Kansas State Wildcats +9.5 the Pick vs. Auburn Tigers

Jeff Grant

Monday, September 15, 2014 2:45 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 15, 2014 2:45 PM UTC

The Auburn Tigers and Kansas State Wildcats both like to start fast, but special teams play will ultimately decided the outcome of this Thursday night non-conference matchup in Manhattan, KS. How are we looking to place our NCAAF picks in this mid-week bout?

Early and Often
Auburn is averaging 14.0 points and 226.0 total yards in the first quarter this season, which is important to consider when making your Week 4 College Football picks, as it comes off wins over San Jose State and Arkansas.

The Tigers have rushed for at least 200 yards in each of their last 13 games—the longest active streak in the FBS—while also being one of five teams nationally averaging more than 300 yards rushing and 200 yards passing.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 2-0 SUATS as road favorites of 7.5 to 10 points, with no clear edge in terms of the betting total (1-1 Over/Under).


There’s No Place Like Home
Kansas State has produced a 59-3 SU home record in regular-season non-conference games under head coach Bill Snyder, which can’t be ignored when looking over the College Football odds page, but it’s important to point out that just one of those affairs came against a ranked opponent.

The Wildcats have had 22 previous midseason bye weeks under Snyder, and have turned the extra week of preparation into a 16-6 SU mark the following week.

College football handicappers will find that the squad is 3-4 SU and 5-2 ATS as underdogs since 2012, with the UNDER going 5-2 in that situation.


Consistent Offense
The Tigers have scored an offensive touchdown in 31 of their last 32 quarters dating back to last year’s Arkansas game, while they lead the country in converting 67.9 percent of their third-down opportunities.

Auburn has put up 30-plus points on the scoreboard in a school-record 12 consecutive games, while it has produced a 307-5 SU all-time record when hitting that particular mark overall.


Need To Be Special
Jake Waters is the fifth returning starting quarterback since 1998 under Snyder, with those previous four players averaging a 5.5-percent better completion percentage and 63.2 more yards per game when returning to the position.

Perhaps the most important part of Waters being under center—Kansas State has had double-digit win seasons with each of those previous four returning starters under center.

The program will need to create some big plays with its special teams unit, with wide receiver Tyler Lockett leading the way, as he’s returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in his career.  


I’m going to recommend that readers back the Wildcats as one of their Week 4 sports picks, as they’ve covered in their last four games following a bye week.

Kansas State has also averaged 3.4 blocked kicks per year since Bill Snyder, with national leader Travis Britz returning to lead the charge in that category.

Free College Football Pick:  Kansas State Wildcats +9.5 at 5Dimes

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