TCU Horned Frogs at Iowa State Cyclones Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
TCU Horned Frogs at Iowa State Cyclones, Saturday Oct. 28, 3:30 p.m. ET
Coming into the season it seemed like the Big 12 was a two-team race, with the squads from the state of Oklahoma barreling towards a massive clash for all the marbles. As it turns out, though, the Big 12 is a much deeper and more interesting race. TCU is unbeaten and rolling, and it is them and not Oklahoma State that is working towards a date with Oklahoma with a berth in the conference title game on the line. But before they get there they have to get past Iowa State, a team that knows all about beating Oklahoma this year. The Cyclones start a brutal three-game stretch here, and they are another squad that could find their way into the Championship Game. This game here really matters - far more than anyone would ever have guessed before the season started.
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TCU at Iowa State Betting Storylines
TCU is fast. Crazy fast. And they have used that speed to be very effective on both sides of the ball. They are Top 10 nationally both in points scored and points allowed. The last couple of years the defense that was once the trademark of TCU teams has been absent the last few years, but it is back now. TCU ranks first in the Big 12 in scoring defense, and that is very balanced - they are first in the conference both against the run and the pass. They have two shutouts and have held four opponents to a touchdown or less. SMU scored 36 points and Oklahoma State 31, but both games were shootouts that TCU ultimately won handily. This is a defensively-capable team. Iowa State has a respectable offense - they rank 32nd nationally in points per game. It's far from a balanced offense, though, since they rank just 110th. And while the team was able to score 38 against an Oklahoma team that totally confounded Ohio State earlier in the season, they were really frustrated by Texas. Iowa State rushed 15 times for just 10 total yards in that game and threw three interceptions as well. Texas showed the blueprint for frustrating the Cyclones' offense, and you can be sure that TCU has studied it closely.
To have a good chance here Iowa State is going to have to keep it close in the second half. The Cyclones are a team that adjusts very well at halftime. In their four conference games they have scored 60 points in the second half and allowed just 17. If they can contain TCU enough in the first half then they could do enough to steal another huge win in this game. They won't be intimidated - they won at Oklahoma, so hosting TCU is nothing in comparison. But this is a little different in one sense - Iowa State is ranked for this game, which hasn't been the case for more than a decade. The Cyclones are outmatched in terms of talent and speed, so they will have to employ mental toughness, sound planning, the home-field advantage, and a whole lot of luck to come out on top.
TCU at Iowa State Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with TCU favored by 6 points, and that has since climbed to 6.5 . More than three-quarters of bets have been on the Horned Frogs, so unless sharp action is not at all on TCU it is quite likely we will see the line hit the key number of seven or higher by game time. The total opened at 52 and has fallen to 49 in early action.
TCU is 5-0 ATS in their last five road games but just 2-10 ATS in their last 12 played on grass. They are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games played in October. Iowa State has covered their last four in October and is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 at home and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 conference games.
TCU at Iowa State Predictions and Picks
I love the story of the Cyclones this year, and coach Matt Campbell is an easy guy to root for. Ultimately, though, logic has to overcome sentiment. TCU is talented on both sides of the ball, they have passed two big tests already this year, and they match up well in this one. Kenny Hill is in a groove, and the TCU defense will cause real issues for the one-dimensional Iowa State offense. Before I looked at this line I set my own target line - the highest number I would find acceptable - at 13. Since the line currently sets at half of that TCU represents a good deal of value here. The Horned Frogs are the pick.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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