The underdog selections in this column played ball in Week 3. Last week? Not so much. That’s disappointing, but it doesn’t put a halt to the overall mission. Each week, there are dogs who cover, as well as several who win outright. The goal is to find the ones which are in a good spot to make it happen each week. Here are three to consider for Week 5.
Kansas at TCU, 12 PM, FS1
Spread: TCU -15.5 (-110)
Two weeks ago, Kansas traveled to Boston College for a Friday night tilt as 20-point underdogs. They walked off the field with a 48-24 victory, snapping a ridiculous 48-game road losing streak to Power 5 teams while doing so. The team was home last week and dropped a 5-point decision to West Virginia to fall to 2-2 on the year.
TCU entered last Saturday’s game with visiting SMU at 3-0. The defense had allowed a total of 27 points through three games, and that’s a good part of why they were 8-point favorites at kickoff. The Mustangs offense came to play. The Horned Frogs found themselves in an unexpected shootout, falling by a score of 41-38.
The Jayhawks have a ways to go before they are ready to compete in the Big 12, but head coach Les Miles has done a solid job in his latest stop. Kansas has shown improvement on both sides of the ball, and they are no longer the pushovers they once were. They may not be able to pull off another road upset, but they can cover this hefty spread.
We’re not the only ones that think so either. When lines were released for this tilt, TCU was installed as a 20-point favorite. The market had something to say about that, and the spread now stands as Horned Frogs -15.5. Kansas keeps this game closer than expected as the Miles-inspired turnaround continues.
Wake Forest at Boston College, 3:30 PM, ACC
Spread: Wake Forest -6.5 (-110)
As mentioned, Boston College was served a cold dish of comeuppance by visiting Kansas a couple of weeks back. The team dusted itself and went to Rutgers last weekend, bouncing back with a 30-16 win to run the season record to 3-1.
Wake Forest enters this tilt at a perfect 4-0. The offense is humming along quite nicely and has loads of talent. The Demon Deacons have dropped 38 points or more in three of their four victories. The defense has been pretty solid as well, holding opponents to an average of 20.3 points per contest.
On paper, Wake Forest is looking like the best team in the ACC Atlantic division which is not named Clemson. However, closer inspection is warranted. The team rolled over lesser foes Rice and Elon, but they had all they could handle when they squared off with Utah State and North Carolina.
Both of those games were decided by six points or less. Boston College has already suffered one embarrassing home loss this season. That’s what’s known as a wake-up call for a team that hopes to secure bowl eligibility. They cover the big spread, and an outright upset wouldn’t be stunning either.
Mississippi State at Auburn, 7 PM, ESPN
Spread: Auburn -10.5 (-110)
Mississippi State hits the road for the first time this season with a record of 3-1. In their three victories, they have handled business by 10 points or more. The defeat came at the hands of a Kansas State team which entered as 7-point underdogs and walked away with a 31-24 win. That outcome isn’t as surprising as it sounds.
In fact, the Wildcats were one of our upset specials back in Week 3. Similar to in-state rival Kansas, the team has shown solid signs of improvement in 2019. The Bulldogs found themselves in a dogfight with a tougher than expected team, and they came up short.
Auburn has been one of the most impressive teams in the nation. Since coming back to win a thriller over Oregon in the season opener, the team has won another three in a row, including last week’s 8-point win at Texas A&M.
The Tigers are rolling and potential contenders in the loaded SEC West. As the 10.5-point spread indicates, not much is thought of Mississippi State as of right now. However, a closer look at the stats tells us these two squads aren’t miles apart.
Mississippi State averages 32.0 points per game versus 33.5 for Auburn. They’ve allowed 21.8 points per contest, while the Tigers have given up 15.8. Auburn gets the strength of schedule edge for now, but both of these clubs are beginning to traverse their way through the daunting SEC. The hosts are the better overall team and should get the win, but the Bulldogs are going to make them work for it.