Kansas State came into the season with some hype, but the Big 12 is so deep this year that they easily got lost in the crowd. They emerged from that crowd on Saturday, though, with a strong, decisive win at Oklahoma — the team that was ranked sixth in the country at the time.
Whenever a team starts to get more attention from the public, bettors need to consider whether the effort is sustainable. By effectively predicting what can be expected from a team, you can have a big edge in your search for value.
Here’s a look at factors that will affect the Wildcats the rest of the way:
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Bill Snyder is a very good coach. One of the best there is. If that’s new to you, then where have you been the last 20 years or so?
Kansas State wasn’t exactly the center of the football universe when he took over. When Snyder hasn’t been at the helm, the cumulative win percentage of the school is a lousy .357. In 21 seasons Snyder has amassed a .659 winning percentage.
More impressive than all of that, though, is the job he is doing right now.
He’s just a couple of weeks away from 73, and he returned from retirement in 2009 — to coach in the stadium named after him. It would be easy for a guy in his position to mail it in, or for his players to tune him out because he seems out of touch and of a different generation. That’s not even remotely true here, though.
It’s almost as if Snyder knows that his window is closing, and this may be his last best chance to make some noise. He’s coaching as well as he ever has, and his players are fiercely loyal and totally committed to him.
Snyder’s coaching job against Bob Stoops and Oklahoma was a big part of the reason for the success, and he’s going to be a big part of the reason this team accomplishes whatever they do this year.
It would be easy for a team to get complacent after a huge win like they had in Oklahoma last week — especially with a bye week before their next game and an outmatched opponent in Kansas looming. The Wildcats are showing remarkable intensity, though.
They have practiced far more in their bye week then you might expect, and words and actions suggest that they want to crush the life out of Kansas. That killer instinct is key to successful teams, and, more than in recent years, they have it here.
You could also really feel it heading into last week. Last year they were humiliated at home by Oklahoma, losing 58-17 to come crashing out of the ranks of the undefeated after a 7-0 start. That result had a hangover effect that hurt them in their next two games as well.
This year they were heading into Norman, but they were clearly motivated for revenge, and they were able to channel that motivation in a very positive way. That makes them dangerous — as long as they can keep their emotions in check and not get burnt out.
Kansas State’s senior quarterback is a heck of a weapon.
He has a unique story. As a freshman he played wide receiver, and he had only one start as a sophomore. Last year he started all year and showed a lot to like.
This year, though, he has taken a big step forward. His completion percentage is up nearly 15 percent, and he is making fewer mistakes. Last year he was a real threat on his feet, amassing 1,141 yards and 27 touchdowns. He’s not scoring as much this year — he only has five rushing touchdowns in four games — but his yards per carry are up a full yard.
Klein is mature at 23 years old, and he got married over the summer, so there is a better chance that he’ll be able to sustain his strong play than there is with some players.
When a leader is performing at a high level and fully understands and supports a system the team is going to be dangerous.
Kansas State football schedule
The Wildcats crushed Miami at home and won at Oklahoma, so their schedule hasn’t been as easy as some.
Their next two games are relatively easy, so they should get to 6-0 without too many problems, But then things get tough thanks to the strength of the Big 12 right now.
Four of the last six opponents are currently ranked, and the two that aren’t — Texas Tech and Oklahoma State — aren’t exactly pushovers. Three of the four ranked opponents — West Virginia, TCU and Baylor — will be hosting the Wildcats as well. It’s a brutal schedule with no let up and no room for error.
The team seems confident and focused now, but things could easily get off track in a hurry if they falter.
I’d feel much better about this team if the schedule were a bit more balanced. However, that being said, they beat Oklahoma on the road, so they certainly won’t be intimidated.
The team is a solid 3-1 ATS so far. The only spread they didn’t cover was when they were favored by 27 against North Texas. It’s hard to get too worked up about that one — they were up by 22 in the fourth before shutting it down.
Most usefully from a betting perspective they won outright as 15.5-point underdogs at Oklahoma, so they paid off massively for moneyline bettors. After that win they will get more attention and respect from the betting public, so value will be tougher to find betting on them.
Still, they have been good to bettors, and for the short term at least that should continue.