1* Free Pick on Baylor/TCU under 48½ -110
Two really good defenses face off Saturday in Fort Worth with No. 12 Baylor visiting TCU in Big 12 play. A lot of people are focused on the spread in this one, but I feel the real value is with the UNDER at 48.5.
The Bears have only allowed more than 21 points twice all season and one of those was a double-overtime game against Texas Tech, where they held them to 20 in regulation.
While TCU's offense has been decent in their last two, they have struggled to produce against the better defenses they have faced, managing just 17 against K-State and 24 against Iowa State.
Making matters worse, Horned Frogs starting QB, Max Duggan was banged up in the last game at OK State and figures to be playing at less than 100%. Backup Michael Collins is doubtful, so things could get real ugly if Duggan goes down.
Key here is that TCU has a defense that can keep them in it, especially at home. Horned Frogs lead the Big 12 in total defense, giving up just 324 yards/game. They are giving up just 3.8 yards/carry and holding opposing QB's to 53% and just 196 yards/game.
UNDER is 8-1 last 9 for Baylor in Weeks 10 thru 13. Bears head coach Matt Rhule also owns a 10-0 UNDER mark when facing a ball-control team that averages 32+ mins/game. UNDER is also 14-5 for TCU in their last 19 home games off a road loss. Take the UNDER!
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TCU +3 2.2% PLAY
79% of tickets are on Baylor right now, and this is a classic sell high situation we are in. Baylor also has Oklahoma on deck, and they have all the pressure in the world on them right now as an undefeated team with talks of next week’s game. This is a big in state rival game, and one that Baylor can not look past. It seems unusual that an undefeated team would be less than a field goal favorite on the road against a 4-4 team especially since Baylor is 3-0 and TCU is 0-3 vs. common opponents Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State. However the difference in yardage not that big as TCU was -11 yards per game while Baylor +53, and all three of those games were on the road for TCU, and they are home here. The fact is everyone in the media has now started to jump in on Baylor, and Matt Rhule, and they also have an extra couple of days to prepare this all seems like a no brainer Baylor should win right?
I think it’s a red flag when you see Baylor roll over a Kansas State team that beat Oklahoma, but barely get by West Virginia at home by 3 points. This is clearly a team feeling pressure. They lost their best LB a signal caller Sr. Clay Johnston a couple of games ago, and it hasn’t showed up yet, but I think it should show up here against a talented TCU team with players who can take it the distance on any play.
TCU has surprised many with their rushing attack that ranks 32nd in ypc, and that’s the biggest key in this game. Can Baylor stop a top rushing attack. I think TCU can find success much like Oklahoma State did rushing for 281 yards and 5.6 ypc. Oklahoma State actually blew a 20-10 lead in the 3quarter, and had 3 TO’s, and 1 missed 4th down, which allowed the game to show as a blow out instead of a tight game. TCU is a team that has a far better defense than Oklahoma State, and its defense is really balanced being able to stop the run and pass. The 3 other rushing attack that Baylor faced they had their star LB in the game, and all three Texas Tech, Kansas State, and Iowa State do not have the speed that TCU does.
Iowa State probably comes close in terms of their statistical profile. They are the only defense remotely close to what TCU is, but TCU is still a bit better. Iowa State held Baylor to just 23 points, and came back from a 20-0 deficit. Iowa State has never traveled to the state of Texas well so I was not surprised to see them lose the game. This game is at TCU, where TCU has been able to force turnovers. TCU has been a mess with turning the ball over, but they have been much better at home. At this point in the year I would say Baylor has been more lucky than good in the TO margin and TCU has been unlucky with a 22% recovery rate. Last but not least. TCU should dominate the time of possession as they hold a huge advantage on 3rd down. TCU 46.43% conversion rate on 3rd down, and that’s against an opponent defense allowing 38.7% on average. Compare that with Baylor’s offense ranking 40.74%, against a weaker schedule of defenses averaging 41.08%. Defensively TCU comes up stronger allowing just 33.67% conversions against a tougher schedule of offenses ranking on average 42.98%, compared with Baylor who is allowing 37.5% but against an average 37.33%. The strength of schedule discussion has been sort of lost for Baylor in their 8-0 run, but the fact is they haven’t played a defense like this on the road. The one defense they did play comparable held them to 23 points at home. I think the pressure is getting to these Baylor players, and with Oklahoma on deck, and all of the public and even some guys who claim to do this professionally are all lining up on Baylor.
10* FREE NCAAF PICK (Baylor -2.5)
I'll take my chances all day long with Baylor laying less than field goal on the road against TCU. I think we are getting some great value with the Bears due to their lackluster showing in last week's Thursday night 17-14 win over a bad West Virginia team as a 17.5-point favorite.
I think that near upset loss to the Mountaineers will only have Baylor that much more locked in for this one and lets not overlook the fact that they outgained West Virginia 453 to 219. I also think the Bears have to feel a little disrespected being No. 12 in the first college football playoff rankings.
TCU has a nice win at home over Texas, but their are just 1-3 in their last 4. They aren't winning this game outright and I wouldn't be shocked if Baylor ended up running away with this one. Bears are 8-1 ATS last 9 off a non-cover and Baylor head coach Matt Rhule is 21-9 ATS last 30 vs teams who average 425+ yards/game and 9-1 ATS as a head coach vs excellent ball control teams like TCU that average 32+ minutes of possession. Give me the Bears -2.5!
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