CFB: Monster Mountain West Wagering Matchup

CFB: Monster Mountain West Wagering Matchup
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CFB: Monster Mountain West Wagering Matchup

Both Mountain West front-runners TCU and Utah are off treacherous road games and meet in one what is the biggest game to date in the conference. This is Act Two in what is supposed to be a trilogy


Both Mountain West front-runners TCU and Utah are off treacherous road games and meet in one what is the biggest game to date in the conference. This is Act Two in what is supposed to be a trilogy; however a bunch of Horned Frogs could turn Act 3 into dinner theater at Holiday Inn at Salt Lake City. A whole group of Utes will have something to say about this, seeing they are the team that has come to this point unscathed and should be ornerier than a Utah ski resort owner waiting for the first snow fall, being a home underdog in this meaningful matchup.

Utah (9-0, 4-4 ATS) sneaked by New Mexico 13-10 as 7.5-point favorites, in spite of a -2 turnover margin. The Utes has been guided all season by the steadiness of senior quarterback Brian Johnson, as he has led Utah to better than 400 yards total offense and kept mistakes to a minimum. His ability to stay away from those momentum-changing plays will be critical in showdowns against TCU (9-1, 7-2 ATS) tonight and BYU later in the month. Two big differences this year compared to the last few for coach Kyle Whittingham. Wide receiver David Reed has given Utah a speed element it has lacked, that element seems to have opened up the rest of the offensive attack. When he's in the game, defenses have to pay attention. This year's defense has been ranked in the Top 10 in yards allowed almost all season and has given up just 266.2 yards per game. Utah is 6-0 ATS in home games in the second half of the season over the last three seasons.

The Texas Christian defense is the one of best in the country. They are second behind USC in total defense, allowing 214.5 yards per game. The Horned Frogs are third in the nation in points allowed (10.8 per game) and in seven different games they have allowed seven points or less and only in three games has the opposition managed to score two or more touchdowns. They are a wrecking crew (with apologies to Texas A&M) against the run, holding the opposition to 38.9 net rushing yards and 1.4 yards per attempt, easily both the best in the FBS football.

TCU is 14-4 ATS after allowing 125 or less rushing yards in two straight games.

Offensively, the Horned Frogs continue to improve, led by quarterback Andy Dalton. Some believed their assignment at UNLV might be a challenge, however the rubbed-out the Rebels 44-14. TCU has long been noted for its prowess rushing the ball and this season is no different at over 224 yards rushing a game. Dalton has found a receiver he really works well with in Jimmy Young. With the team flat against Wyoming recently and not running the ball well, Dalton and Young connected five times for a school-record 226 yards and three touchdowns to propel TCU to victory. They are 11-3 ATS after out-gaining opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game. has TCU as two-point favorite, up from opening number of -1, with total of 43. As the Horned Frogs proved against BYU, they will have a huge speed advantage. Their defense has blazing athlete's at all 11 positions and their defensive front in ferocious in rushing the passer. Utah is only average in pass blocking, which could lead to big problems against a team that is 9-0 ATS off two wins against Mountain West rivals.
It would not be wise to sell Utah short. They have won 10 in a row dating back to last season and 17 of 18. They have won nine in a row (5-3 ATS) at Rice-Eccles Stadium and TCU coach Gary Patterson understands how good Utah is. "You always want to play in the big arena," Patterson said. "Utah is a good football team - lot better at home. We've got a lot of work to do. We have to get everyone healed up and ready to go." The Horned Frogs are just 4-8-1 ATS in November road games.
Utah is 4-1 SU and ATS versus TCU and has the home field advantage. Don't expect many points unless there are several turnovers, since these teams have only combined for 39 points per game in their meetings. If the game is close the Utes have edge with kicker Louie Sakoda.

CBS College Sports has the broadcasting rights to this contest which starts at 8 Eastern. Utah is 11-3, but just 7-6 ATS on weekdays games since 2003.

StatFox Forecaster Utah covers
StatFox Power Line Pick
SF Outplay Factor TCU by 2

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