College Football Betting: Alamo Bowl

Friday, December 15, 2017 1:56 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 1:56 PM UTC

The December 28 Alamo Bowl between the No. 13 Stanford Cardinal and the No. 15 TCU Horned Frogs should be a hell of a game, judging by the college football lines.

Stanford Cardinal vs TCU Horned Frogs

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Free College Football Pick: Stanford +3
Best Line: at Matchbook

Let’s be honest: Very few people are going to watch all 40 college football bowl games this year (plus the National Championship, the Celebration Bowl, the three All-Star games, and the remaining FCS playoff games). That’s a lot of football. But there are some can’t-miss games on the undercard leading up to the College Football Playoff. The Alamo Bowl pits the No. 2 choice from the Pac-12 against the No. 3 choice from the Big 12; this year’s edition on Thursday, December 28 (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) is a doozy between the Stanford Cardinal and the TCU Horned Frogs.

It’s pretty much a toss-up on paper. No. 13 Stanford (9-4 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) just barely missed out on playing for the Pac-12 championship, while No. 15 TCU (10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS) dropped the Big 12 title game to the Oklahoma Sooners. The Horned Frogs opened as 2.5-point favorites on the NCAAF odds board, and that’s where they are one week later at press time, although our consensus reports show a lean towards the Cardinal.

Down to San Antone

Stanford may be ahead on the CFP rankings and the early consensus numbers, but the Frogs will be playing a pseudo-home game at the Alamodome in San Antonio – about a four-hour drive south of Fort Worth. The AP poll also has their rankings reversed, with TCU at No. 13 and the Cardinal at No. 15. That’s close to what the F/+ Combined Ratings say at Football Outsiders, but they’ve got Stanford a little further behind at No. 17 overall.

ESPN’s Football Power Index likes Texas Christian to win this one, too. They project the Frogs at 54.4 percent to win the Alamo Bowl; however, that only translates to –1.5 using the estimated probabilities for college football at Wizard of Odds. As a rule of thumb, we’d like to see at least a 2-point gap between the projections and the actual odds before we make our college football picks, but if the Frogs happen to reach –3 at the standard –110 vig, that’s a big enough half-point for us to recommend a small wager on Stanford, based purely on the math. TCU might even be a little distracted after AD Chris Del Conte bolted over the weekend and took the same job with the Texas Longhorns. Straight cash, homies.

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