Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:25 AM EST.
8:00 PM EST. In the law world, prima facie means at first glance. This is an affirmative defense that many litigators use by the argument that a verdict cannot be rendered by virtue of what appears at first glance. The same advice can be used in the evaluation of this market. When comparing the two combatants by virtue of first glance alone, the Cyclones appear to be the prudent choice here but we’re not on board for that.
We understand that the Longhorns have fallen on hard times in recent years. There was a time when the Burnt Orange would sell itself but in an age of overexposure and constant media scrutiny, Texas has become a target for criticism in the Big 12 Conference after underperforming in the short-lived Charlie Strong era. Also holding weight in this market is that Texas went into Iowa State two seasons ago and as a -3½ point choice, lost 24-0. The market doesn’t want to get burned again by making that same bet.
The Cyclones, on the other hand, enter this game at 2-1 after boasting two blowout wins over teams that are clearly inferior to them, Akron and Northern Iowa. While the Cyclones were expected to be given more of a fight as 10-point choices in both contests, we can't get excited about a pair of lopsided victories over a pair of lesser programs. The Cyclones sole defeat on the year was a game they could have won against a team that had #4 Penn State by the throat last week. In Ames, the Cyclones led by as much as 11 points against arch nemesis Iowa but the Hawkeyes would rally and force overtime after being behind by double-digit margins on two separate occasions. Ultimately, Iowa State would fall short by a field goal. Football is everything in the state of Iowa and the 'Clones threw everything including the kitchen sink at the Hawkeyes. That loss has been largely forgiven in the market after Iowa's stellar performance against PSU last Saturday and it should be because it was a game effort against a quality football team. This is the reaction to that game effort.
Meanwhile, the Longhorns stock is down after they fell in their season opener in Austin to a Maryland team they spotted 18 points to. The Terps would hang 51 points on the Longhorns in a stunning Week 1 upset that resonated loudly as the first big upset of the year. Texas would follow that up with a 56-0 win over San Jose State, but beating down the Spartans is no crowning achievement be that they are one of Division I’s worst teams. Although the ‘Horns lost in their most recent attempt, it's hard not to like the effort Texas put up in So Cal. The Longhorns came to play as a 17-point road dog at vaunted USC and they would force Sam Darnold to throw two interceptions before the game went into double OT. That performance against the Men of Troy, one of the top teams in the nation, has to be motivating for the Hook-ems. Texas made a Heisman favorite in Darnold look mortal. The Longhorns are dangerous and explosive but their record doesn't show that with losses to Maryland and now the Trojans. We can understand that laying road chalk with a 1-2 team in a football hotbed like Iowa State may not be appealing but Texas is ready to make its first big statement win under Tom Herman. There are no more excuses. No more getting outplayed. No more "they were just better than us today”. Texas is ready to get back into the elite program status and that ascension must start here. We’re trusting it will.
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Texas -4½ -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)