NCAAF Betting: TCU Frog Splash Could Sink Arkansas This Saturday

TCU Bullfrogs On The Sidelines

Saturday, September 10, 2016 5:04 PM GMT

Bettors liked the TCU Horned Frogs at –10, but they've switched their college football pick to the Arkansas Razorbacks and driven Saturday's spread down to 7.5 points.

Welcome to another year of NCAAF picks here at the home office. If you're new to the college scene, the drill is the same as it is for the NFL, or any other sports league for that matter: Take the contrarian position, then look for evidence to maintain or abandon that position. College football doesn't draw quite as many recreational fans as the NFL, so we expect profit margins to be smaller – and we recommend making smaller bets in turn. Otherwise, it's business as usual.

Our first pick of the new season takes us to Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, where the No. 15 TCU Horned Frogs will host the Arkansas Razorbacks this Saturday (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN). The Horned Frogs are 7.5-point favorites on our NCAAF odds board as we go to press. Standard betting psychology tells us that casual fans overbet the favorites, but in this case, we expect the almighty SEC to overshadow the Big 12 and bring Arkansas supporters out of the woodwork.

Seed Money
Oh, have they arrived already? TCU opened at –7.5 last Sunday afternoon, surged to –10.5 one hour later, then fell back to –7.5 later that evening. Our consensus reports tell the tale: The Frogs had 60 percent support at the open, then 85 percent at –10, only to see Arkansas grab a slim majority and bring the spread back down. Curious. We're not seeing anything from the newswires that would spark this kind of volatility.

Maybe this is one of those situations where the sharps put a little money on TCU, then a lot of money on Arkansas after the lines moved. Recreational bettors usually arrive later in the week, closer to kick-off. Anyway, the sharps liked the Frogs at –7.5 to begin with, so let's stick with them as the contrarian pick.

Texas Two-Step
So does the pick hold up under scrutiny? Not much data to work with going into Week 2, but TeamRankings projects TCU to win just 6.6 games this year, and Arkansas to do even worse at 5.9 wins. The market appears overly bullish on both teams; the fine folks at 5Dimes opened the Frogs at 8 wins (OVER –125), and Arkansas at 7.5 wins (OVER –120). That's the NCAAF futures market for you.

The matchup itself certainly favors the Frogs. Their defense didn't look very good in last week's 59-41 win over South Dakota State (+34.5 away), but the Razorbacks were all out of sorts in their narrow 21-20 victory over Louisiana Tech (+21 away), who didn't even have starting QB Ryan Higgins available because of a DWI suspension. We have more confidence in TCU's defense showing well against the smallish Arkansas offensive line; at the other end of the field, you may recall current Frogs QB Kenny Hill leading Texas A&M to a 35-28 overtime win against the Hogs (+9.5 on neutral ground) back in 2014, throwing for 386 yards and four touchdowns. Another performance like that, plus some TCU defense, is more likely than not to get the job done Saturday.


Free NFL Pick: TCU –7.5 (–105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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