Saturday College Football Updated Odds, Picks, Betting Preview for Texas State vs. Baylor (Sept. 17)
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Qualan Jones (Baylor)
Texas State vs. Baylor Odds
Motivation is the main question mark for Baylor entering its matchup with Texas State on Saturday.
The Bears suffered their first loss of the season at BYU in a game that was highlighted by missed opportunities. There were a combined three go-ahead kicks missed inside of 43 yards in the closing minutes.
Texas State lost its season opener to Nevada, 38-14, after allowing 24 points to the Wolf Pack in the third quarter. The Bobcats rebounded nicely with a blowout victory over Florida International last week. They will now test the Baylor secondary behind a pass-heavy offense.
The Bobcats have a large step up in class against an angry Bears program that is looking to bounce back from a double-overtime loss to BYU.
Turnovers have been a major issue for Texas State through its first two games. The Bobcats lost the turnover battle 4-0 in their Week 1 loss to Nevada. Last week, the offense lost a fumble and tossed another interception, though it came against an inferior opponent in Florida International.
The Bobcats' offense has made its identity known after just two games: it's going to throw the football.
Texas State has put its faith in the arm of quarterback Layne Hatcher, who transferred in this season from fellow Sun Belt program Arkansas State.
Hatcher has been mediocre through two games, throwing five touchdowns to three interceptions. He’s averaging over 40 pass attempts per game and managing 6.3 yards on such attempts.
The reliance on the passing attack comes due to a non-existent rushing threat. Calvin Hill has been solid — averaging 5.5 yards on his 37 attempts this season — but the rest of the Bobcats are averaging less than a yard per rush on their 29 combined attempts.
The Texas State defense has been solid in its two matchups this season, allowing just three yards per carry and 5.2 yards per pass attempt. The offense was the main culprit, with its four turnovers that led Nevada to 38 points in Week 1.
But those numbers have come against the 109th-ranked offense in Nevada and 122nd in Florida International. It will likely prove to be a rude awakening against a Big 12 offensive line.
The Bears had offensive question marks entering this season after losing all their contributors at the running back and receiver positions. The offense brought back 42% of its returning production, ranking 115th in the nation, according to TARP.
That wasn’t an issue in Week 1 against Albany, when the offense tallied 573 yards in a 69-10 victory. But the Bears' offense stalled on the road against a quality BYU defense. The group averaged just 3.6 yards per play, totaling less than 300 yards of offense.
Baylor continued to force runs against a BYU defense that stacked the box all night. The Bears ran the ball 52 times (65% rush rate) for only 2.9 yards per carry.
The coaching staff continued to preach that quarterback Blake Shapen was going to be pushing the ball downfield this season. But he averaged just 4.9 yards per pass attempt — while tallying 137 yards — in the matchup.
Luckily for Baylor, it will have an opportunity to regroup with a matchup against a lackluster Texas State defense.
Baylor’s defense stepped up as expected and kept it competitive against the Cougars. The group was able to contain future NFL quarterback Jaren Hall and completely shut down the BYU rushing attack, holding it to 2.5 yards per carry.
Texas State vs. Baylor Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Texas State and Baylor match up statistically:
Texas State Offense vs. Baylor Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Baylor Offense vs. Texas State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||47||88|
|Seconds per Play||25.2 (48)||25.9 (59)|
|Rush Rate||45.6% (96)||62.8% (20)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Texas State vs. Baylor Betting Pick
Baylor was surely in for a long week of practice after its loss to BYU. The group looked undisciplined, tallying up 14 penalties totaling 117 yards, and the offense was worrisome.
Luckily for the Bears, they have one final opportunity to fine tune their offense before beginning Big 12 play.
I anticipate offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes will give Shapen the green light to air it out on Saturday and get the passing attack going.
When the Bears do run the ball, the offensive line is going to have a massive size advantage up front. The unit couldn’t find success against the BYU front seven, but surely will against the Bobcats.
Baylor owns one of the top defensive units in all of college football. Texas State has faced two defenses that rank outside the top 100 and still managed to turn the ball over six times.
Baylor is going to force takeaways and get after Hatcher early and often.
We saw that Baylor isn’t afraid to run up the score in its 69-10 victory over Albany in Week 1. I have the Bears favored by five touchdowns in this matchup, so I see value at the current market price of -30.