Free NCAA Football Pick for Thursday: Auburn vs. Kansas State
by CarbonSports - 9/15/2014
It's the quarter-pole of the college football season this week as conference play really starts to heat up across the country. However, we open up the week with a SEC vs. Big 12 game between two ranked opponents. This game should be a great one and the loser will have an uphill climb ahead of them to be in the running for one of those four coveted playoff spots at year's end.
Line: Auburn (-9) vs. Kansas State (+9)
Auburn and K-State both had last week off to prepare for this Thursday night tilt and I expect both to be sharp because of it. Auburn has picked up where they left off last year, dominating opponents with their offense (scored 45 and 59 points) as they try and get back to the national title game. Things will start to pick up for the Tigers as the weeks go on and with this being their first road game of the year it will be interesting to see how they react.
Auburn is 5-0 ATS the last five times they've played a team coming off back-to-back SU wins but they are also 1-4 ATS the last five times as road favorites of more than three points when coming off a non-conference foe. The Tigers beat up on San Jose State the last time they were on the field, but K-State is a much better team than the Spartans and they'll test Auburn for the entire 60 minutes.
The last time Kansas State was on the field they got a scare from rival Iowa State, as the Wildcats needed a 2nd half comeback to pull out a 32-28 win. That game was a tail of two halves for K-State as they didn't allow the Cyclones to score a single point in the final 30 minutes after going into the break with 28 pts against them on the scoreboard. Auburn's offense has tremendous speed and will be able to move the ball, but as long as K-State's defense plays like they did in the 2nd half vs. Iowa State and not the 1st, the Wildcats will have their opportunities to pull off the upset.
Kansas State likes to show up for big games as they are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 vs a team with a winning record and are 4-0 ATS after a bye week. Auburn presents many challenges on both sides of the ball so that extra week of preparation and film study will help the Wildcats out. The loud support they'll get from their home crowd under the prime time lights is also a huge plus when you're a home dog against a top-tier team and feeding off the crowd's energy will be a must for K-State.
Auburn has been a bettor's best friend over the last 12+ months as they are on a 17-5 ATS run overall. The Tigers are 13-3 ATS when coming off a win, 10-1 ATS in their last 11 against a winning team and 11-0 ATS after covering the number the last time out. However, they are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 after allowing 20 or less points and this is a huge step up in class for a Tigers team that still has some question marks on defense.
Auburn is going to be a very good team again this year and could defend their SEC crown, but even with Gus Malzahn's great ATS record in the past I don't think I can even consider laying this kind of chalk with them in their first road game of the year. QB Nick Marshall is still a young signal caller back there and will be shown some exotic looks from Bill Snyder's defense in this one. Auburn should win straight up, but it will be by a touchdown or less.
Take Kansas State + the points.
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