- With the Red Raiders and Horned Frogs each coming off a loss (and a bye week), expect two well-prepared teams to take the field on Thursday night. But which Big 12 squad has the better chance of covering?
Texas Tech at TCU (-8.5)
Fri. 10/11, 7:30 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Texas Tech-TCU:
1. Both Texas Tech and TCU are coming off of bye weeks, which is a pretty significant factor to consider for this game. Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been excellent when given some extra time to prepare in his tenure in Lubbock. Since taking over in 2013, the Red Raiders are 4-1 against the spread when coming off of a bye under Kingsbury. That one ATS loss came in his first year with the team, but the Red Raiders have since covered in four straight. TCU, meanwhile, was similarly impressive under head coach Gary Patterson up until 2016. Dating back to 2011, the Horned Frogs had covered in eight straight games when having an extra week to prepare. But TCU has lost outright and against the spread when coming off a bye in each of the past two seasons. The bye week is very important for Tech this year, as the team needed some extra time to get starting quarterback Alan Bowman healthy. Bowman suffered a collapsed lung in a loss to West Virginia, but he is out of the hospital and it looks like he could very well play in this one.
2. Speaking of Bowman, the freshman has led Texas Tech to yet another year of fantastic production in the passing game. The Red Raiders have featured one of the nation’s best passing offenses in the nation since Kingsbury took over, and this team will have success throwing the ball even if backup McLane Carter is forced to start. This Air Raid attack simply has too many weapons and brilliant play designs to stay down for long. And even though TCU has the nation’s 13th-best passing defense, the unit failed its two biggest tests of the season: games against Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger. The two of them combined to throw for 599 yards with four touchdowns and no picks against the Horned Frogs, providing a blueprint for what it takes to beat this defense through the air. And neither of those teams throws the ball as well as the Red Raiders.
3. The strength of TCU’s offense is in the running game, where running back Darius Anderson is capable of taking over any game he plays—but probably hasn’t been fed as much as he should. And in RB Sewo Olonilua and dual-threat quarterback Shawn Robinson, the Horned Frogs have two other players that can make big plays with their legs. The problem for TCU is that a Texas Tech defense that historically has struggled to stop anybody is suddenly competent—especially against the running game. Texas Tech currently features the 42nd-best rushing defense in the nation. The Red Raiders certainly has a chance of containing the Horned Frogs here, and it wouldn’t be too surprising if Texas Tech ended up winning this outright.
Pick: Texas Tech (+8.5)
Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)