NCAAF Betting – Kansas State at (8) Stanford

Kansas State Wildcats at (8) Stanford Cardinal (-16, 47.5 o/u)

A Pac-12 contender with national title hopes will look to get 2016 started strong this Friday when the no. 8 Stanford Cardinal (12-2 SU, 10-4 ATS in 2015) host the Big 12’s Kansas State Wildcats (6-7 SU, 6-7 ATS) at Stanford Stadium (9:00 PM Eastern).

 

 

Led by Heisman almost-favorite Christian McCaffrey, the Cardinal are coming off a strong season that saw them win the Pac-12 North and the Pac-12 title game (41-22 over USC). They narrowly missed out on the College Football Playoff, but got some solace with a 45-16 domination over Iowa in the Rose Bowl.

McCaffrey set the NCAA single-season record for all-purpose yards last season, breaking the mark set by the great Barry Sanders. The back piled up 3,864 total yards, including a school-record 2,109 on the ground. He really was Mr. Everything for the Cardinal offense, also hauling in a team-high 45 passes.

Both teams will start an inexperienced pivot in 2016. For Stanford, Ryan Burns gets the nod, but Keller Chryst will also get a chance (to hand the ball to McCaffrey). Said head coach David Shaw, “Ryan Burns will start and play a good chunk of the game … Keller Chryst will play as well. We’re going to play both guys and try to win a game. There hasn’t been a huge separation between the two. Both guys have played extremely well. Ryan has been enough ahead to get the nod.”

Burns is actually a senior, but has only attempted seven passes in his Stanford “career.” (Can you call it a career when you don’t get a dime?)

On defense, the Cardinal will feel the loss of linebacker Blake Martinez, who led the Pac-12 with 141 tackles last season. Shaw will lean heavily on defensive lineman Solomon Thomas to keep the front-seven fearsome against the run.

K-State’s front-seven is arguably the team’s best asset. It returns leading tackler Elijah Lee along with Charmeachealle Moore, who finished last season very strong. The unit will have a hard time containing McCaffrey, but all-conference safety Dante Barnett should be able to lend a hand, knowing that Stanford is going to be run-heavy.

On offense, the Wildcats will look to QB Jesse Ertz. He won the starting job last year but suffered a season-ending ACL tear on the first play of the season.

Head coach Bill Snyder managed to sneak his team into a bowl game in 2015 thanks to winning three straight to close the year. They were crushed 45-23 by Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl, though, putting a disappointing end to a thoroughly mediocre season that saw the Wildcats win just three conference games.

Like Stanford, K-State is going to be a run-first team. Snyder has a decent backfield stable that includes returnees Charles Jones, Dalvin Warmack, and Justin Silmon. The trio combined for over 1,500 rushing yards and 20 TDs last year.

Both teams are a little different this year than last – that’s just the nature of college football – but there are enough similarities to make some of the trends relevant. The Wildcats are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games and also 1-4 in their last five against the Pac-12 (though that one dates back pretty far). Stanford is a solid 9-3 in its last 12 as a favorite. The Cardinal are laying a decent 16 points, but I like McCaffrey to get his Heisman chase started with a bang and pile up the yards against a mediocre K-State defense. Take the Cardinal in a rout.

Pick: Stanford (-16). 


Photo Credit: Brian Cantoni (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Frank Lorenzo

MTS co-founder Frank “Let It Ride” Lorenzo has been betting on sports since he was legally allowed to do so. (Did he do so before then, too? No comment.) He enjoys very strong coffee, neon lights, and passing on his wealth of betting knowledge to anyone who will listen.