Oklahoma State vs. TCU: Should You Bet the Cowboys to Cover as Road Favorites on Saturday?

Oklahoma State vs. TCU: Should You Bet the Cowboys to Cover as Road Favorites on Saturday? article feature image
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Brian Bahr/Getty Images. Pictured: Oklahoma State players (from left to right): Linebacker Philip Redwine-Bryant, wide receiver Dillon Stoner, linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga and offensive lineman Marcus Keyes.

  • Two teams with impressive rushing attacks will meet in Fort Worth as TCU hosts Oklahoma State.
  • Chuba Hubbard is questionable for the Cowboys, while the Horned Frogs’ freshmen trio of backs is led by Zach Evans, who recorded his first 100-yard game last week.
  • Mike Iannello explains why he’s backing Fort Worth native Tylan Wallace and the Cowboys as road underdogs.

Oklahoma State vs. TCU Odds

Oklahoma State Odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
TCU Odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -130 / +107 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 51.5 [BET NOW]
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2
Odds updated Saturday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

Oklahoma State’s Big 12 Championship hopes are hanging by a thread.

The Cowboys no longer control their own destiny, needing to win out against TCU and Baylor and then hope West Virginia knocks off Iowa State to create a three-way tie atop the standings.

Even then, Oklahoma State needs some help from other teams like Kansas State to benefit from tiebreaker procedures.

What I’m saying is… there’s a chance.

After dropping three of its first four games, TCU has bounced back to win three of its next four, including a 36-point victory over Kansas last week.

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Oklahoma State Cowboys

If Oklahoma State is going to win this game and have any chance of reaching the Big 12 championship, Spencer Sanders needs to play better under center.

After exploding for 400 yards and four touchdowns against Texas, the quarterback did not look great against Kansas State, Oklahoma (left with injury) or Texas Tech last week.

Combined, Sanders has thrown for 427 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in his last three games for the Cowboys.

When you have the Big 12’s leading receiver in Tylan Wallace, who is able to go up and make difficult catches as well as anybody, there is no excuse for your quarterback not to be more efficient.

Despite the struggles from Sanders, the Cowboys were able to ride their ground game to a rollercoaster win over Texas Tech even though they were missing Chuba Hubbard and backup tailback LD Brown. Dezmon Jackson carried the load against the Red Raiders, rushing for 235 yards on 36 carries and three touchdowns.

Both Hubbard and Brown returned to practice this week, but are questionable, However,  Oklahoma State should feel comfortable with any of its backs.

The story for most of the season in Stillwell has been the success of its defense. After allowing just 17.8 points per game through the first six games, the Cowboys have allowed 41 and 44 points over the last two weeks, respectively.

Giving up 41 points and 492 yards against Oklahoma is understandable and can be excused, but allowing 44 points and 639 yards to Texas Tech is cause for concern.

Despite its recent struggles, Oklahoma State might have the best secondary in the Big 12. Cornerbacks Rodarius Williams and Jarrick Bernard-Converse are elite shutdown defenders. Safety Tre Sterling is another stud and was all over the field last week, totaling nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and an interception returned for a touchdown.

The Cowboys’ defense ranks eighth in the country in passing success rate and should have no problem shutting down a TCU passing attack that has been nonexistent this season.

TCU Horned Frogs

Last week was sort of a “good news-bad news” situation for TCU quarterback Max Duggan. He completed just three passes the entire game, but all went for touchdowns. It’s hard to call a 27.3 completion percentage an efficient game, but at least he made the most of his connections.

The Horned Frogs are averaging just 119.5 passing yards over their last four games. They rank 115th in the country in passing Success Rate this year.

TCU has run the ball for 197.3 yards per game, the most in the Big 12. Despite Duggan’s struggles with his arm, he has been terrific using his legs. He leads the team with 93 carries, 409 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

Side note: Did you know that a group of frogs is called an “army” of frogs? I bet you didn’t. Anyway, the Horned Frogs rely on an army of running backs, with four different layers averaging more than 20 yards per game, in addition to Duggan.

Their three leading backs are freshman, including Zach Evans. TCU’s first-ever, five-star recruit notched his first 100-yard game last week against Kansas.

It should come as no surprise that Gary Patterson has another stout defense on his hands. The Horned Frogs rank inside the top 15 in both rushing and passing success rates.

Defensively, TCU is powered by senior linebacker Garret Wallow, who leads the team with 66 tackles at more than eight per game. Wallow, the heart of the defense, has 271 tackles in his four-year career. He will be the key to stopping the Cowboys’ run game and forcing Sanders to make plays.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

The TCU defense is very good. Patterson, a former linebacker and defensive coordinator, has had a strong defense during his TCU tenure.

However, the Horned Frogs have benefitted from strong performances against the bottom teams in the Big 12. Against Kansas State, Baylor, Texas Tech and Kansas, the Frogs allowed an average of just 286.5 yards per game.

In contrast, the defense allowed 425.3 yards per game on average versus Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.

Oklahoma State has been inconsistent this year, but it has been able to win even when it isn’t at its best. Oklahoma State knows it needs to win out to have any chance at the Big 12 title game.

Wallace, a Fort Worth native, will be the best player on the field and as good as the TCU defense is, it has no answer for Wallace.

The Horned Frogs are too one-dimensional offensively and the Cowboys’ defensive line has been fantastic all year, ranking 21st in Stuff Rate, 28th in Line Yards and seventh in Power Success.

I like Oklahoma State minus-1.5 and would bet them up to -4 in this spot.

Pick: Oklahoma State -1.5 (up to -4).

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