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Texas hosts Texas Tech on Thanksgiving Night in a game that really has many story lines which are more interesting than the game itself, all of which could impact the outcome, making it a tricky one to handicap. The Longhorns are currently -4.5 point favorites at 5 dimes with a total of 66.
Both teams have 7 wins but they got there in much different ways. Texas Tech started the year 7-0 and on everyone's radar. Their first 5 games came against cupcakes, then they stepped up in class just a tad and we saw a couple of close wins against Iowa State and West Virginia. Then they hit the meat of their schedule and have since dropped 4 straight with the last 3 not even close.
Texas started their year 1-2 and then rattled off 6 straight wins before losing to Oklahoma State 38-13. In those 6 games are a couple of wins against teams that had no problem taking care of Texas Tech. Those teams would be Kansas State and Oklahoma.
Seems like two teams going in opposite directions and when you handicap this game statistically, it's hard to come up with any other recommendation than the Longhorns. They are the better team, with the better numbers and more momentum despite their recent setback to Okie State.
But it might not be that easy. QB David Ash is out for the season and Case McCoy is certainly no Colt. He's thrown more interceptions than TD passes and has simply been inconsistent. Adding to the Longhorns troubles is that they appear to have a lame duck coach. Most believe the Oklahoma State game was Browns last chance to save his job despite the fact that the Longhorns still have a shot to grab a piece of the Big 12 Title.
Will the Longhorns have their coaches back? Or have they already quit on him with that Oklahoma State loss? This was a Longhorns team loaded with talent and with high expectations at the beginning of the season. Whether or not they have anything left in the tank or whether they even care is what could decide this game. Remember as well that there is more at stake than the game and the Big 12 title implications. Recruiting plays a role here as well. Texas might be a hard sell to recruits with a loss here and a coach on his way out the door.
All we can do is speculate as far as the mental state of the Longhorns. Strictly from a statistical handicapping standpoint, Texas is the better team here and should be able to bounce back after the Oklahoma State loss and grab a home win. Our model agrees with that sentiment, predicting scores of 39-33, 45-26 and 46-33 using full season, last 4 games and last 7 games as parameters. Notice the margins increase when using more recent results. Also note that there is a turnover margin difference between these two teams of 19 as the Red Raiders are -12 and Texas is +7. If all things were equal, which we don't think they are, that stat alone would be enough to keep us off Texas Tech.
Nothing strong here as there are more question marks surrounding this game than we care to deal with, but we'll side with what looks to be the better team that also has the better momentum despite their most recent loss. Texas has won 4 straight in this series so we'll call for #5. Texas -4.5
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