Bettors are grabbing Colorado, led by new coach Deion Sanders, to win national title

Colorado was 1-11 last season. Not counting the COVID-shortened 2020 season, the Buffaloes have posted one winning record since 2005.

And yet, BetMGM has to root against Colorado to win a national championship this season.

It shouldn't be much of a sweat for the sportsbook, but it's the latest example of how Deion Sanders has become a pied piper since becoming Colorado's coach.

Colorado doesn't have the most bets to win the championship, but enough to turn them into the biggest liability BetMGM has in the college football championship futures market. All for a team that had a single win last season.

There are a lot of lottery tickets on CU, which has 250-to-1 odds to win the national title. It wouldn't be great for BetMGM if Sanders is a miracle worker in his first season at Boulder.

Colorado getting plenty of bets

Of all the bets on who will win the College Football Playoff, 8.1% are on Colorado. That ranks sixth, behind just Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and LSU. All of the first five teams have won national titles recently or came very close. Colorado has been to just three bowl games in the last 15 seasons and didn't win any of them.

Of all the money bet in that championship futures market, 6.6% of it is on the Buffaloes. That might not sound like much, but it catches BetMGM's eye when all of those tickets carry 250-to-1 odds.

None of those Colorado tickets are going to cash (feel free to clip and save this and tweet out the freezing cold take if it happens). But it's part of a phenomenon that is unmatched.

Without even playing a game Colorado went from being irrelevant in its home state to being perhaps the biggest story of the entire college football world, thanks to a coach who has never coached above the FCS level but is a football and cultural icon.

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders reacts during his team's spring game. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado head coach Deion Sanders reacts during his team's spring game. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Deion Sanders brings attention to Colorado

Sanders went to Jackson State and made a big impression. He beat big FBS schools for big recruits. He went 27-6 there. He brought some positive attention to HBCUs. Then he brought life to a Colorado program that needed it.

Colorado's spring game was sold out. Attendance was higher for this year's spring game than the previous nine combined when tickets were free, via the Denver Gazette.

Colorado has completely changed over its roster, with its transfer portal comings and goings being more hectic than anything you'll see in the NFL. Colorado got some much-needed talent including quarterback Shedeur Sanders, his son, and receiver/cornerback Travis Hunter, the No. 1 recruit in his high-school class.

The bets are less about the roster and more about following Sanders, who likes to go by "Coach Prime" and has sold plenty of black and gold merchandise with that title on it. Sanders has embraced the celebrity part of his job perhaps more than anyone else before him. He's everywhere on social media due to aggressive branding from his son, Deion Jr. ESPN was at Colorado's spring game to broadcast it live — again, a 1-11 team last season with hardly any success the past two decades — and Sanders hammed it up with the announcers as his team practiced.

Sanders has been using the catchphrase "I Ain't Hard 2 Find." It's accurate.

It's possible Sanders is the most famous person to coach a college football team we've seen (not to be confused with those who became famous for coaching college football like Nick Saban or Bear Bryant). The charisma that made him popular as a player has extended to his coaching career too. He's a one of a kind coach. It doesn't even matter if it works for Colorado. It's not like the Buffaloes had anything to lose, and they're at least on the map again.

It would matter for BetMGM if all those transfers and the celebrity coach in the cowboy hat shock the world and win a national title this season. More realistically, those national title bets will just end up being a ticket to a pretty fun ride.