Capper Advices To Look For The Value ATS When Kansas State Visit Stanford Cardinal

Jesse Ertz

Willie Bee

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 7:51 PM GMT

Kansas State's defense will be the first to face Heisman Trophy candidate Christian McCaffrey and Stanford, part of our Week 1 NCAA football free picks.

With all of the marquee matchups on the opening Saturday of the 2016 season's first week, some folks might be thinking about turning in early Friday night to get well-rested for the onslaught. My advice is worry about sleep some other time so you can enjoy that opening Friday fracas between the Kansas State Wildcats and Stanford Cardinal.

Kickoff is set for a 9 PM (ET), still, plenty of sunshine overhead since it's a 6 PM local boot at Stanford Stadium. That's assuming Mother Nature cooperates, something we can't be sure of more than a week-&-a-half ahead of the contest. FOX Sports 1 will carry the game nationally, a quick check of SBR's live NCAA football odds suggesting Stanford will enjoy a relatively easy victory as 15-16 point chalk.

At 5Dimes, currently in the middle of that spread at 15½, the scoreboard barrier si set at 50 points, that total down several points from when it opened at other top-rated sports books.

The schools agreed to a home-&-home series on the gridiron just last fall, so the historic first-ever matchup comes pretty soon. Stanford won't make the return trip to Manhattan until 2021.

 

Can KSU Offense Bounce Back From Pitiful '15?
If the Big 12 futures odds are any indication, Kansas State is in for a long year. Only Iowa State and Kansas are considered longer shots to win the conference than the Wildcats at 40/1, and they're coming off a 6-7 season that included one of the easiest non-conference schedules in the Big 12.

That was last year, though, and we've seen too often how Bill Snyder seems to defy the odds. One of the biggest questions, however, is can QB Jesse Ertz defy the odds and stay healthy. The redshirt junior could make an immediate impact on an offense that finished 113th a season ago in total yards, and senior tailback Charles Jones is poised for a 1,000-yard season behind an improved line.

The defense will be tested immediately going up against Stanford's Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey. This should be a solid group of Wildcat linebackers, but the line is untested and without depth -- at least without experience going into 2016. Dante Barnett is just as key to the defensive backfield as Ertz is under center, but the overall pieces are there for a typical Bill Snyder group that always seems to be opportunistic.

 

Who Takes Over For Hogan?
Stanford, of course, had no trouble generating offense a year go, the Cardinal finishing in the top 20 in scoring (37.8 ppg) and rushing (223.7 ypg). McCaffrey had more than 144 yards in the ground game while also leading the team in receiving (45 rec, 645 yds). Containing him is obviously part of Bill Snyder's and K-State defensive coordinator Tom Hayes's strategy.

David Shaw is well aware of that going into this game, and for those that follow, McCaffrey is going to be the focus. Instead, Shaw's biggest concern is replacing his quarterback after Kevin Hogan ran out of eligibility. There's some very good talent ready to step in, but how the team settles into having Keller Chryst (most likely) or Ryan Burns at the pivot is a mystery at this time.

Like I said earlier, it's impossible to include anything close to an accurate weather forecast for a game that is 10+ days out, so please get updates before going to the window. If it is a normal day down on The Farm for this time of year, expect clear skies, a humid 70º and light NW breeze.

The preseason polls ranked Stanford No. 7/8 pick, for what that's worth, and the odds have the Cardinal right in the thick of the Pac-12 race (+285) while Kansas State is a Big 12 also-ran. My free college football pick is obviously to take the points

 

Free NCAAF Pick: Kansas State +15.5 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3027675, "sportsbooksIds":[169,93,1602,19], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]