Bet of the Day – Oregon State Beavers at TCU Horned Frogs, Sept 4, 2010 7:45 ET

Oregon State Beavers (+13.5) at TCU Horned Frogs (-13.5), Over/Under 49.5

In Arlington tonight, coach Gary Patterson will debut his highly touted TCU Horned Frogs.  The Oregon State Beavers played well on the road last year and should make this a better game than the point spread indicates.  The Beavers debut new starting quarterback Ryan Katz, who played in four games as a backup last year.  The Beavers have several weapons on offense, including the Rodgers brothers.  The Beavers averaged 5.83 yards per play on offense and held opponents to 5.13 yards per play on defense.  The Beavers played a much tougher schedule than TCU last year and will be returning 15 starters.  Two questions need to be answered for the Beavers: 1.  Will QB Ryan Katz be effective in his debut 2. Can they slow down the powerful TCU running game and still defend the pass.

TCU is looking for respect.  A win tonight would be a major step toward that respect and validation.  TCU returns seasoned QB Andy Dalton.  Dalton passed for 2756 yards (8.62 YPP), 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.  Dalton is solid quarterback and adds stability to the offense.  Last year’s leading rusher, Joseph Turner, graduated and TCU will be looking to a trio of runners to fill that hole.  TCU will score points, but how many will they allow.  Last year they held teams to on 12.8 points per game.  The Horned Frogs lost 4 key defensive starters, including All-American Jerry Hughes and secondary players.  They have holes to fill on defense and won’t be able to hold Oregon State to that average.

I simulated the game using last year’s statistics with some minor adjustments for key departures.  The results of the simulation are TCU 29.67 to Oregon State 24.04 for a total of 53.71 points.  The key driver to TCU’s forecasted advantage is their ability to rush the ball and the high yards per pass given up by Oregon State’s defense.  An unknown and single biggest driver in the variance is Oregon State’s passing game.  If Katz is effective and Oregon can move the ball in the air, this will be a close game.  The changing of the guard in TCU’s secondary only makes this more likely.

Since I don’t have current year stats for these teams, I will also rely on the Sagarin Ratings.  TCU is rated 86.53 and Oregon State is rated 81.4.  This is a 5.13 point spread.  With the game in Arlington, this is basically a home game for TCU, so we will give them the additional 3.08 point edge.  Based on the Sagarin Ratings, TCU should be a 8.21 point favorite.

So should we bet on the much-hyped TCU Horned Frogs or the Oregon State mystery team.  Giving up 13.5 points, makes taking TCU a tough proposition.  With Oregon State’s offensive weapons, TCU having some gaps to fill on defense, and the Beaver’s proven play against good teams, I am taking Oregon State plus the points.  Bet on Oregon State Beavers (+13.5).  Follow me on twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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