Before you bet Auburn Vs. Kansas State on the college football week 4 odds, you may want to take a gander at my expert analysis and pick.
After a pair of big home wins, the Tigers of Auburn will face their first real opponent of the 2014 season: the 20th ranked Wildcats of Kansas State who are usually known for their prowess on the hard court.
This will be Auburn’s first road trip of the season and while Kansas Sate is a non-conference opponent the Tigers will have to make a statement if they want to be considered for the college football playoffs.
No. 20 Kansas State, the first of what is currently seven ranked opponents in Auburn’s next 10 games, presents an interesting matchup for the defending SEC champions.
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 15, 2014
With that said and the start of Week 4 just days away, let’s get started.
Auburn Tigers at Kansas State Wildcats
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, September 18, 2014
Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas
College Football Odds & Expert Pick – Auburn Tigers at Kansas State Wildcats
Preview: Auburn (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) is coming off an emphatic 59-13 win over San Jose State in Week 2 while easily covering the spread as a whopping 33-pooint home favorite to move to a perfect 2-0 ATS on the season.
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 16, 2014
Tigers’ senior quarterback Nick Marshall completed just 10 of 19 passes for 101 yards with one touchdown while adding 103 rushing yards on 11 carries with another score. Senior running back Cameron Artis-Payne added 112 rushing yards on 16 carries with three more scores.
Despite their higher ranking and lofty status as an elite national championship contender, the Tigers are wary about playing in K-State’s boisterous stadium.
"All I’ve heard is that Manhattan is the toughest place to play in the Big 12, so we know we’ve really got to be focused," Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. "We’ve been fortunate not to have any false start penalties in the first two games. Your attention to detail and your awareness really has to be raised when you’re on the road in a hostile environment."
"I think it will really be a good measuring stick of where we’re at, because now we’re going on the road to a place where they’ve sold out because you’re the one they want to knock off," Lashlee added. "Boy, they’ve got a good football team. It’s not the situation we were in last year. So, how mature are our guys? How are we going to handle it?"
Kansas State (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS) got an exciting 32-28 win over Iowa State in Week 2, though they failed to cover the college football betting line as an 11.5-point road favorite to fall to 0-2 ATS on the season.
Senior quarterback Jake Waters completed 16 of 29 passes for 239 yards with no TD’s or interceptions, but Waters did most of his damage on the ground by rushing for 138 yards and two scores on 20 carries. Sophomore running back Charles Jones added 75 rushing yards and two more scores on 13 carries.
Widely-respected Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder said the Tigers present a big challenge in a lot of areas.
“Take your pick,” Snyder said. “They are a physical offensive line, they have got speed in the backfield at the running back positions and the quarterback position. They run the ball well and they are deceptive in the way they run the ball. The ball carriers are exceptional, they can make you miss. The wide receivers are big, fast and physical. I don’t think I left out a position, did I? In other words, they are very talented.”
Still though, the Wildcats say they won’t be intimidated.
“They are a great team, but at the same time we are looking at them like any other team,” K-State cornerback Morgan Burns said. “I don’t want to prepare my guys to look at them like, oh man, they are this big, fast, scary team and we are the underdog. We are both football teams, tough football teams. If we view them any differently, that could hinder us.”
Analysis: I love K-State head coach Bill Snyder and believe he’s as good as any coach in the game today. Having said that…no matter how hard I try, I just don’t see Kansas State winning this contest despite playing at home.
The Tigers have scored 30 or more points in a mind-boggling 12 consecutive games and I believe their powerful offense is what will lead them to victory in this contest.
Auburn is averaging a whopping 52.0 points per game so far while allowing a paltry 17.0 points per contest defensively. K-State is putting up an impressive average of 43.5 points per contest while allowing just 22.5 per game defensively.
Statistics aside, I also like the fact that Auburn has had the slightly tougher schedule as they’ve played Arkansas and San Jose State while Kansas State has played a pair of far less heralded programs in hosting South Florida and visiting Iowa State.
The fifth-ranked Tigers went undefeated in 2004 and won the BCS championship in 2010 behind now Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. The Tiers are also looking to get back in the national title game after falling to Florida State in a thriller in last season’s BCS title tilt.
The Tigers are a perfect 4-0 ATS in their last four road games against a team with a winning home record and an equally impressive 5-0 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
While the K-State Wildcats have posted a perfect 4-0 ATS mark in their last four games following a bye week, the Wildcats are also just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following an SU win and a discouraging 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against non-conference opponents.
With Auburn compiling a blistering 10-1 ATS mark in their last 11 games against a team with a winning record, the Tigers are my pick to win and cash in.
Auburn has the more experienced – and more talented – roster in this intriguing Week 4 matchup and I expect them to win outright and narrowly cover the spread.