Coming off a 29-17 loss to West Virginia in Week 7, the TCU Horned Frogs (3-4, 1-3) are listed Wednesday as +3.5 underdogs on the road against the Kansas State Wildcats (4-3, 1-3). Oddsmakers have the over/under set at 58.5 points.
TCU is 1-5-1 against the spread (ATS) this season, one of the ten worst marks in the nation and second worst in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs lost their only game this season as a road underdog and did not cover the point spread (Week 6 against Oklahoma). Meanwhile, Kansas State is 3-3-1 against the spread.
This week, the market has gradually favored the Wildcats, driving the spread up from -2.5 as of Monday, as well as the under, which is down from 60 on Sunday. However, since the number is focused around a “key betting figure” in football (-3), movement in the spread leading to kickoff will be a key strategy for those interested in betting it.
A “key betting figure” refers to pivotal numbers that sports bettors should be aware of. Since games are frequently decided by a field goal, three points is pivotal on the spread.
Turnovers have been the bane of many TCU games this season, highlighted no greater than in their most recent loss to West Virginia. Giveaways on two of three drives to open the second half for the Horned Frogs led to 9 Mountaineer points and pushed the game from 20-17 to 29-17. Kansas State has not forced many turnovers this season (0.8).
Defensive line play was the other half of the equation in the WVU loss. Kansas State is rushing the ball at a respectable 4.4 yards per carry this season (51st) behind Deuce Vaughn, one of the better running backs in the conference. The 5.9 yards per carry allowed by TCU has been critical in their losses this season (they’re allowing 270.3 rush yards per game in losses).
Offensively, the game plan has been clear: run the dang football. TCU is the 16th-heaviest run team over their last three games, dialing up a run on 63.4% of their offensive snaps. The Wildcats stack up well against the run, allowing 3.7 yards per rush so far this season (36th).
Barring a major shakeup from Chad Glasgow this week, TCU may struggle putting the brakes on Kansas State’s rushing attack. When a team runs the ball effectively, it’s often difficult to keep games close.
The Wildcats also run with the second-slowest tempo in the nation at just 59.3 plays per game; comparatively, TCU runs 66.7 plays per game. Combined the rushing-focused attacks expected from both teams and the pace of play, betting under the point total is advisable in this game.
Given the slide the Horned Frogs have been on both offensively and defensively and their underwhelming performance against the spread this season, it’s hard to take TCU (+3.5).
The pick: Kansas State -3, Under 58.5 points.
Note: All betting figures are fluid and were taken as of Wednesday, October 27 from DraftKings Sportsbook.
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