Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: TCU Horned Frogs at Baylor Bears Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/10/2014
TCU Horned Frogs at Baylor Bears, Saturday Oct. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET
Until 2011 it seemed like TCU coach Gary Patterson was a genius who could do no wrong. During nine seasons starting in 2003 he won at least 11 games seven times, with the pinnacle being the undefeated, Rose Bowl-winning season in 2010. He could have had his choice of any job he wanted, but he chose to stay with the Horned Frogs and shepherd them into the big time of the Big 12. The first two years in the new league really did not go like they were supposed to, though. A record of 7-6 in the first year was bad enough, but it looked brilliant next to the 4-8 mark they posted last year. Patterson was smart enough to realize things needed to change.
One offensive overhaul later, TCU is back with a vengeance. They overwhelmed outmatched opponents in their first three games and then capped their accomplishments by beating the Sooners at home last weekend, perhaps derailing the National Championship dreams of Oklahoma in the process. What they have done is impressive. But they can really launch themselves into the stratosphere with a win here over Baylor?
Of course, beating Baylor is easier said than done. Art Briles and his charges have their standard potent offense and a pretty decent defense to go with it. They are very easily 5-0, and the only thing you could really be critical of so far is that they haven't played anyone - Texas is their toughest opponent, and it has been a long while since you could properly describe the Longhorns as tough. Baylor is the more respected and talented team here, but it is possible that they also have the most to prove.
TCU at Baylor Betting Storylines
You can't look at this game without considering the mindset of the Horned Frogs. Last week was not just a huge game but also a very tough, emotional win. The team hasn't had a lot of those in the Big 12, so we don't accurately know how they are going to deal with that success. Were they able to rebound and refocus and have a strong week of practice, or were there more distractions than would be ideal heading into such a huge game? Did the Oklahoma victory take a lot out of them physically that will limit their ability to play at full strength in this one?
Baylor has played their last three games on the road, so they will happy to finally be back in the stadium in which they have won 12 straight. The fans there already know what others are really recognizing lately - a team known for their potent offense is playing pretty darned good defense these days, too. There is a potential problem on that front, though. Jamal Palmer, a defensive end who was arguably the top defensive player on a down-by-down basis for the Bears, blew his ACL against Texas and is gone for the season. TCU QB Trevone Boykin is second in the Big 12 for total yards, so it remains to be seen how effectively Baylor can keep him under wraps with less than their best on the attack.
TCU Horned Frogs at Baylor Bears NCAA Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Baylor favored by 10.5 points, but that has since dipped as low as eight points. The Bears have received a small majority of the bets in this contest, so the line movement indicates that sharp money has been on the Horned Frogs. The total opened at 67 and has climbed just slightly to 67.5.
The Bears are a stunning 22-4 ATS in their last 26 games at home. TCU, though, has gone 4-0 ATS in their last four against teams with a winning record. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams, and Baylor is 5-1 ATS in the last six games.
TCU Horned Frogs at Baylor Bears Expert College Football Predictions and Picks
This is a tough game to call. I have tremendous respect for the Bears - especially at home. I can't shake the feeling, though, that they are giving up too many points here. Patterson should have his team ready, and last year they were very competitive against Baylor when they often weren't against other teams. TCU's defense finds a way to make a play, and their offense can punch with a heavy fist. They are, at the least, able to keep this one close, and that makes them the play.
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