No. 5 Auburn Tigers (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. No. 20 Kansas State Wildcats (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date and Time: Thursday, September 18th, 2014. 7:30PM EST
Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium Manhattan, K.S.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Aub -9.5/KSU +9.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
Thursday night football returns in a big way this week when the no. 5 Auburn Tigers take the road to meet the no. 20 Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The 5th ranked Tigers are among the favorites in the SEC, which currently houses 7 teams ranked inside the top 15, to make a run at this year’s first college football playoff. After a National Championship Game appearance in 2013, the Tigers have started off strong again outscoring opponents in their first two games by a combined score of 104-34. However this Thursday’s trip to Manhattan, K.S promises to be the Tigers first big test of the season.
With all the talk last week surrounding the Big 12 and the SEC, mainly derived by Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops comments about the SEC’s “supposed” superiority complex, this will be another interesting pairing to watch this week when the Wildcats host one of the big boys from the SEC. After winning each of their first two games, both Kansas State and Auburn had an extra week to prepare for this Thursday’s battle. While Auburn cruised in their first two contests, the Wildcats nearly stumbled early in their week 2 trip to Iowa State. The Wildcats trailed Iowa State 28-13 at one point during the first half before putting together a late 4th quarter rally behind the arm and legs of quarterback Jake Waters in a dramatic 32-28 comeback win.
The Wildcats enter this Thursday’s meeting with Auburn as 9.5 point underdogs marking just the 2nd time in 3 years that Kansas State has been a underdog at home. While Kansas State has failed to cover the mark in 4 of their last 6 games, there are much better trends to support the Wildcats cause as an underdog under head coach Bill Snyder. In fact, Kansas State has won 5 of their last 6 games outright as an underdog under Snyder at home in Manhattan.
However if Kansas State is going to pull off the upset on Thursday, they are going to have to get a better team effort on the offensive side of the football. The Cyclones defense stifled the Wildcats in week 2 before a couple of big plays sparked the comeback. At times, the offense appeared lost and quarterback Jake Waters kept the chains moving by picking up first downs with his feet. Waters rushed for 138 yards and two scores in the win against Iowa State and while they will need another strong performance from their quarterback again this week; the Wildcats will need to find some additional ammo as well.
Everyone knows that Auburn can put up a lot of points. Both Auburn and Kansas State run similar style offenses that rely heavily on the run. The Tigers currently have the 7th ranked rushing offense in college football averaging 330 yards per game on the ground while Kansas State ranks 32nd. While Auburn’s rushing offense relies primarily on the option read with quarterback Nick Marshall, Kansas State’s offense relies more heavily on the spread option. Still, both offenses have the same concept in mind as they try to get their talented runners the ball in space. The Tigers especially have a ton of talent in their back field with running backs Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant. Both backs have averaged over 6 yards per carry this season and have playmaking potential. I don’t think many would argue with Auburn’s talent level on offense and advantage they may have in terms of explosiveness. However, the Tigers are still vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball. If Kansas State’s offense can help Waters, perhaps they can put their selves into position for a monumental size victory.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Kansas State has a much better football team than they showed in week 2 but it may take the Wildcats some time to reach their potential. On the other hand, Auburn appears to be in mid-season form. Despite this being their first big road test of 2014, their talent will shine on Thursday. Back the team that has won 13 straight ATS, the longest streak in the FBS, again this Thursday. Take Auburn -9.5 before the line heads further north!