Texas Tech at KansasSaturday, 9 am PT - FS-1CRIS Opener:
Texas Tech -17 O/U 77CRIS Current:
Texas Tech -16 O/U 79Recommendation:
Two weeks ago, Kansas played arguably its best game of the season. Trailing early to West Virginia, the Jayhawks battled back and were within one score midway through the fourth quarter before two turnovers let to two Mountaineer scores and a somewhat deceiving 56-34 final. Kansas still covered the number (+23.5) giving them five straight Big XII pointspread wins dating back to last season but I'm far more interested in what they were able to do on the ground. There was a lot of preseason talk about Kansas going to more of an "Air Raid" style offense but they simply don't have to personnel, particularly at the quarterback position, to chuck the ball around 50 times a game and have success. Against WVU, Kansas ran the ball 50 times and finished with 367 yards on 7.3 ypc. This against a team that coming in was allowing 4.4 ypc. Don't expect that type of success on a weekly basis but keeping the ball on the ground, especially in Saturday's matchup, does a number of positive things, including limiting the potential for interceptions (Kansas has thrown 7) and keeping a sub-par defense off the field.
Texas Tech comes to town feeling pretty good about itself with a 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS record. And the Red Raiders have been challenged with wins vs. Arizona State, at Houston, and 41-34 loss on national TV vs. Oklahoma State. Defense has actually played a big part in TTU's success as they've allowed a modest 5.65 ypp and forced 10 turnover (+7 margin). The problem I have is Texas Tech is now being asked to go on the road and win by margin
something they don't have much of any track record in doing. The last time the Red Raiders won by more than 17 on the highway was Week 1 of the 2013 season when they beat SMU by 18. In 2014, laying -21, TTU won at UTEP 30-26. In 2015, laying -33 at Kansas, TTU won 30-20. And last season as chalk at Iowa State and Arizona State, Texas Tech lost both games outright by a combined score of 134-65.
It's a pretty favorable spot for the home side: off a bye week and homecoming. And the opposition, while better, in theory shouldn't be overwhelming. If Kansas can continue to establish a more balanced attack and move the football on the ground, the under-the-radar pointspread run vs. the Big XII should continue.