ bandwagon after last week’s 42-6 blowout loss at Oregon and backed USC. Colorado also was without two key injured players in two-way star Travis Hunter and safety Shilo Sanders.

“We were clearly Colorado and under fans,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “It was pretty apparent early in the second half the under wasn’t going to get there. We were really hoping somehow Colorado could get the backdoor cover, and they did.”

The Buffaloes scored the final 20 points of the game, making it a one-score contest with 1:43 remaining on Shedeur Sanders’ 16-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Horn Jr. USC recovered the onside-kick attempt, and quarterback Caleb Williams, who threw for 403 yards and tied a career high with six TD passes, kneeled three times to close out the win.

Colorado trailed 34-7 late in the first half and 48-21 late in the third quarter before storming back. Sanders threw a 9-yard TD pass to Omarion Miller on fourth-and-5 with 11:55 left to make it 48-34.

The over cashed for the fourth time in five USC games.

“USC’s defense wasn’t nearly as good as the defense Colorado faced the week before with Oregon,” Esposito said. “Southern Cal got exposed a little bit (in last week’s 42-28 win) at Arizona State.”

Bad beat

Northwestern bettors suffered a bad beat in a 41-13 loss to Penn State as 27-point underdogs. The Wildcats were covering the entire game until Nittany Lions backup quarterback Beau Pribula threw a 30-yard TD pass to Trey Potts with 2:20 left to play after faking a kneeldown.

Penn State scored two TDs in the final 4:07. One play after Northwestern quarterback Brendan Sullivan threw an interception with 2:26 left, Pribula threw the TD pass.

“Northwestern was bad for us and kind of a bad beat for anybody that had Northwestern,” Esposito said. “Penn State could’ve run out the clock but elected to throw late. It looked like the quarterback was going to take a knee and then he throws it over the middle.”

A bettor at DraftKings, which doesn’t operate in Nevada, wagered $38,000 to win $950 on Penn State on the money line (-4,000). The bettor had to sweat a bit early on as Northwestern led 10-3 in the second quarter and the game was tied 10-10 at halftime.

Rebels unbeaten ATS

UNLV entered Saturday as one of only five Football Bowl Subdivision teams to cover every game this season. The Rebels ran their record to 4-1 straight-up and 5-0 ATS with a 44-20 rout of Hawaii as 11-point favorites at Allegiant Stadium.

The Rainbow Warriors cut their deficit to 30-20 early in the fourth quarter. But UNLV answered with back-to-back TD drives capped by Jayden Maiava’s 3-yard pass to Jacob De Jesus and Donavyn Lester’s 22-yard run.

Esposito said the long-suffering Rebels have become a popular play.

“They’re clearly getting more play, and being a double-digit favorite didn’t really scare off bettors. Though it was more a product of being a home game here for them and our guests being able to go. And Hawaii is just not good this year,” he said. “Who would’ve thought a couple years ago that UNLV would be a double-digit favorite? But it’s fun. They are playing well.

“If it’s the Knights, Raiders, Aces or UNLV, it just gets magnified.”

Baylor bails out backers

Baylor, which closed as a 7½-point underdog to Central Florida, erased a 35-7 second-half deficit en route to a 36-35 win. The Bears outscored the Knights 26-0 in the fourth quarter and held on when Colton Boomer missed a 59-yard field goal as time expired.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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