Two members of the old Southwest Conference square off on the opening weekend of the 2011 College Football Betting season, when the TCU Horned Frogs pay a visit to the Baylor Bears on Friday, September 2nd.
1. Why TCU will cover the spread: New Horned Frogs quarterback Casey Pachall, taking over for the departed Andy Dalton, should have immediate success vs. a Baylor secondary that returns only one starter from last season, with the other three defensive backfield positions filled by a junior and two sophomores. In fact, the returning starter Chance Casey is a junior himself, meaning that the Bears’ secondary is comprised of four underclassmen.
Besides Pachall, track star turned wide receiver Skye Dawson will also get a chance to shine vs. a very young secondary. As for the running game, TCU’s three headed monster of Ed Wesley, Matthew Tucker, and Waymon James gets to exploit a Baylor front seven that lost its best lineman in Phil Taylor and both outside linebackers.
2. Why Baylor will cover the spread: Dual threat quarterback Robert Griffin III could atone for having his worst game of the season vs. these Horned Frogs last year, especially with Baylor returning five receivers that caught at least 40 passes in 2010 and going up against an inexperienced TCU secondary.
If Griffin has success early, it could force the Horned Frogs to drop some linebackers into coverage, which would in turn allow Griffin to do his best Michael Vick impersonation with some improvised runs. Remember that besides throwing for 3500 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, Griffin also added over 600 rushing yards and eight more scores on the ground.
3. Total Talk: The TCU defense was one of the best in the country last season, and the front seven is still good enough to cover up for the inexperienced backfield, with experienced linebackers and Braylon Broughton, Stansly Maponga, and D.J. Yendrey returning on the defensive line. Griffin should have a better game than last season, but it is not as if he will light up the Frogs defense, especially with the Baylor running backs being so suspect. That should allow TCU to focus on Griffin, and while he may hit on some big passes, he probably will not have the time to do so consistently.
On the other side of the ball, the Pachall to Dawson hook-up could potentially be awesome, but remember that this is the first game for each as a starter, so some mistakes will happen. The Horned Frogs’ running game is a better bet to be successful, given its experience and the Bears’ losses up front. All things considered, this posted total seems way too high.
4. Betting Trends TCU/Baylor: TCU is 6-2 against the spread in its last eight games vs. Big 12 opponents, with the ‘under’ going 6-1-1 on those games. Baylor is only 3-7 ATS the last 10 times it went off the board a home underdog, going a woeful 0-10 straight up in those games.