Bet against playoff hopeful TCU


Action Network college football handicapper Taylor McGrath steps in for Thomas Casale.

BAYLOR (+2.5) over Tcu

It has been an unbelievable run for TCU, which has won nine consecutive big-time matchups. But it’s time for a letdown game, and this is a very tough spot for TCU to overcome.

The last time these two teams played, in November 2021, TCU knocked off Baylor (which was 7-1) in Fort Worth to end the Bears’ title hopes. Saturday, Baylor will host TCU with the Horned Frogs’ College Football Playoff hopes on the line. On Senior Day, no less. Talk about motivation.

The game also will be a solid schematic matchup for Baylor. The Bears are good at preventing explosive run plays, which is TCU’s bread and butter. Plus, Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen shredded a similar defensive scheme when he threw for three touchdowns against Iowa State’s 3-3-5 stack defense.

TCU quarterback Maxx Duggan throws a pass against Oklahoma on Oct. 1, 2022.

If you’re still not convinced, look at Baylor head coach Dave Aranda’s track record. Aranda is 5-0 against the spread as an underdog against teams ranked in the top-15, which includes four straight outright victories, per Bet Labs.

Navy (+15.5) over UCF

It’s hard to cover big spreads against service academies. The triple-option attack drains the clock so quickly that it leaves little time for points. Per Bet Labs, Air Force, Army and Navy are a combined 41-22-2 against the spread as underdogs of 14 points or more since 2005.

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Navy matches up with UCF perfectly. UCF quarterback John Rhys-Plumlee leads a lethal run-pass option attack that has crushed opposing defenses. A team can, however, stifle UCF’s attack if it stops the run. And the Midshipmen are prepared to do so, given they rank ninth nationally in yards per rush allowed and third in Football Outsiders’ Defensive Line Yards metric.

Meanwhile, Navy will run the clock with its triple-option attack and easily keep the game within three scores. It’s worth noting that Navy is 5-0 against the spread on the road this season, while UCF is in a potentially sleepy spot after an emotional win over Tulane.

Colorado State (+21.5) over AIR FORCE

Conversely, it’s tough for service academies to cover big spreads. Per Bet Labs, the three service academy schools are a combined 20-30-2 against the spread as favorites of 21 or more points.

Again, the triple-option attack drains the clock, leaving little time for scoring points. In addition, Air Force is playing at the slowest pace in the country via seconds per play (32).

Colorado State is a horrific football team. The Rams, however, have put together their three best offensive performances in the last four weeks, peaking in a 468-yard effort against San Jose State in Week 9.

While Colorado State’s pass defense has been its downfall this season, its rush defense has been average, as the Rams are 54th in Expected Points Added per rush play allowed.

Betting on College Football?

Given the game script and the matchup, it should be impossible for Colorado State to fall behind by more than three touchdowns, and I’m willing to make that bet.

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