Valero Alamo Bowl
The Alamo Bowl should be fun in that it pits two Conference title losers against each other, both of which finished with respectable seasons. But while Stanford had higher expectations than TCU entering the season, that won’t matter here. The Horned Frogs were small -2.5 point favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook for the Game in San Antonio.
TCU was in this Game two years ago and had the improbable comeback against Oregon, winning 47-41 in three overtimes. TCU also has the proximity edge with just a Four-hOur drive away from the stadium. The spread in this Game isn’t much because these teams play a similar brand of football, winning Games through defense and doing just enough on offense.
against better offenses like that of USC and Washington State, that hasn’t worked every Game for Stanford, while the same can be said for TCU in its two blowout losses to Oklahoma. But against regular competition, it was defense that won out and the Horned Frogs have been better in that aspect.
TCU has the better defense, but Stanford’s offense has gotten things going in the final month of the season, which could help here. since turning to sophomore K.J. Costello at quarterback, the Cardinal have been a better team, from dropping 30 points on Washington to scoring 38 against Notre Dame. Needless to say, but this isn’t the same offense that scored 15 points against Oregon State. In addition to Costello (11 TDs, 2 INTs), the Cardinal also have the best player in this Game in Bryce Love, who should be healthy after dealing with a sprained ankle for the second half of the season. He still finished second in Heisman voting and had 1,973 yards and 17 touchdowns. His situation should be monitored after Christian McCaffrey sat out Stanford’s bowl Game last season.
The only Games that TCU had trouble defensively were in the ones against Oklahoma because of Baker Mayfield. Stopping the run was never a problem for this group so the matchup with Love will be power against power. The Frogs allowed just 100 rushing yards per Game on 2.9 yards per carry.
On the other side, Stanford was surprisingly mediocre defensively even though it still only allowed 21.5 points per Game. The Cardinal gave up 4.5 yards per carry and that’s where TCU will attack. It’s unknown if top running back Darius Anderson will play due to a foot injury, but senior Kyle Hicks is plenty experienced to receive most of the work load. And then there’s Kenny Hill, who has quietly put together a consistent season with 21 touchdowns and only six picks. He’s been much safer with the ball, which has led to fewer turnovers and that’s why TCU is in this situation. Similar to Costello, he isn’t going to break open the Game with his arm, but he at least has the experience and has shown he can go for a big outing when needed.
It makes sense to back Stanford given how it’s played with Costello at quarterback, but neither Gary Patterson nor David Shaw are easy to bet against. The Cardinal have covered in their last Four against the Big 12 and are 6-2 ATS in their last eight bowl Games. The Horned Frogs are 2-9 ATS at their last 11 at a neutral site and 2-6 ATS in their last eight bowl Games.
Our Pick – Stanford +3 -118