Kansas State at TCU Betting Odds & Pick: Back the Wildcats to Cover (Saturday, Oct. 10)
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images. Pictured: Skylar Thompson (10).
- After a solid start to the season that includes a win over Oklahoma, Kansas State heads to Fort Worth to take on a TCU team that just picked up a big win of its own over Texas.
- Our analyst BJ Cunningham doesn't have much faith in TCU, believing that the Wildcat offense will have its way as the underdog.
- Check out Cunningham's full preview with updated odds below.
Kansas State at TCU Odds
|Kansas State Odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|TCU Odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+280/-360 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||49.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 4 p.m. ET|
Editor’s Note: Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson was ruled out before kickoff and will not play against TCU.
Both Kansas State and TCU have already pulled off massive upsets in the Big 12 this year. The Wildcats won a shootout against Oklahoma to open their conference schedule, while TCU won outright against Texas as 10.5-point underdogs in Austin last weekend.
A season-opening loss to Arkansas State did not provide much optimism in Manhattan. However, the Wildcats have rebounded behind a couple of stellar offensive performances against Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Chris Klieman has shown his championship coaching pedigree with North Dakota State can translate to the Big 12 — so much so that Kansas State gave him a contract extension this week, locking him up through the 2026 season.
TCU pulled off the upset over the Longhorns last Saturday by wreaking havoc on the defensive side of the ball. The Horned Frogs forced two turnovers, including a fumble on the goal line to seal the victory.
TCU’s defense, though, will still have to improve drastically on Saturday against Kansas State’s efficient offense.
Kansas State Wildcats
Even though the Wildcats lost a lot of starters on the offensive side of ball, they still have four-year starter Skylar Thompson at quarterback. Thompson got knocked out of the game against Texas Tech, but all indications point to him being ready to go for Saturday.
The key for Thompson and the Wildcat offense heading into this season was taking more chances in the passing game. Kansas State has done just that thus far, and it’s paid major dividends; Thompson is throwing the ball for 9.8 yards per attempt.
Kansas State expected to struggle on the offensive line, as all five starters are gone from last year. However, it hasn’t seemed to matter so far. The Wildcats have kept a clean pocket for Thompson, allowing only four sacks in their first three games.
Kansas State has a legitimate receiving and rushing threat in the backfield in the form of Deuce Vaughn. The freshman is toting the rock for 5.7 yards per carry and averages 29.3 yards per reception. He will be a matchup nightmare for TCU’s defense on Saturday.
Coming into the season, Kansas State received a big upgrade in the middle of its defense with the return of Justin Hughes at middle linebacker. Hughes missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL and was the leader of the Wildcat defense toward the end of 2018, recording 55 tackles in eight games. So far in 2020, he’s led the Wildcats with 21 total tackles through their first three games.
Kansas State’s defense has been average against both the pass and run, allowing 4.8 yards per rush and 7.7 yards per pass attempt. However, the unit has already forced seven turnovers, which leads the Big 12.
The issues for Kansas State will going to come on the defensive line. The team boasts star pass rusher Wyatt Hubert, who recorded seven sacks last season, but it will have to replace the rest of the positions up front.
The Wildcats will also have a new defensive coordinator, as Scottie Hazelton left for Michigan State. Kansas State promoted defensive backs coach Joe Klanderman to defensive coordinator, which should provide some continuity. That will help since the secondary was the team’s strength last season, ranking 59th in defensive passing success.
TCU Horned Frogs
The strength of the TCU offense last season was its rushing attack. The Horned Frogs ranked 27th in rushing success but have struggled to run the ball in their first two games with only 3.6 yards per attempt. TCU has a ton of talented running backs, but it lost four of its five starting offensive linemen from last season.
The inexperience up front has proved to be the Frogs’ Achilles heel so far, as they’ve allowed seven sacks and 18 tackles for loss in their first two games. Kansas State’s front seven is pretty average, but even the Wildcats should be able to wreak havoc in the backfield on Saturday.
In 2019, TCU’s passing attack was one of the worst in the country, ranking 120th in passing success behind freshman quarterback Max Duggan. Duggan has improved greatly in his first two starts, throwing the ball for 9.6 yards per attempt. For TCU to continue to have success, it’s going to have to throw the ball more to help out its offensive line.
TCU was one of the best teams in the Big 12 against the run last season, ranking 24th nationally in defensive rushing success and eighth in defensive line yards. It did, however, lose its best defensive lineman in Ross Blacklock, who was a second-round NFL Draft pick of the Houston Texans. His departure has proved fatal, as the Horned Frogs have failed to stop the run. Iowa State and Texas combined for a whopping 7.0 yards per carry against TCU’s defense. That won’t bode well against Kansas State’s run-oriented offense.
The Horned Frogs lost their two starting cornerbacks from 2019, and so far, they haven’t found any capable replacements. They’ve allowed 7.6 yards per attempt in their first two games.
TCU’s defense needs to improve drastically from its first two games, or Thompson and the Wildcat offense will move the ball at will Saturday afternoon.
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Betting Analysis & Pick
With how bad TCU’s defense has been through its first two games, I don’t know how it’s going to stop Kansas State. On the flip side, TCU’s inability to run the ball effectively could hurt it offensively. I think those two aspects give the Wildcats the potential to be live dogs on the road.
I only project TCU as -3.5 favorites in this game, so I think there’s good value on Kansas State +8.5.
Pick: Kansas State +8.5 (down to +7)