NCAAF · Sat (9/18) @ 2:05pm ET
|Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas|
Our Pick: NEVA Nevada at Under 51.0 (-112). Claim a $1000 risk-free bet from BetMGM now!
The Wildcats own one of the more impressive figures in college football, which their impressive fan base can likely recite.
Since 2003, among programs that have covered at least 60 percent of the time as a home underdog and with at least 20 victories in that role, Kansas State is No. 2 in the country.
At No. 1, Temple is 33-18 (64.7%) at covering in that situation. Kansas State is second, at 25-16 (61%), according to teamrankings.com.
With the news that Wildcats starting quarterback Skylar Thompson (knee) is out, reserve Will Howard gets the nod. K-State opened as a 1.5-point dog, and it moved to 2 soon after Thompson’s status was announced.
Should the spread cover key numbers, consider taking the points. K-State has made its bones as a program as a plucky home underdog.
But it’s a run-first team that was always going to make this game a clouds-of-dust slugfest. Points figure to be few, so we favor the Under.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Preseason headlines in the Mountain West Conference were dominated by quarterbacks Hank Bachmeier of Boise State and Carson Strong of Nevada.
Sure, it’s early. Thus far, though, Strong (6-feet-4, 215) has been a tick off, as his completion percentage of 56 has been a few points shy of his numbers (63%) as a freshman.
He has thrown for 312 yards in a victory at California (consisting of 39 total points) and 381 in a nonchalant triumph at home against lower-level North Dakota State.
The issue here will be Strong against a K-State defense that KNOWS the Pack will throw the ball. Nevada doesn’t even average 31 rushing yards per game.
We’re expecting solid efforts by Wildcats safeties Russ Yeast and Jahron McPherson, both fifth-year seniors. Plus, cornerbacks Ekow Boye-Doe and Ross Elder are upperclassmen who will be prepared.
Strong not only will deal with hostile high-noon environs from the crowd of 50,000, but the Wildcats’ defense has allowed only 0.125 points per play—the fifth-lowest allowance in college football. No foe has scored on K-State in the second half.
Stanford opened its season against the Wildcats, in Texas, and lost, 24-7. Two Cardinal passes were picked off, and it gained only 233 yards of offense. A week later, Stanford tallied 375 in a 42-28 victory at USC.
Battling K-State on its own field is a sticky proposition. The Wildcats get a 6-point home-field advantage from veteran Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White, the most he deigns to any program. That could carry the day for K-State.
Nevada At Kansas State Full Sportsbook Odds
|Sat (9/18) @ 2:05pm ET||Nevada||-130||-123||-120||-125||-125||-127||-125|
|Sat (9/18) @ 2:05pm ET||Nevada||-2.5 -110||-1.5 -112||-1.5 -110||-1.5 -110||-2.0 -110||-1.5 -110||-1.5 -110|
|Kansas State||+2.5 -110||+1.5 -110||+1.5 -110||+1.5 -110||+2.0 -110||+1.5 -110||+1.5 -110|
|Sat (9/18) @ 2:05pm ET||Nevada||u48.5 -110||u49.5 -106||u50.5 -110||u50 -110||u50.5 -115||u51.0 -112||u50 -105|
|Kansas State||o48.5 -110||o49.5 -114||o50.5 -110||o50 -110||o50.5 -105||o51.0 -109||o50 -115|
Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats have averaged 205 yards on the ground, 158 through the air. They run, and run some more.
Chris “Deuce” Vaughn is the 5-6, 173-pound sophomore bowling ball from Round Rock, Texas, who has rushed 39 times for 244 yards—among the country’s top 20—and four touchdowns.
“I want to be a better teammate,” he told Texas Monthly magazine after collecting 1,221 all-purpose yards as a rookie last season. “I want to be a better leader. I want to be somebody my teammates can trust every Saturday.” He added, “I’m going to attack every day like it’s my last.”
Third-year sophomore Jacardia Wright (eight-yard average) and fourth-year junior receiver Malik Knowles (13-yard average) can contribute, but this will be Deuce’s test as a leader.
In K-State’s two games, it attempted 35 passes and ran 79 times. Thompson (6-2, 223) didn’t throw a TD pass and had two picked off. Twice he ran for TDs. Howard (6-4, 232) had no TD passes and an interception, and ran for a score.
Howard started six times last season, so the new starter isn’t a greenhorn. In this environment with that sterling underdog track record, the Wildcats will own the intangibles.
Sports Betting Preview and Recommendation
For turning the K-State program from a woebegone afterthought, on the brink of extinction, into a national-title contender, Bill Snyder’s name rightfully adorns this arena.
With him running the show for 27 total seasons, through 2018, the Wildcats were 140-38-1 on this field and “probably led the world in upset wins,” wrote Phil Steele. Fittingly, Snyder’s final home game—as a six-point dog—was a 21-6 victory over Texas Tech
In his third season in the Little Apple, coach Chris Klieman is 4-1 as a home dog. We envision that tradition continuing Saturday but believe Under, with points being difficult to amass, is the safe option.