The Baylor Bears will look to keep their perfect record intact when they visit the struggling Iowa State Cyclones in their Week 5 Big 12 battle, but the big question surrounding this contest is not whether or not the Bears can cover the spread as three-touchdown favorites.
No. 7 Baylor at Iowa State
Where: Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, US
When: Saturday, September 27, 2014
Spread: Baylor -21
The real question is whether or not the Bears can avoid the outright road upset after losing to the Cyclones in each of their last two road dates = and four of their last five overall – against their longtime conference rivals.
Now, let’s find out.
NCAAF Free Betting Picks Preview – Bears Vs. Cyclones
Baylor (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) is coming off an emphatic 63-21 rout over Buffalo in Week 3 that saw them cash in as whopping 33.5-point road favorites. Senior quarterback Bryce Petty completed 23 of 34 passes for 416 yards with four touchdowns while sophomore running back Shock Linwood rushed for 97 yards and two scores on 20 carries.
— Baylor Football (@BUFootball) September 23, 2014
Petty was back on the field for the first time since sitting out the previous week with two cracked bones in his lower back.
"My back feels good," Petty said. "Everybody told me this was a three-week injury, so there were a lot of answered prayers."
Baylor is also looking forward to having several previously injured players back on the field for this contest, including wide receiver Antwan Goodley (quadriceps) the team’s leading receiver a year ago.
Goodley had 71 catches for 1,339 yards and 13 touchdowns last season – and Petty said he is looking forward to having his top target back on the field.
"It’s huge because those are my guys," quarterback Bryce Petty said. "I’ve grown up with Antwan, and he’s been my guy since day one. I haven’t had all of them back together since camp started. It’s a big deal for us."
Still, Baylor head coach Art Briles knows his team’s season is only going to get tougher as the season progresses.
“We know the competition is going to be tougher as we go along, so we’re not putting a whole lot of stock in numbers. We never have. Our biggest thing is to win by one point, regardless of the score," Briles said.
Iowa State (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS) got its first win of the season after losing their first two games by narrowly getting by Iowa in their annual clash 20-17 while cashing in as a 13.5-point road dog to improve to 2-0 ATS over their last two games.
Junior quarterback Sam Richardson completed 25 of 37 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the win and led the Cyclones on a last second drive that was capped off by kicker Coe Netten’s game-winning 42-yard field goal in the final seconds.
Iowa State is averaging an uninspiring 20.7 points per game (107th) while allowing 27.7 per game defensively (88th).
Game Analysis: It’s nice that Iowa State got its first win of the season the last time out, but the fact of the matter is that Baylor is far too explosive – and too focused right now – to lose this contest to an inferior tem like Iowa State.
Baylor beat Iowa State 71-7 last season to cash in as a whopping 33-point home favorite and I believe they’re going to do the same thing to the Cyclones in this contest.
The Bears are 5-0 ATS in their last five games in the month of September and a blistering 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games overall.
Sure, Iowa State is 4-1 ATS in their last five conference games and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in the month of September, but the Cyclones are also just 3-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record and 1-3-1 ATS in their last five home games against a team with a winning road record.
With the Baylor Bears going 16-5 ATS in their last 21 conference games and an incendiary 19-7 ATS in their L/26 games against a team with a losing record, I think they’re the easy pick to win and cash in!
My NCAAF Free Betting Pick: Baylor Bears -21 Points
If you like this pick, then you should also wager on the Washington Huskies as an 8-point home underdog against No. 16 Stanford.