This Saturday the Iowa State Cyclones will host the TCU Horned Frogs in Big 12 play. Kickoff is set for 12:00 EST at Jack Trice Stadium and will be televised on ESPN2.

Oddsmakers opened up this line at ISU -3, but early money has the Cyclones now at -3.5 and even -4 at some spots. The total opened at 46 and has been bet down. I see 45 as well as 44.5.

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TCU vs Iowa State Vegas Betting Predictions and Game Preview

TCU Horned Frogs (3-1, 1-0 Big 12)

The Horned Frogs bounced back from that upset loss at home to SMU with a 51-14 win and cover (-14.5) at home against Kansas. It was over shortly after it started, as TCU led 21- at the end of the 1st quarter and 3-0 at the half. They outgained the Jayhawks 625 to 159 (+466) with a 29-8 edge in first downs.

Clearly head coach Gary Patterson got his players attention in practice after the 38-41 loss to the Mustangs as a 7.5-point home favorite. I still think there’s some uncertainty with this team. Their only other significant game was at Purdue and while they won going away 34-13, the Boilermakers were without their starting quarterback.

One thing to note with TCU is looks like true freshman Max Duggan has won the starting quarterback job and will likely no longer be splitting reps with grad transfer Alex Delton. Duggan has a perfect 7-0 TD-INT ratio, but has only completed 53.4% of his attempts and is averaging just 5.9 yards/completion.

Iowa State Cyclones (2-2, 0-1 Big 12)

The Cyclones enter off a 23-21 loss at Baylor this past Saturday in their Big 12 opener. Iowa State’s offense that put up 72-points the week before against ULM was non-existent for 3 quarters against the Bears. Baylor led 20-0 going into the 4th quarter, but the Cyclones stormed back to take a 21-20 lead with just under 4 minutes to play. Bears would answer right back on their next drive with the game-winning 38-yard field goal with 21 seconds on the clock.

Brock Purdy has a fine day throwing the ball, completing 27 of 45 for 342 yards and 2 scores, but Iowa State provided zero threat of a running game. Cyclones had just 63 yards on 28 rush attempts, good for just 2.3 yards/carry.

That loss really put the pressure on ISU going forward. Cyclones can maybe afford 1 more loss in conference play if they want to make that Big 12 title game.

Matchup History

These two have played a couple of defensive battles the past two years with each team winning at home. The Cyclones won 14-7 as a 7.5-point home dog in 2017 and TCU won 17-14 as a 11-point home favorite last year. Bof those went UNDER the total and that makes the UNDER 5-1 in the last 6 overall.

College Football Free Betting Predictions: TCU +3.5

My early lean here would be take the points with TCU at home. I think a lot of people are going to be tempted to back Iowa State as a short home favorite, but this Horned Frogs team is starting to grow on me.

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I was against TCU as a big home favorite against SMU, as I thought the Mustangs were a lot better than people realized at the time. I didn’t think they would win, but I’m starting to thing SMU might be the real deal and TCU just wasn’t expecting them to be that good.

My big concern with Iowa State is how they have struggled to score when they aren’t able to run the ball. They had just 17 points at home against Iowa and rushed for only 91 yards on 19 attempts. They had just 63 yards on the ground against Baylor and were shutout until the 4th quarter. Both games they threw for over 300 yards. That tells me they are moving it from the 2o to the 20, but not converting like they should in the red-zone.

Also the 41 points that TCU allowed to SMU is a bit misleading. Mustangs had two scoring drives of less than 5 yards in the 1st quarter. They kept Buechele under 300 yards passing and held SMU to just 2.5 yards/carry.

TCU has always field a strong special teams under head coach Gary Patterson. I just think they are going to have the better field position throughout this game and will likely take advantage of a mistake-prone ISU offense that has turned it over twice in each of their last 3 games. Give me TCU +3.5!