College Football Picks: Bet Oregon +1 in Valero Alamo Bowl vs. TCU

Ted Sevransky

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 7:38 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015 7:38 PM GMT

The TCU Horned Frogs will face the Oregon Ducks in the Valero Alamo Bowl and we study the college football odds for the game and provide our betting insight.

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College Football Pick: Oregon +1

Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

TCU vs. Oregon
The Alamo Bowl has been a strong place for favorites in recent seasons.  Oregon (-13.5 college football odds), Baylor (-10), Oklahoma State (-5.5), and Texas Tech (-7) covered the spread in four of the last six Alamo Bowls, with short underdogs UCLA (+2) and Texas (+1) the only two dogs to cash during that span. 

Of course, this year’s matchup doesn’t have a bigger favorite, with the current line hovering near pick ‘em. 
That being said, TCU has taken some money now that star senior dual threat QB Trevone Boykin is back at practice after missing time with an ankle injury.  Boykin was a top Heisman contender for much of the season, finishing the campaign ranked second in the nation with more than 380 yards per game of total offense.  

Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson: “He gets a chance to showcase one last game. I always tell them bowl games are résumé games for seniors. It’s a chance for people to watch them against, usually, a good competition player they are going to play against.”

The Horned Frogs will likely take more money if star QR Josh Doctson is available to play.  Doctson is absolutely worth the extra betting attention, a playmaker with 14 TD’s and a 17.0 yard per catch average on his 78 receptions this year.  But Doctson’s arm was still in a sling as of the latest reports from Ft Worth, as he waited for doctors to remove the pins holding together his broken arm.  His status probably won’t be fully disclosed until gameday, and you can expect the betting markets to react to Doctson’s injury news quickly.

The late season injuries to Doctson and Boykin doomed TCU’s chances for an undefeated season and a trip to the College Football Playoffs.  But those two injuries were just the tip of the iceberg for the Horned Frogs this year.  They lost seven starters to season ending injuries and had more than 20 key contributors missed time due to injury.  

As a result, despite coach Patterson’s desired reliance on seniors, TCU had to use 30 freshmen on the field this year, second most of any BCS program in the country!

Oregon just lost offensive coordinator Scott Frost, who took the Central Florida coaching job.  But the transition to Matt Lubick should be relatively smooth.  Frost was expected to get a head coaching gig; Lubick was the heir apparent, and he, too, has already attracted attention as a rising young assistant. 

The Ducks averaged 42 points per game when QB Vernon Adams was healthy. Oregon’s offense came on like a freight train down the stretch, hanging 52, 48, 38 (on Stanford’s elite D), 44 and 61 points in their last five games. And the Ducks senior laden offensive line is poised to blow holes open for their backs against TCU’s injury depleted defensive line.

The bigger question for the Ducks comes on the defensive side of the football. They finished the regular season with the fifth worst scoring defense and total defense among the Power-5 conference teams.  They allowed six yards per play against FBS foes, unable to consistently stop the run or the pass. Lowly Oregon State hung 42 on them in their regular season finale.

But Ducks defensive coordinator Don Pellum put together an impressive gameplan against Florida State with a month to prepare for their BCS Bowl last year.  This is a game where Oregon should be able to run the football, and Mark Helfrich has gone 25-2 SU as Oregon’s head coach when his team runs for 200 or more yards. TCU closed out the season with the #80 ranked rushing defense; #66 in yards per carry allowed…Take the Ducks with your college football picks.

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