The Pac-12 co-leaders Arizona and Colorado will square off on Saturday, 2:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks). This clash between 1-0 (3-1) foes looks to be a toss-up, but the Buffaloes are betting favorites, according to Adam Munsterteiger.
#CUBuffs opened as a three point favorite for their upcoming home game against Arizona. Lot of key players with their status up in the air entering game week due to injury - Shenault, Mustafa Johnson and Chris Miller for the #Buffs, and Tate and J.J. Taylor for the #Wildcats.— Adam Munsterteiger (@adamcm777) September 30, 2019
The 3-point line is equivalent to the 3-point bump to whichever team is home, meaning this CU home is otherwise 50-50. Of course, the line will be subject to a lot change this week, as there are injuries on both sides to be worried about. Laviska Shenault and Mustafa Johsnon, Colorado’s two best players, are game-time decisions. As are Khalil Tate and J.J. Taylor, Arizona’s quarterback and running back who are their everything on offense.
I would guess that if are four players miss the game — as well as Chris Miller, who is likely to be out — that would favor the Buffs. Shenault is the best player in the conference, but the Buffs proved against Arizona State that they can beat a good defense with their deep receiving corps. Johnson, meanwhile, is irreplaceable on the defensive line, but his disruption would be less of a factor if Tate and Taylor are out or limited with leg injuries.
For Arizona, missing Tate and Taylor would be akin to saying goodbye to their offense. They beat UCLA without either, but UCLA is horrendous on defense. Taylor is a quick running back that CU has struggled to contain in the past, while Tate infamously set an FBS rushing record against CU in 2017, then threw five touchdowns against them in 2018. That said, Tate is nursing a hamstring injury, so even if he suits up, his running ability might be hamstrung.