Hedge your bets with Scott: Football picks of the week

Scott Nies

The column had an absolutely historic week. The three-team parlay hit, the Denver Broncos’ over hit, and the University of Nevada more than covered the spread. 

This brings the total record for the Scott Nies gambling column to a resounding 9-9; mediocrity has never looked so good. 


The Colorado State University Rams were the lone dark spot in last week’s picks as they lost 38-17 to California State University, Fresno in their season opener. This game serves as a poignant reminder to try your best to bet with your wallet in mind and not your heart, something I often fall victim to. 

“This brings the total record for the Scott Nies gambling column to a resounding 9-9; mediocrity has never looked so good.”

For college football, we will again look at CSU’s upcoming Thursday night game, as well as a familiar foe that resides in the Pacific-12 Conference as it resumes play this week. Looking to build on last week’s momentum, there will be another three-team parlay for the Sunday slate of the National Football League in hopes to show that lightning can strike twice and the parlay picks stay hot. 

Sports betting has provided me with added levels of entertainment but only because I bet within my means. If you feel you need help, call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.

College Football

University of Wyoming Cowboys vs. Colorado State University Rams 

Spread: Wyoming -3.5 points, CSU +3.5 points
Moneyline: Wyoming -155, CSU +128
Over/Under: 52.5 points 

CSU had a rough showing in its opening 38-17 loss against the Bulldogs. Fresno State torched the Rams’ secondary for 348 total passing yards. Luckily for CSU, Wyoming quarterback Levi Williams has not had the most productive start to his season. 

Williams is throwing for an average of 169.5 yards per game over the Cowboys’ first two games of the season, so a hopefully improved CSU secondary may have a more equal competition this week. 

Wyoming’s running back Xazavian Valladay will be a force the Rams will have to reckon with as they try to contain another powerful run game this week. Valladay is coming off a 163-yard performance, during which he also bagged two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 31-7 win against the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

For the Rams’ offense, running back Marcus McElroy Jr. will be looking to improve on his 35 rushing yards with one touchdown performance last week. Importantly, wide receivers Dante Wright and Ty McCullouch are expected to return for this week’s game after missing the first game due to contact tracing precautions. Their addition will add more options to the Rams’ passing game. 

This game is also the annual Border War match-up between the two schools. Rivalry games are an important tradition within college football, and they often scream one thing: points. 


Verdict: Over 52.5. Both teams will be looking to get their offenses going early, which could be dangerous for a struggling CSU defense so far this year. Regardless of who wins, points should be flowing consistently. 

University of California, Los Angeles Bruins vs. University of Colorado, Boulder Buffaloes

Spread: UCLA -6.5 points, CU +6.5 points
Moneyline: UCLA -240, CU +190
Over/Under: 56.5 points

The Pac-12 returns this week, which means Rams fans get to rejoice in rooting against the Buffaloes. 

This is the first week of competition in the Pac-12, so expect teams to be rusty, especially newly named starting Boulder quarterback Sam Noyer. In Noyer’s three years at CU he has 41 passing attempts with 21 completions, mainly serving as a backup to former Boulder quarterbacks Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez over the last couple of years. 

However, last year, Noyer mainly played on special teams or as a safety, ultimately getting just 24 defensive snaps over the season. It will be interesting to see how he makes the transition back under center for the Buffs this year. 

The Bruins have a very different quarterback scenario, as they will be giving the starting position to Dorian Thompson-Robinson for his third starting year. Quarterback experience will definitely be a determining factor in this game, especially because the last time the two schools met, Thompson-Robinson threw for 226 yards and the Bruins won 31-14 over the Buffaloes. 

Verdict: Under 56.5. In your first game of the year, your offense is bound to be rusty, especially in the case of the Buffs and their inexperienced quarterback. Also, as a CSU fan, this will be a fun game to root for the under because Boulder may fail to score points, which all Rams like to see. 

Thursday Night Football

Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers 

Spread: Packers -5.5 points, 49ers +5.5 points
Moneyline: Packers -275, 49ers +230
Over/Under: 50.5 points

The 49ers really can’t catch a break. According to ESPN, starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain and is likely out for 4-6 weeks unless he has to get surgery, in which case he may be out for the rest of the year, and star tight end George Kittle will miss about eight weeks due to a broken foot bone. 

The Packers are coming off a six-point loss to the Minnesota Vikings after letting Dalvin Cook run all over them for 163 rushing yards, 63 receiving yards and four total touchdowns. 

The Packers’ poor performance last week is likely the reason for what is a relatively small spread against a 49ers team that lost some of their most important offensive weapons. 

Even in last week’s loss, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns. However, Rodgers may face some challenges this week as the 49ers are the sixth-best pass defense in the league, only letting up an average of 209 passing yards per game

Verdict: Packers -5.5 points. Even if the 49ers can help mitigate Rodgers’ passing prowess, I just don’t see them being able to compete offensively without Garoppolo and Kittle. 

NFL Sunday Parlay

Baltimore Ravens ML at -130 odds, Las Vegas Raiders ML at -103 odds, Arizona Cardinals -4.5 (point spread) at -110 odds. 

These three picks combine for odds of +569, which means if you bet $5 you will win $34.15. Although a lower payout than last week’s parlay, hopefully this one will continue the hot streak and help the column’s overall record to finally trend positive. 

Scott Nies can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @scott_nies98.