Texas Tech vs. Texas Betting Odds & Pick: Lubbock Braces For Longhorn Stampede (Saturday, Sept. 26)
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Ehlinger and Riko Jeffers.
- In-state Big 12 battles are finally upon us, as Texas heads to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech.
- The Red Raiders almost blew a game as 40-point favorites against Houston Baptist last week, and Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns will offer an even tougher challenge.
- Mike Calabrese details why he's laying the points with Texas in this rivalry game.
Texas Tech vs. Texas Odds
|Texas Tech Odds||+17.5 [BET NOW]|
|Texas Odds||-17.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+530/-751 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||70.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET|
The post mortem on Texas Tech’s season opener isn’t pretty. The Red Raiders, as 40-point favorites, were nearly upset by Houston Baptist at home. Their narrow 35-33 victory exposed some major defensive issues that won’t be remedied overnight.
This week’s opponent may also be from the great state of Texas, but that’s the extent of the similarities between Houston Baptist and Texas. The Huskies’ entire athletic budget is under $10 million. Texas’ budget? Try $205 million.
The Huskies and Longhorns have looked great on offense, but Houston Baptist has done it with spare parts and Last Chance U-style transfers. Texas, has the seventh-most talented roster in all of college football, according to Athlon Sports. But the biggest difference is on-field defensive performance.
Since joining the FCS in 2014, Houston Baptist has never finished higher than 100th in total defense at the FCS level. The Longhorns, meanwhile, return 82% (14th nationally) of their defensive production from last season, including three first-team All-Big 12 selections in their back seven.
The drastic jump in defensive quality that Texas Tech will be encountering in its Big 12 opener is bad news for Matt Wells and his team. Last season on the Forty Acres, the Longhorns’ defense notched eight tackles for loss, while their offense boat-raced the Raiders, 49-24. Expect more of the same at Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Check out our free NCAAF odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
At this point in Sam Ehlinger’s career, we know what he is and what he isn’t. He is an efficient and accurate passer (63.5%) who doesn’t put the ball in harm’s way very often (3.3:1 TD-INT ratio).
On the ground, he remains one of the best dual-threat power rushers since Tim Tebow with his 25 career rushing touchdowns. But what we saw against UTEP was simply a mirage. Ehlinger will never consistently threaten defenses with the deep ball.
UTEP was more than happy to give him huge passing windows and ample time to operate. He responded with a 426-5-0 line. Given the Longhorns’ remaining schedule, you’re not likely to see anything close to that again. Luckily for Burnt Orange Backers on Saturday, you don’t need Superhero Sam to show up to cover 17.5.
While we’re labeling things, let’s slap a label on the Texas Tech defense. It is, just as it was last year, dreadful and fully incapable of disrupting offensive flow. Despite being completely outmatched physically on the offensive line, Houston Baptist threw caution to the wind and attempted 49 passes and was only sacked three times.
In the second half alone against Houston Baptist, Tech surrendered eight plays of 15 yards or more, four of 30 yards or more, and two touchdowns over 65 yards. Texas Tech was horrid against the pass last season (128th), and it may be even worse this time around.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
The only worry in a spot like this, in my opinion, is a backdoor cover. Despite their near defeat, Red Raiders quarterback Alan Bowman was locked-in and highly efficient. Eleven different receivers hauled in passes from Bowman, who finished the night with 430 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air.
What concerns me a bit is his pedestrian 8.3 yards per attempt and the offense’s reliance on broken tackles by receivers. The final Tech touchdown is a prime example of this, as Bowman connected with KeSean Carter on a three-yard curl before Carter broke three tackles on his way to the end zone.
Texas Tech KeSean Carter: Highest-graded power-five WR in Wk 2
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 17, 2020
Plays like this happen against hapless FCS defenses. And due to the scheme of Wells and offensive coordinator David Yost, Bowman’s completions will remain high throughout the year, but big plays simply won’t materialize against physical defenses that have corners and safeties who can tackle.
Check out our new CFB PRO Report, where we highlight factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I’m still pegging the Red Raiders to score in the 24-28-point range, but this defense can easily spot the Longhorns 50 points as it nearly did in defeat last season. I’d play this one right up to the key number of 21.
Pick: Texas-17.5 (up to 21)