This Saturday the Kansas State Wildcats will host the Baylor Bears in an intriguing Big 12 matchup. Kickoff is set for 3:30 EST at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and will be televised on ESPN2.

Oddsmakers opened up this game at Kansas State -3.5, but early money on the Bears has this under the key number of 3 with the Wildcats sitting at -2 and -2.5. The total opened at 51.5 and it’s still there at some place, while others have moved to 51.

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Baylor vs Kansas State Vegas Preview & Game Predictions

Baylor Bears (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)

The Bears opened up Big 12 play with a 23-21 win at home against Iowa State. Baylor was actually a small 2.5-point dog in the fight. They will definitely take the win, but that was almost a crushing defeat, as they blew a 20-0 4th quarter lead and needed a late field goal to secure the victory after ISU took a 21-20 lead.

Head coach Matt Rhule was awarded a contract extension through 2027 after the win over ISU. Baylor went just 1-11 in his first year on the job and improved to 7-6 in year two. Not only are the Bears 4-0 to start out 2019, but they look like they will be in that mix for runner-up in the Big 12 and a spot in the Big 12 title game.

There’s definitely a noticable difference to how Baylor is winning under Rhule than their glory years under Briles. Bears aren’t just trying to outscore teams, they are winning games with their defense. They are 19th in the country giving up just 16.3 ppg and while the majority if the schedule has been weak, they showed a lot in that win over the Cyclones.

Kansas State Wildcats (3-1, 0-1 Big 12)

The Wildcats suffered their first loss of 2019 in a 26-13 defeat at Oklahoma State last week. K-State didn’t really pose a threat, as they trailed 23-3 going into the 4th quarter and were outgained 526 to 244. Books were expecting more, as the Wildcats went off as just a 4-point road dog.

Offensively that was easily the worst showing of the season for Kansas State. They were just 11-23 passing for 118 yards and managed just 126 rushing yards on 32 attempts. Defensively they again struggled to stop the run. After allowing 200+ on the ground to Mississippi State they let Oklahoma State rush for 373 yards and 8.5 yards/carry.

Matchup History

Baylor snapped a two-game skid to the Wildcats with a 37-34 win at home last year, but it was K-State who covered as a 3.5-point dog. Last time the Wildcats hosted the Bears in 2017, they won 33-20, but Baylor covered as a 14.5-point dog. Underdog has covered 4 straight in the series.

Vegas Free NCAAF Betting Pick: K-State -2

My early lean here would be to lay less than a field goal at home with the Wildcats. I get the underdog has covered in each of the last 4 meetings between these two, I just feel there’s too much value with K-State at this price to pass up.

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As much as I like Rhule and the direction Baylor is going (was on the Bears last week against ISU), I’ve really been impressed with what I’ve seen out of this K-State team under new head coach Chris Klieman. For those that don’t know, Klieman won 4 national championships in 5 seasons at the FCS level with North Dakota State.

There’s no denying that the Wildcats got outplayed by Oklahoma State, but winning on the road in Stillwater is not easy, especially in a night game. Cowboys were also playing inspired off a loss to Texas. I think we are going to see that script reversed this week with K-State feeding off the home crowd in a game we know we are getting their best after that ugly loss.

Another thing is the Wildcats defense simply had no answer for the Cowboys Chuba Hubbard, who had 296 yards on just 25 attempts. Hubbard leads the country with 938 yards (next best is J.K. Dobbins at 654). Baylor doesn’t have that kind of talent at running back.

The Bears come in averaging a healthy 216 rushing yards/game, but most of that came against Stephen F Austin and UTSA. They had just 124 rushing yards on 35 attempts against Rice and 104 yards in 34 attempts against ISU.

Charlie Brewer has been solid for the Bears, but K-State’s pass defense ranks 2nd in the country giving up just 127.3 ypg.

This is also the first real road test for Baylor. Their only other road game was at Rice and while they pulled off the dogs after getting up 21-0, they also only beat the Owls by a final score of 21-13. I just think the Bears are getting a little too much respect in this one. Give me the Wildcats -2.