Iowa State at TCU Betting Odds & Pick: Should You Back the Cyclones to Rebound in Fort Worth? (Saturday, Sept. 26)

Iowa State at TCU Betting Odds & Pick: Should You Back the Cyclones to Rebound in Fort Worth? (Saturday, Sept. 26) article feature image
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  • Iowa State and TCU meet in a Week 4 Big 12 showdown that should help define the trajectories for both programs this season.
  • Iowa State suffered an embarrassing loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in its season opener, but should you take the Cyclones to bounce back today against the Horned Frogs?
  • Check out Stuckey's full game breakdown with odds, analysis and his pick below.

Iowa State at TCU Odds

Iowa State Odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
TCU Odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -139/+116 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 44.5 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET
TV FS1

Odds updated Friday and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Iowa State is coming off a disappointing loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in its season-opener but I think the Cyclones could be a good bet to bounce back in their Big 12 Opener against TCU.

There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding this game, but that’s par for the course in 2020.

Iowa State Preview

I won’t try to put lipstick on a pig in regards to Iowa State’s season-opening loss to Louisiana. The Cyclones played awful football. However, the final score was a bit misleading as the now-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns had two special teams touchdowns and another long 80-yard score. The offense did nothing to write home about but there’s no need to worry about the very good Iowa State defense.

After setting numerous records in his sophomore season, quarterback Brock Purdy came out with a dud to start 2020. It is worth noting that he didn’t have his most important offensive weapon in Charlie Kolar — one of the best tight ends in all of college football — but it was still a messy performance from Purdy.

I’m taking a bit of a risk here and assuming Kolar suits up after traveling with the team and getting some reps in at practice over the past two weeks.

The same goes for guard Trevor Downing, arguably Iowa State’s best offensive lineman. He missed the second half with an ankle injury but did travel with the team to Fort Worth and is officially listed as day-to-day. Starting right guard Robert Hudson also didn’t play against Louisiana and remains day-to-day.

Trevor Downing, Charlie Kolar and Robert Hudson all remain day-to-day ahead of Saturday’s game in Fort Worth, per Matt Campbell. Kolar practiced some last week.

— Jared Stansbury (@JaredStansbury) September 21, 2020

If all three return, Iowa State’s offense should look much better. Even just getting Kolar back would provide an enormous boost.  If not, it could struggle mightily again against a rock solid TCU defense.

I do think the fact that Iowa State has already played a game gives them an edge against TCU. There’s only so much you can do in practice against your own defense, so gaining real game experience and making subsequent adjustments over a two-week period is invaluable, especially this season after shortened spring and summer preparation.

That’s particularly true when you have a great coach. I’m a huge fan of Matt Campbell, who has very strong numbers Against the Spread. Campbell owns an overall 54-39-3 (58.1%) ATS record, covering by an average margin of over two points per game. And as an underdog or favorite of three or fewer points, he’s a sparkling 31-13 ATS (70.4%).

I trust he will make some impactful adjustments and have his kids ready to play after an embarrassing season opener.


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TCU Preview

I had TCU circled as a team I wanted to back early on in the 2020 season. The Horned Frogs were very unlucky in terms of turnovers and redzone defense in 2019, so it was reasonable to expect some regression for a team that lost six one-possession games last year.

However, I think this is just a tough spot for Gary Patterson’s bunch. TCU only returns 11 starters across its roster and must replace some key contributors that darted for the NFL.

The Horned Frogs also must replace their top two running backs (Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilau) and three starting offensive linemen (all now on NFL rosters), including both tackles. They have some talented potential replacements but this group will need time to develop continuity.

Most importantly, there’s a new quarterback under center. Last season’s starter, Max Duggan, showed some positive signs at the end of last season, but was recently diagnosed with a heart condition. He did recently get cleared to play, but sophomore Matthew Downing will start on Saturday.

Downing, a former walk-on at Georgia, didn’t take a single snap in a live game last season. With so many new pieces around him, facing an angry Iowa State defense is a tall order in his first collegiate start. Maybe he’ll surprise but this could all go sideways very quickly.

On the other side of the ball, replacing Ross Blacklock and Jeff Gladney won’t be easy but TCU should still have one of the best defenses in the Big 12. There’s plenty of talent throughout Gary Patterson’s vintage 4-2-5 defense.

It all starts with the safety group. TCU has one of the best safety duos in all of college football with Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington. The linebackers are also a strength, led by Garrett Wallow.

The Horned Frogs don’t have a strong pass rush and have some questions at corner, but they are extremely sturdy up the middle of the defense.


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Iowa State vs. TCU Pick

Maybe I’m giving too much credit to Iowa State for game experience and continuity, but I like the Cyclones at anything under a field goal.

The Cyclones figure to have an advantage at quarterback and I can’t trust TCU playing in its first game with a debutante quarterback and heavy roster turnover.

If it turns out Kolar and both guards can’t go, I’d look at getting in on this Under, too. We’d likely end up getting a rock fight between two of the best defenses in the Big 12. And we may see that regardless of who plays for Iowa State.

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