Alamo Bowl Odds & Preview — Stanford Cardinal vs. TCU Horned Frogs

One of the interesting things about Thursday night’s Alamo Bowl game is the fact that it will showcase one of the most electrifying players in the country. And to make even better, he will have to perform against one of the nation’s best defensive units. That’s basically the scenario as the Stanford Cardinal go to the Lone Star State to face off against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Alamo Bowl, kicking off at 9 PM ET at the Alamodome in San Antonio. This game is going to be televised live by ESPN, and if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can place wagers even in real time after the game gets underway, through the magic of Live Betting Ultra.
Of course, when we talk about that electrifying player, we are referring to Bryce Love, who was nothing less than the Heisman Trophy runner-up. Love, as we speak, has rushed for 1973 yards and 17 touchdowns, with an insane 8.3-yard average. And he has done some of this as he was less than 100%, as he continues to deal with an ankle injury. Yes, they have had some rest since playing last – the December 1 Pac 12 title game against USC – but this is the kind of lingering injury that could affect Love for quite some time, even through the NFL Combine or his pro-day workouts.
That is, if he decides to declare for the NFL Draft. Seriously, there couldn’t be any better time for him to do it, even with the injury, because his stock is at an all-time high. But the remember what happened last season, when Christian McCaffrey, the do-everything player for the Cardinal, sat out the Sun Bowl game because he chose instead to prepare for the draft process? Love obviously isn’t going to do that, but we would expect that if his injury got exacerbated, head coach David Shaw would not leave him out there too long and risk danger of compromising him.
TCU has an injured running back to worry about as well. Darius Anderson is by far their most explosive alternative in the backfield, and he is nursing a foot injury, but there is the possibility could be available. That decision will be made by the Frogs’ head coach, Gary Patterson, shortly before kickoff. Anderson averaged six yards per carry this season, and if he can’t go, Kyle Hicks, who is pretty capable, will be the featured running back.
In the Alamo Bowl odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, TCU is favored:
TCU Horned Frogs -3 (-120)
Stanford Cardinal +3 (+100)
Over 49 points -110
Under 49 points -110
In the wide-open Big 12, TCU was not necessarily one of the biggest producers offensively, although that is not to say they can’t move the ball. Kenny Hill is a dangerous quarterback; he had a nice 21-6 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions, and he was a pinpoint passer as well (67% accuracy). He spreads the ball around very well, and this is not one of Shaw’s best defensive units at Stanford; in fact, this team ranked only 72nd in the country. What led to a lot of Stanford success this season was the +15 turnover margin, as well as standout special teams play.
Despite the fact that a lot of the teams in the Big 12 are pass-happy, there are some pretty good running backs there as well, and TCU was fourth-best in the nation defending the run, giving up 99.8 yards per game and only 2.9 yards per carry. So you have to leave open the possibility that they would be able to at least slow down Love a little, especially if he is not operating at full capacity.
What would worry us with TCU is the fact that they really failed to be competitive in the two games they played against Oklahoma, losing by a total of 42 points. But you have to remember that this is more or less a home game, and means more to them as far as the recruiting effort is concerned. Plus, they’ve shown some heroics in this stadium, coming back from a 31-0 halftime deficit against Oregon two years ago to win it 47-41 in triple overtime. If they can make Love less of a factor than usual, Stanford might be at somewhat of a loss in terms of weaponry, and you have to remember that Mike Bllomgren, the offensive coordinator who is also serves as the offensive line coach, was hired as head coach at Rice. We’ll give a slight edge in this game to TCU, which might be more well-rounded.
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