Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Texas Longhorns at Kansas State Wildcats Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/22/2014
Texas Longhorns at Kansas State Wildcats, Saturday Oct. 25, Noon ET
For a team from the Big 12 to feasibly be in contention for the first edition of the new College Football Playoff, they almost certainly need to do two things - run the table in the conference, and have no more than one loss overall. Bonus points if it's a quality loss, too. That means that there is probably only one real contender left in the conference, and it is, improbably, the Kansas State Wildcats. It will be far from easy, of course - three of their last four games are road trips to TCU, West Virginia and Baylor - but after a big win at Oklahoma at least they have a chance.
They aren't getting a lot of respect despite their position, though - they are ranked behind TCU and just one spot ahead of Baylor. To start to legitimize their position they need to absolutely dominate games just like this one. Texas is in no position to contend with elite teams - though for the first time in years I feel like they are moving in the right direction. If the Wildcats want to be elite, they have to dominate. But can they?
Texas Longhorns at Kansas State Wildcats Betting Storylines
There are a lot of knocks against the Longhorns coming into this one. One that is being overblown, though, is the location of the game. There is a stat that I have heard many times this week regarding this game that is as misleading as any - but which the media and the public are falling in love with. Texas has not won in Manhattan since 2002. That sounds very daunting - that's 12 years, after all - but only until you realize that the sample size is only three games. Kansas State won by three in 2006, a whole lot in 2010, and by 18 two years ago as 10.5-point favorites. Some trends are relevant. This is not one of them.
One thing the Longhorns do have to legitimately worry about, though, is the state of their defense. They weren't an elite defensive squad, but it was a relative bright spot for a struggling team. But then last week happened. They allowed 45 points against an Iowa State team that hasn't impressed anyone this year - they lost to North Dakota State by 20. Texas still won, but against a team with even a somewhat competent defense - the Cyclones are 108th in the country in points against - they would have been in real trouble. The Wildcats have a better defense and a much better offense than Iowa State, so this is a good reason not to be optimistic about the Longhorns - unless they can pull out the defensive game they had against UCLA again.
I have been on the Jake Waters bandwagon for about as long as there has been one. The Wildcats' quarterback is a very impressive player - a true dual-threat player. The last time Texas played a similar player was BYU's Taysom Hill in their second game of the year. Hill only had an average passing day, but he led the team with 99 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Waters has thrown for seven touchdowns without an interception in his last three games and has run for a score in each game while averaging well over five yards a carry as well. Iowa State's Sam Richardson is a dual-threat player, too, though not nearly of the caliber of Hill or Waters, and he had one of his better days of the year against the Longhorns. This is going to be a very big problem for Texas.
Texas has a dual-threat QB of their own. Tyrone Swoopes, in his first season as a starter, has played his two best games the last two times out. What he doesn't like, though, is being hit. Baylor got aggressive in attacking him early and often, and he didn't respond well. The Texas offensive line has not been great, and the K-State pass rush is solid-but-underperforming this year. If the Wildcats can dial things up here and exploit the Texas line weaknesses then Swoopes will struggle.
Texas Longhorns at Kansas State Wildcats NCAA Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Kansas State as 11-point favorites, but that has fallen to 10 points in ongoing action. Given that nearly three-quarters of all bets have been placed on the Wildcats, the line movement is a good indicator that sharp money has been on the Longhorns. The total sits at 48.5 points.
The Longhorns are just 1-6 ATS in the last seven meetings between these teams. The underdog has gone 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings. The Wildcats have covered their last four spreads this season. Texas is 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a straight up win.
Texas Longhorns at Kansas State Wildcats Predictions and Picks
I have to take the Wildcats here. I don't trust Texas defensively, Swoopes doesn't have the experience to be trusted here, the Wildcats are tough at home, and Kansas State is just plain better right now in every aspect. The line of 9.5 points is available in at least one spot right now, so I'd be patient to see if it becomes available elsewhere. Then jump on it.
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