College Football Picks: Back TCU to Extend Texas' Losing Streak & Cover ATS at Home

David Lawrence

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 8:29 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 29, 2015 8:29 PM GMT

Can Texas take advantage of how thin TCU’s defense is? That’s going to be one of the questions to watch for in this game, which has a number of interesting storylines for college football odds makers.

Momentum
The Texas Longhorns and TCU Horned Frogs are in very different situations on a number of levels. It’s not just wins and losses which separate these teams. Texas is minimally hurt, while TCU is extremely hurt.

The Longhorns have lost two straight heartbreakers at home, both because of something bad which happened on special teams. Two weekends ago, the Longhorns lost by a point to California because of a missed extra point by placekicker Nick Rose. This past Saturday against Oklahoma State, punter Michael Dickson bobbled the snap and, under a fierce rush, was only able to punt the ball at a sideways angle for virtually no yardage. Oklahoma State was able to start a possession in field goal range and break a late 27-27 tie. The Longhorns lost, 30-27, and they have already lost three games in 2015. They are a mess.

TCU is a different kind of mess, one that’s winning but without much of any room for slip ups. The Horned Frogs are down to only one defensive player who started for them last season. They entered last Saturday’s game against a high-powered Texas Tech offense, on the road, knowing they had to be great on offense. They were, scoring 55 points in a 55-52 victory. The Horned Frogs did this after winning a 56-37 game the week before against SMU. This is not the way to go through a season, but at least right now, TCU knows its options on defense are limited.

 

Line Moves
The college football odds started with TCU being a 16.5-point favorite in several outlets, but that has become an 14.5-point line at this point. All of TCU’s injuries, particularly on defense, are the easy explanation for this turn in the line. There’s nothing more complicated than that.

 

Notable Injuries
Texas has linebacker Dalton Santos out for the season with an ankle injury. Offensive tackle Kent Perkins is questionable for this game with a knee injury.

TCU has one of the worst injury profiles in the country. The Horned Frogs have 10 players either unavailable or questionable for this game due to injuries or suspensions. Wide receiver Ty Slanina is out for the season with a collarbone injury. Wide receiver Deante Gray is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Linebacker Sammy Douglas is out for the season. Defensive end James McFarland, a particularly important member of this defense, is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Linebacker Mike Freeze is out indefinitely for personal reasons. Wide receiver Andre Petties-Wilson has been suspended. So has defensive end Mike Tuaua. Kenny Iloka is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Cornerback Ranthony Texada is out for the season with a knee injury. Only defensive lineman Terrell Lathan is probable for this game.

 

Handicapping The Game
The amount of TCU injuries is staggering, but Texas is such a young and fragile team right now. TCU should be able to score a ton of points and Texas just won’t be able to keep up. Over is tempting for our college football picks but Texas’ offense just doesn’t feel as capable of being consistent like Texas Tech’s was. Getting TCU at this lower line makes sense.

College Football Pick: TCU -14.5 at BetOnline

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