The Texas Longhorns have turned things around nicely winning two straight since a 1-3 start, but they are still shaky favorites with a one-dimensional offense visiting Iowa State Saturday.
If you are looking for some Saturday night action in the Big 12 Conference, then the home underdogs could hold some value when the seemingly rejuvenated Texas Longhorns (3-4, 3-4 ATS) pay a visit to those Iowa State Cyclones (2-5, 3-3-1 ATS) at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Iowa State as a moderate home underdog for this contest with the current line at +3½ with odds of -106.
Turned Things Around vs. Oklahoma
Texas was having a nightmare of a season as the Longhorns sat at 1-4 following a 50-7 loss to TCU where they hardly competed at all, but then seemingly out of the blue they stunned the then unbeaten Oklahoma Sooners 24-17 as 16-point underdogs and followed that up by manhandling Kansas State last week 23-9, meaning they can suddenly get back to .500 with a win here in Ames tonight.
The Cyclones are 2-5 with one of the wins coming vs. an FCS team in Northern Iowa and the other one coming vs. one of the worst teams in the FBS in Kansas. They have been the losing college football picks in three straight games and the Iowa State defense has been just a rumor, surrendering 156 points in those three losses.
Still One-Dimensional on Offense
So what direction are we going in this game? Well, that would probably be in the opposite direction of what you may have originally thought! You see, the Longhorns have remained one dimensional offensively even during the two-game winning streak, and we feel that Oklahoma simply took Texas too lightly and that Kansas State is simply not very good this season without a bona fide quarterback.
And Texas still has its own quarterback issues even with those two wins, as the Longhorns are averaging 206.3 rushing yards per contest but only 141.4 passing yards, with that passing offense ranking 121st in the country out of 128 FBS teams. The Longhorns are a team that needs to stay close or play with a lead, because they are simply not built to come from behind with Jerrod Heard completing only 58.8 percent of his passes and throwing just three touchdowns.
In fact, Heard acts more like another running back that a quarterback as he leads the Longhorns in rushing yards with his 494 on 4.8 yards per carry while adding three touchdowns on the ground. And yet this team is suddenly favored on the road and on grass, where Texas may lose some of its speed advantage?
Covered the Spread at Baylor
Now, we already alluded to the Iowa State defensive struggles of the last three games, but to be fair they took on three of the better offenses in the entire country in those contests in Texas Tech, TCU and most recently Baylor. Furthermore the 45-27 loss to Baylor last week was actually an encouraging effort!
Yes, that does sound strange, but consider that Baylor leads the country both in scoring (61.1 points per game) and in total offense (686.1 yards) and even the Bears’ defense is allowing only 382.4 yards per game. And yet, Iowa State easily covered the spread as 35½-point underdogs and held Baylor to just 485 total yards while managing 388 yards offensively, marking the first time this year that any team finished within 100 yards of Baylor in any game.
Now, Texas marks a distinct drop in class from the company that Iowa State has been keeping lately and the Cyclones returning home for this game also helps.
Grass is not Greener
Finally, Texas is a team built to play on the artificial turn of home, and the Longhorns have had a difficult time on grass going 0-4 ATS in their last four games on this surface. Texas is also still 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games following an ATS win even after bucking that trend last week, while Iowa State is 5-1 ATS in its last six home games vs. teams with losing road records.
With the Longhorns being 0-2 in true road game this season, look for those trends to continue as Texas simply cannot be trusted as a road favorite when it pays a visit to Iowa State Saturday night on FOX Sports 1.
College Football Pick: Iowa State +3½ (-106)