TCU has spent the last two weeks hearing about how good it is and how it’s the biggest challenger to Oklahoma in the Big 12, but it’s time to get back to the field. The Horned Frogs got a nice upset at OK State and there’s still a long way to go. Even against a respectable West Virginia team at home, TCU was a large -13.5 point home favorite early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
From the outside, this line looks extremely fishy. TCU has a couple nice wins on the Schedule at Arkansas and OK State, but nothing completely amazing. The win against the Cowboys is reasonable considering OK State lacks any kind of defense. To be close to a two-touchdown favorite against a team that was projected to finish in the same spot in the Big 12 before the season is a bit of a stretch.
West Virginia hasn’t been terrible, either. Losing to Virginia Tech is a respectable loss and the Mountaineers took care of business winning at Kansas in their only Conference Game. And with how this Game went last year, this line is even more questionable. WVU did whatever they wanted in a 34-10 route as Kenny Hill struggled to get anything going for TCU.
Of course, things are a bit different this season as West Virginia’s defense isn’t as good and TCU’s may be slightly better. But that’s still not a lot to build on. In fact, WVU’s offense may be even better with Will Grier at quarterback as the Mountaineers have plowed through opponents in their last three, albeit against weaker opponents.
Grier already has 13 touchdowns and thrown for at least 300 yards every Game to go with 100-plus yards on the ground. That combined with running back Justin Crawford (451 yards, 6 TDs) has led to a potent offense that not many have noticed and that could be a big part in covering this Game for the road team. TCU’s defense has been good, but they’ve still allowed 30-plus points in back-to-back Games. And while they kept OK State mostly in check, Grier provides mobility that Mason Rudolph doesn’t have and that could be another difference maker.
On the other side, this TCU offense still has to have tempered expectations. SCoring big on teams like SMU and OK State isn’t the greatest thing, and the 28 points against Arkansas looks small compared to the 50 points Texas A&M scored on the Razorbacks.
TCU’s offense is still the same as last year’s group with Kenny Hill leading the way. His 72.7% completion percentage is impressive, but it’s that high because of Games against Jackson State and SMU. In the wins over Arkansas and OK State, Hill completed less than 68% of his passes to go with just one touchdown, two interceptions and 50 rushing yards. The Frogs have built their offense more around a ground Game led by Darius Anderson, who has 422 yards on 6.2 yards per carry. Anderson will be the key in this one as he was in the OK State matchup.
If the Horned Frogs can run the ball like that again, then a cover will definitely be attainable. And running on this defense should be possible considering the 367 yards Kansas just busted out for against the Mountaineers. TCU backers will live with the ground Game, but stopping Grier and the WVU offense won’t be easy.
The Mountaineers are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 road Games and just 2-10 ATS in their last 12 following a bye week. The Horned Frogs are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 Conference Games and a surprising 1-10 ATS in their last 11 home Games.
Our Pick – TCU -13