#21 TEXAS TECH (-21.5) 37 Texas A&M 23
Texas Tech is proving to be a very good team, but losing quarterback Steven Sheffield makes the Red Raiders less dangerous offensively. Sheffield took over the starter Taylor Potts the last 2 1/2 games after Potts sustained a concussion against New Mexico and Sheffield has played so well that Potts was kept on the bench. With Sheffield out for a few weeks with an injured foot the job belongs to Potts again.
Sheffield has been an incredible 2.8 yards per pass play better than average on his 109 pass plays this season (8.8 yppp against teams that would allow 6.0 yppp to an average quarterback), but Potts is only 0.2 yppp better than average on 244 pass plays (7.0 yppp against teams that would allow 6.8 yppp), so don't expect Texas Tech to be as good offensively as they've been the last few weeks with Sheffield at the helm.
Tech is still 0.7 yppl better than average and should move the ball well against a sub-par Texas A&M pass defense that's allowed 6.2 yppp for the season (against teams that would average just 5.6 yppp against an average team) and been shredded for 9.8 yppp the last 3 weeks by Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
My math model projects 500 total yards at 6.7 yppl for Texas Tech in this game, but Texas A&M is not bad offensively and can certainly score enough against a solid Red Raiders' defense to stay within a big number - especially given the strong situation that applies to them this week. My math model actually favors Texas Tech by 21 points, so this play has nothing to do with the match-up or line value. The Strong Opinion on Texas A&M has everything to do with a very strong 51-7 ATS big road underdog bounce-back situation that plays on teams that just got whipped the previous week when visiting a team that is on a winning streak.
Texas A&M is not as bad as last week's 14-62 loss to Kansas State suggests and Texas Tech is not as good as last week's 31-10 win at Nebraska makes them look (they actually only out-gained Nebraska 4.5 yppl to 4.2 yppl in that game). The 51-7 ATS situation is 36-1 ATS since 1995 and 13-1 ATS for me since I discovered it in 2004. Texas Tech, meanwhile, applies to a very negative 16-61 ATS big home favorite letdown situation that is based on last week's upset win.
The two situations applying to this game have intersected 6 other times and the record is a perfect 6-0 ATS with the average line being +18.7 points and the average point margin being just 3.3 points (an average cover of 15.4 points) with none of the 6 big favorites winning by 10 points or more.
I was waiting to see the status of 3 year starting free safety Jordan Pugh, who missed the Oklahoma State game two weeks ago in which the Aggies allowed 279 passing yards at 11.2 yards per pass play. Pugh was listed as questionable early in the week, but has just been upgraded to probable, which makes me feel much better about A&M's ability to stay close here.
I'll consider Texas A&M a Strong Opinion at +20 points or more based on the strong situation.
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