Texas vs TCU Odds, Picks | How to Bet Saturday’s Big 12 Battle
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
Texas vs TCU Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The state of Texas will be focused on Austin on Saturday, as undefeated TCU looks to remain unbeaten when it takes on the Longhorns.
The Horned Frogs moved into the top four of the latest College Football Playoff rankings, putting pressure on a first-year coach and a roster that was expected to win only half of its games.
Head coach Sonny Dykes has covered three straight games in Big 12 play and is looking to swerve the November history of the "Sonny Swoon."
This conference game may be the biggest the Longhorns have played in several years. Head coach Steve Sarkisian is in search of his first conference championship appearance but must win out to have a chance in Arlington.
Texas avoided a second-half letdown last week and held on for a victory over Kansas State. With former TCU head coach Gary Patterson serving as a defensive analyst for the Longhorns, there's plenty of familiarity between the two teams.
A win in this game puts Sarkisian on the path to a New Year's Six bowl, but a loss may have the Horns playing in a lesser bowl with plenty of questions on the recruiting trail.
The one component that doesn't show up in the stat sheet for Texas is pure physicality.
The Longhorns are dominating opponents in the trench on both sides of the ball. A highly-graded pass rush is assisted by a run-stopping unit that ranks 31st in Line Yards.
Seven different defenders have recorded at least 10 quarterback hurries, a factor because of Texas' ability to get offenses behind schedule. The Longhorns rank 17th in Defensive Standard Downs Success Rate.
Freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers continues to evolve. He threw three interceptions in a loss to Oklahoma State but didn't throw one at Kansas State last week.
The difference in efficiency is directly related to pressure, as Ewers has just one big-time throw and a 22% drop in adjusted completion percentage with a crowded pocket.
The great news for Ewers is that his teammate in the backfield, Bijan Robinson, is one of the best players in college football.
Bijan Robinson- the best running back in college football. pic.twitter.com/pQP8RNPRaL
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) November 5, 2022
Robinson has been the primary driver for an offense that ranks top-20 in Havoc Allowed and 10th in Standard Downs Success Rate.
The Longhorns don't get off schedule on offense easily, which pays dividends in scoring opportunities. Texas enters top-30 in Finishing Drives, averaging 4.4 points for every drive that crosses the 40.
The offensive numbers have been impressive, especially considering TCU put up numbers in the bottom 10 of FBS last year. Dykes has leapfrogged plenty of Power Five teams in getting TCU into the playoff discussion.
Thanks to quarterback Max Duggan and a laundry list of explosive targets, the Horned Frogs prefer to play in weekly high-scoring affairs.
Duggan is having the best dual-threat season of his career. He previously fumbled 18 times in three seasons but has fumbled just once this year in a Week 4 game against SMU.
The passing has been just as efficient, tossing just two interceptions after throwing a total of 20 in the three previous seasons.
— Sonny Vibes (@MadMaxDuggan) November 8, 2022
The Horned Frogs don't generate a pass rush and rank mid-FBS in coverage.
Teams with downfield passing attacks have had success in racking up scoring opportunities. TCU continues to fall in Defensive Finishing Drives, allowing 4.5 points to opponents that cross the 40-yard line.
The one shining light on the defense has been Dylan Horton, who has generated 31 pressures this season. The junior has produced 26 hurries, while no other defensive player has reached double digits.
Texas vs TCU Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Texas and TCU match up statistically:
TCU Offense vs. Texas Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Texas Offense vs. TCU Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams
|Seconds per Play
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Texas vs TCU Betting Pick
Reports have surfaced that Duggan is dealing with a calf injury.
The numbers show the injury is limiting the quarterback's numbers, as he's gained only 20 yards rushing from designed runs over the past two weeks. The injury came against West Virginia, where Duggan didn't record any scrambles.
The limitation puts focus on an offensive line that ranks 85th in pass blocking. Duggan saw a season-high 17 pressures against a solid pass rush in Texas Tech, which resulted in four sacks. This will be the point of attack for Texas, which boats a pass rush grade of ninth, per PFF.
Duggan isn't the only explosive TCU player dealing with a nagging injury. Wide receiver Quentin Johnston has an ankle issue that may limit his playing time.
TCU is ultra-reliant on explosive plays with expected points rankings of 26th in rush and fourth in pass. Texas has been middling in defending explosive plays, but this is a team with a strength of schedule that ranks third nationally.
There may be other factors to consider, too. TCU has a much lower ranking than Texas in "game control," a stat defined as an average top-25 team controlling games from start to finish compared to that team's performance.
Texas not only ranks higher in the adjusted schedule metrics the playoff committee considers important, but there's also a massive gap in second-order win total between these two teams. TCU has played a number of teams with quarterback injuries and has built up wins against second-string signal-callers.
The Horned Frogs offense may not be as explosive as usual because of injury, and the defense won't get any pressure on a freshman quarterback. When Ewers is given time and a clean pocket, opponents have taken a loss.
Expect Texas to score a bevy of points given the massive differences in red-zone efficiencies between these teams.