BYU Cougars vs. TCU Horned Frogs Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
|BYU Cougars (2-2 straight up this season, 3-1 against the spread) +5 ½, o/u 46 ½ at TCU Horned Frogs (3-0, 2-0), 6 p.m. Eastern Thursday, Versus Network
by Ultimatecapper.com StaffThe Texas Christian Horned Frogs carry the longest winning streak in Division 1 (13 games) into their game with the BYU Cougars in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams Thursday night in Fort Worth.
TCU went 8-0 and won the conference title in its first season in the Mountain West last year. BYU finished in a tie for second place at 5-3.
After beating Baylor and D2 UC-Davis to open the season, TCU beat high-powered Texas Tech 12-3 two weeks ago. In two games vs. D1 opponents this season, the Frogs have allowed a total of 10 points and 85 rushing yards. And the TCU defense held the Red Raiders aerial circus to just 204 yards on 47 attempts.
BYUs senior starting QB John Beck injured his ankle two weeks ago in a tough 30-23 double-OT loss at Boston College, missed last weeks easy win over Utah State, and is listed as both probable and questionable for Thursday nights game. The Cougars are 13-16 straight up in Becks 29 career starts.
Jason Beck (no relation to John) filled in at QB for BYU in that 38-0 whitewash of pathetic Utah State last week, going 20/28/305, 1/1.
BYU led the Frogs 14-0 right off the bat in their MWC bout last season, held a 34-16 lead in the third quarter and still clung to a 41-29 advantage with just over eight minutes to go in the game. But TCU rallied to take a late lead, and the Cougars had to kick a field goal at the buzzer just to get to overtime. Both teams then scored TDs in the first extra session, but the Frogs converted their extra-point attempt while BYU failed, giving TCU a 51-50 victory.
The Horned Frogs outrushed the Cougars that day 127-97, but most of that game was played in the air. The two teams combined for 101 pass attempts and 865 passing yards.
TCU won that game outright as three-point road underdogs, and the game easily roamed over the posted total of 46½.
The Frogs went 5-0 straight up at home last year, 3-1 against the spread as home favorites.
The Cougars went 3-2 straight up on the road last season, 3-2 ATS and 1-1 ATS as road dogs.
BYU returns eight starters on offense from a season ago, but just three on defense. And the Cougar offensive line is already banged up a bit this season.
The Horned Frogs returned six starters on both sides of the ball from last season. But two of TCUs top RBs, Lonta Hobbs and Robert Merrill, are having a hard time shaking off injuries, so the backfield load has been carried by sophomore Aaron Brown and Detrick James so far this season.
BYU last played just five days ago in that rout of Utah State. But the Frogs havent played in 12 days, their last action being that win over Texas Tech.
TCU is 11-0 in QB Jeff Ballards starts, a streak that began in Week 5 last season.
The Sagarin Predictor ratings at USAToday.com list the Horned Frogs 14th in D1 at 85.5, while the Cougars come in at #35 at 77.0.
TCU was originally posted as seven-point chalk for Thursdays game, but that number has been bet down to 5½.
The Ultimatecapper Pick: We like BYU plus the 6 here.