Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Kansas State Wildcats at TCU Horned Frogs Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 11/5/2014
Kansas State Wildcats at TCU Horned Frogs, Saturday Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. ET
I'm not a fan of the new college football playoff system, but if it keeps delivering compelling matchups like this one - and Auburn vs. Ole Miss last week - then maybe I could start warming up to it. No one other than the staunchest supporters of these two teams could ever have expected it, but this is essentially a playoff elimination game.
Both teams have just one loss, are well positioned to win their conference if they keep winning, and are close enough to the prestigious top four of the playoff inner circle that they could conceivably make it. For the loser of this game, though, all dreams take a serious hit. The playoffs would be all but impossible, and a conference title would become dramatically tougher. Sure, the winner doesn't guarantee themselves anything other than another shot at glory next time out, but that doesn't mean that the stakes here aren't as high as they possibly can be in early November. Who would have guessed?
Kansas State at TCU Betting Storylines
If you don't like scoring - and lots of it - then this likely isn't going to be the game for you. TCU, which radically overhauled their offense this year, sits second in the entire country with 48 points per game - less than a field goal behind Baylor. They are also third in the country in yards gained, and they display impressive balance between rushing and passing. Kansas State is just middle of the pack nationally in terms of yardage, but their 38.2 points per game has them 16th in the country in scoring. These two teams have averaged more than 86 combined points per game, and they have done so against reasonably respectable schedules. That is skewed somewhat by some outlier games - the 82 points TCU scored against Texas Tech comes to mind, and both teams have beaten up on weaklings like they should have - but there is no doubt that these are strong offenses that are going to be the story of this game.
When you think of TCU, we have long been used to thinking of a stellar defense. It takes some adjustment, then, to think that it is the offense that is carrying this team and compensating for a defense that has not been particularly sound. They haven't been terrible, but they are just barely above average nationally and could be vulnerable to an offense as balanced as the one the Wildcats have. They are still able to make the big play, though they have a nation's best 10-game streak of games with at least one interception and one sack. TCU, meanwhile, will be facing a defense that is statistically sound. The Wildcats are Top 10 against the run and well within the Top 20 in yards allowed. For a school that isn't exactly known for defense, and which plays in the Big 12, to be at those kind of levels is more than impressive. The excellence against the run for Kansas State opens up an area of concern here - TCU's B.J. Catalon, who leads the conference with 12 touchdowns, is questionable after suffering a concussion against West Virginia.
Ultimately, though, you can ignore the stats and just look at the matchup that has me salivating - the battle of the quarterbacks. Jake Waters came into this season with high expectations, and he largely hasn't disappointed. He's dangerous, multi-dimensional, and can be trusted to avoid mistakes in key situations. Trevone Boykin didn't have quite the expectations, but he has climbed straight out of obscurity and into the Heisman race - albeit far behind Marcus Mariota. Rarely has a player fit a change in offensive system better than Boykin has - he is tailor made for what the team is doing, and he just seems to be getting better as time passes. Kansas State allowed just 14 points against a pretty good Oklahoma State team last week, but this is by far the biggest test they have faced this year.
Kansas State Wildcats at TCU Horned Frogs NCAA Football Odds and Betting Trends
TCU opened as 5.5-point favorites in this one, and that has climbed to six points so far. Action is evenly split between the two teams, so a significant move is unlikely and would be an indicator of heavy sharp action. The total opened at 61.5 and has fallen since - it is widely available at 58 and can be found at 57.5. With two offenses like this, a fall of four points is noteworthy.
TCU coach Gary Patterson is facing his alma mater - a school he hasn't beaten in two tries. The Horned Frogs have covered six straight spreads at home. Kansas State has gone "over" the total in their last four games on the road against teams with winning home records.
Kansas State Wildcats at TCU Horned Frogs College Football Predictions and Picks
I have liked Kansas State a lot since the start of the year. I respect their coaching, and I like Waters and admire the skill players they have. They are tough, too - as their biggest wins this year have shown. They are in a tough spot here, though. This TCU offense is firing on all cylinders and is going to be able to exploit the Wildcats through the air. Giving up less than a touchdown leaves me with no choice but to back the Horned Frogs in this one.
Doc's Sports is offering a great deal for new clients - you can get $60 worth of free college football picks with no obligation. No credit card is needed, and you will never have to deal with a salesman. See what all the hype is about with $60 worth of free college football picks by clicking here . Also, get three handicappers for the price of one when you sign up for a full-season football package! Click Here for details.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Get all of this Weeks College Football Picks
Get all of this Weeks guaranteed Expert College Football Picks