Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 11/25/2014
TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns, Thursday Nov. 27, 7:30 p.m. ET
It has to feel pretty helpless to be TCU right now. They are on the outside of the coveted four spots in the new College Football Playoff. They have played all of their best games, and all they have left is a decent opponent this week and a lousy one next week. They had last weekend off, so all they could do is sit back and watch for someone in front of them to stumble. It didn't happen. Now they need to win big, score as many style points as they possibly can, and hope for the best. It's harder now than it has been to believe it will happen, but the possibility still exists. It's that possibility - and the intriguing allure of Texas - that makes this Thanksgiving treat so tasty.
TCU at Texas Betting Storylines
Charlie Strong did not work very hard to win friends when he arrived at Texas. It was his way or the highway, and a lot of players chose, or had chosen for them, the latter. Things looked very bleak early on when the team opened up 2-4, but lately the team seems to have really bought into what Strong is selling. They are an entirely different team lately - one that has won three in a row and four of five. Of course, all five of their losses happen to be against their strongest opponents, and the only somewhat impressive win they have had in their current streak is West Virginia. The schedule makers definitely get the assist for their turnaround, but Strong certainly has developed some unity and cohesive effort that had been lacking around this program for far too long. The question, of course, is whether that is enough to give an otherwise outmatched team a chance here. Strong also could have some added motivation - though it will be far from the forefront of his mind. Two coaches who would benefit from a TCU loss are Dan Mullen and Urban Meyer - guys Strong coached with in Florida.
The biggest challenge in this game lies with the Texas defense. TCU has overhauled their offense this year to radical effect. They are averaging more than 540 yards per game and 45.9 points. If Texas can't contain the TCU offense then this won't be much of a game. Luckily, since they play in the Big 12, this is far from the first time that Texas has played an offense with explosive potential. They have played Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas State, West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Against that big five they have averaged just 26 points against - respectable given the competition. They allowed 28 to Baylor - one of only two times the Bears have been held to less than 45 points. In their last two games they held West Virginia to 16 and Oklahoma State to a single touchdown. The key for the Longhorns will be the pass rush. TCU QB Trevone Boykin has been excellent and has the inside track for Big 12 Player of the Year. He has a strong offensive line in front of him, but he has struggled at the times when opposing defenses have been able to overcome that and provide pressure. Kansas, of all teams, did the best job of harassing Boykin, sacking him four of the 17 times he has been taken down all year. TCU came very close to a humiliating loss in that game, and Boykin's discomfort was a big reason. Texas has a Top 10 pass rush and is particularly good at applying pressure up the middle. They need to focus relentlessly on their pass rush to give themselves a chance here.
TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with TCU favored by a touchdown on the road. That has fallen to 6.5 despite the fact that about 70 percent of all bets have been on the Horned Frogs. That's a good indication that sharp money hit Texas early. The total opened at 56.5.
These teams have met the last two years, with the road team winning and covering the spread both times - though the home team was favored both times, unlike now. TCU is 7-2 ATS in their last nine conference games and 19-7 ATS in their last 26 following a bye week. The Longhorns are 5-2 ATS in their last seven against teams with winning records and 7-2 ATS in their last nine following bye weeks.
TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns Expert NCAA Football Predictions and Picks
I really respect TCU and the season they are having, but I am going to take a risk and go with the home team here. Charlie Strong is building his team well, and this is a good way to cap a first regular season. You can be sure he has had this game circled for a long time now. The Texas defense has been solid, and their pass rush is strong. The Longhorns can keep this one close. I'll take Texas and the points, and would be tempted by the moneyline as well.
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