Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Auburn Tigers at Kansas State Wildcats Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 9/17/2014
Auburn Tigers at Kansas State Wildcats, Thursday Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m. ET
You have to give Bill Snyder credit for a lot of things in his two stretches coaching at Kansas State. He has won a lot of games, and he has done it the right way. Scandal has not tainted the program, and he seems to find players off the radar and get the most out of them.
One thing you can't give him much credit for, though, is seeking out tough nonconference opponents. Quite the opposite, really. He has been in charge at Kansas State since 1989, save for a three year hiatus starting in 2006, yet, incredibly, this is just the second time he has faced a ranked nonconference opponent. You have to work very hard to duck good teams that effectively. Needless to say, then, the home crowd is going to be fired up for the chance to watch a big game against a meaningful opponent in September. Manhattan is a tough place to play at the best of times, but Auburn will face everything that the Wildcat faithful has to offer in this one.
Auburn is far more used to playing meaningful games, but they are going to appreciate a good game here anyway to get them ready for what is to come - this is the first of seven games against ranked teams in their next 10.
Auburn at Kansas State Betting Storylines
Jake Waters. It is a gross oversimplification to say that any game comes down to one player, but what the Kansas State quarterback can do in this game will do more to determine the eventual outcome than anything else. He's a freakishly-talented quarterback who is equal parts passer and runner. Simply put, when you can limit him on the ground you are going to beat the Wildcats. If he runs for more than 50 yards then Wildcats have a habit of winning. When he is running well opponents have to focus on him, and that gives the rest of the team - most notably outstanding receiver Tyler Lockett, more room to move. What differentiates Waters from so many other mobile quarterbacks is that we will likely see a whole lot of designed running plays for him. Snyder is fearless about running his quarterback in an age when so many coaches are overly protective. We know Auburn can score, but at their best Kansas State certainly doesn't struggle on that front, either.
Of course, Nick Marshall is no slouch for Auburn, either. A rare returning QB in the SEC, Marshall is a massive threat with so many ways to do damage. He is a perfect fit for the system because he handles an up-tempo offense so well. That's what makes playing against Auburn so tough - they play so fast and so creatively that things can get out of hand quickly. Kansas State over the last couple of years has played much better with the lead than they have when behind. It will be crucially important for them to either contain Marshall - not likely - or find ways to match them punch for punch.
Auburn at Kansas State Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Auburn favored by 9.5 points, but that has since fallen to 8.5 in most spots . More than three-quarters of bets have been placed on Auburn, so it is clear that sharp money has been hitting Kansas State. The total, not surprisingly, is set at a high level - it's at 65 and rising.
The Tigers know something about carrying momentum - the last 11 times they have played after covering a spread in the previous game they have again covered the spread. They have covered both spreads so far this year. Kansas State is 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games against teams with a winning record.
Auburn Tigers at Kansas State Wildcats NCAA Football Expert Predictions and Picks
I respect Auburn, but not as much as I am apparently supposed to given this line. They are a good team, but they are facing a strong offense and they will be playing in front of a very loud and hostile crowd. Snyder isn't likely to get outcoached, and both teams have had a long time to get ready for this one, so they will have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Auburn could very well win, but I am willing to bet that it won't be a blowout. Kansas State is the pick. I also lean towards the "over," but it isn't as attractive as the side.
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