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There will be huge ramifications in the Big 12 title race on Saturday night when the no. 7 Texas Longhorns visit the Iowa State Cyclones. The Longhorns are even in contention for a spot in the College Football Playoff while the Cyclones can stay alive for a Big 12 title with a win.
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The Longhorns are closing in on a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game, as the Longhorns are the only team in the conference with just one loss in Big 12 play. Meanwhile, Iowa State enters the weekend one of four teams with two losses in conference play. That means the Cyclones need to win this game to keep their conference title hopes alive. Of course, the Longhorns will feel as if they still have a chance to reach the College Football Playoff if they can run the table, making this a must-win game for them too.
DraftKings is listing Texas as a road favorite in this game. Here are the odds DraftKings Sportsbook users are getting for this matchup:
|Texas Longhorns||-7.5 (-108)||-290||46.5 (-110)|
|Iowa State Cyclones||+7.5 (-112)||+235||46.5 (-110)|
While Texas has had a great season, losing only to Oklahoma while going 9-1, the Longhorns haven’t been that successful against the spread. Texas is 4-5-1 against the spread this season, covering just once in its last four games. They are just 1-2 against the spread as road favorites. That includes a close 29-26 win over TCU last week despite being favored by 13 points. This week, the Longhorns are being asked to cover more than a touchdown away from home.
That being said, starting quarterback Quinn Ewers is back after missing a couple of games. He threw for 317 yards in last week’s win over TCU in his first game since getting hurt. Ewers and the Texas offense weren’t perfect. In fact, it was the first time all season that Texas failed to score at least 30 points. However, there is every reason to believe that Ewers will be more comfortable after getting another week of practice. Plus, the Longhorns have a balanced offense with running back Jonathon Brooks averaging over six yards per carry, so it’s not all on Ewers to carry the team.
The Texas defense is also more than capable of carrying its weight. The Longhorns are allowing just 18.4 points per game this season. They’ve held half of their opponents to 14 points or less, which has made things a little easier for Ewers and the offense, enabling Texas to go 3-1 against the spread when favored between 10 and 21 points.
Of course, the Longhorns will be facing a stout Iowa State defense that’s allowing just under 20 points per game this season. In fact, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas are the only three teams of Iowa State’s 10 opponents in 2023 to score more than 20 points against the Cyclones. That defensive prowess has helped Iowa State to go 2-2 against the spread as an underdog, including wins over TCU and Cincinnati despite entering the game as an underdog.
The caveat is that only one of Iowa State’s six wins this season came against an FBS opponent that currently has a winning record. To be fair, the Cyclones have only lost one game this season by more than seven points. But that was a 30-point loss against Oklahoma. Matt Campbell’s team has struggled against high-level opponents, which is what they’ll face on Saturday night. With so much on the line for Texas, look for the Longhorns to play one of their best games of the season and comfortably cover the spread against Iowa State.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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