Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-1 SU, 3-0-1 ATS) vs. No. 5 Baylor Bears (3-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, October 3rd, 2015, 3:30 pm EST
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
TV: ABC, ESPN2, DirecTV 209
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TTU +17/BAY -17
Over/Under Total: 89
The 5th-ranked Baylor Bears will face their first true test of the young 2015 season this Saturday afternoon on ABC when the Bears face a in-state rival in the form of the upset-minded Texas Tech Red Raiders in a neutral-site Big 12 Conference game played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Baylor will be trying to avoid the upset bug that the Red Raiders sprung on Arkansas earlier this season and nearly sprung on the 4th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs last weekend. Baylor, coming off a 70-17 snoozer against Rice last weekend, will put their high-profile offense to the test this week in what is sure to be another near 100-point game in the house that Jerry built with the giant Jumbotron at midfield.
Texas Tech will of course be coming off their heart breaking last-second loss to fellow in-state rival TCU in an instant classic, tipped-pass touchdown ending that gave the Horned Frogs a, 55-52, victory. How the Red Raiders recover emotionally after a loss like the TCU one will be a huge factor in this game, almost as important or more so than how the Xs and Os and game plans matchup for this game.
After such a giant letdown in the final seconds the oddsmakers out in Las Vegas are expecting Texas Tech to struggle to recover this week, setting the opening point spread with Baylor as huge 17-point favorites. Of course, bettors (especially the public square ones) love offense and theres no doubt that Baylor and their top-ranked offense and their top-ranked 64 points per game draw a lot of interest at the betting window, so oddsmakers have to adjust the spread accordingly. The opening over/under total of 89 should give everyone an idea of the fact that a track meet could break out during this game Saturday afternoon with a race to see who can get into the end zone faster.
With averages of 767 yards a game (387 passing) and 64 points theres no doubt that Art Briles and his offensive staff at Baylor have an exciting scheme to watch. This year its junior Seth Russell putting up playstation-like numbers at quarterback, with six TD throws on seven drives in the Rice victory and 15 touchdowns and a 12.44 yards per attempt average over three games thus far for the Bears. The Texas Tech defense certainly has given up their share of points already, including 45 to Sam Houston State in the opener, 55 to TCU last week and 48 to Baylor in the 2014 regular season finale.
The Red Raiders best hope is to match the Bears score for score for as long as they can and win the game of attrition, and QB Patrick Mahomes seems to be up to the task for Texas Tech. The sophomore has already thrown for 1,421 yards and 161 attempts in just four games (40 per game). The Baylor defense has looked tough against SMU, Lamar and Rice, but lets remember that it came against SMU, Lamar and Rice and not jump to too many conclusions based on a short (and weak) sample size.
In last years Baylor-Texas Tech shootout Mahomes threw for 598 yards and six scores as the Red Raiders outgained the Bears 712-to-547 yards in the game. But the Red Raiders couldnt stop the Baylor running game, as the Bears pounded it 54 times for 255 yards and Shock Linwood carried the load leading Baylor to the slim, 48-46, win. Last years win ran the Bears winning streak over Texas Tech to four straight going back to the 2010 season.
Baylor is also in the midst of a good run against the spread, going 5-2 ATS in the last seven games played head-to-head against the Red Raiders. The neutral site factor also produces a few interesting betting trends, with Texas Tech a meager 4-10 ATS in their last 14 played at a neutral venue. While both teams also tend to play over the total at netrual venues, with the Red Raiders over at a 8-1 clip and Baylor going over at a 4-0 in their last four pace.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If you like offense this is your game on Saturday, as both Russell and Mahomes should put up ridiculous stats in this one. For me, the jury is still out in regards to the Baylor defense. Asking them to stop Texas Tech enough times to cover a big number like 17 points that Im not ready to hang my hat one just yet. Baylor wins in a shootout, but Ill take Texas Tech plus +17 points as my wager.
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