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September 28, 2017

There is one pick today.

Take Iowa State +4.5 spread against Texas risking 3% of the bankroll.

The Texas Longhorns have had a troublesome start to the season, first losing in blowout fashion on their home field to a middle of the road Maryland team, before performing a blowout of their own of San Jose State, coming away with the 56-0 victory. In their most recent contest however, the Longhorns put forth an inspiring (albeit losing) effort against the #4 ranked USC Trojans in Southern California. That double-overtime performance got many people claiming that "Texas is back!" and that this is what they expected when Tom Herman took over as head coach this offseason. Despite their performance against USC, we're not quite ready to jump on the Texas bandwagon as of yet as they have an extremely tough matchup ahead of them in their conference opener in Iowa State.

Iowa State, for many seasons, have been an extremely under the radar program, however, newly installed head coach, Matt Campbell certainly has his team on the upswing. The Cyclones are 2-1 on the season, however, they could realistically be 3-0 had it not been for an overtime loss on their homefield against their in-state rivals, the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Cyclones held a double-digit lead in the 4th quarter of that contest, however, couldn't come up with the defensive stops needed to put the game away. It was a learning experience for this young team, however, it is a lesson that we expect that they learned well and expect they will apply those lessons tonight in their conference opener.

Playing in Ames is no easy task, especially in a night game during the week. If you recall, it was the Cyclones who knocked off then #2 ranked Oklahoma State on this field a few short seasons ago to spoiler their bid at the National Championship game. Strange things happen in Ames at night and we wouldn't be surprised if this team pulled off another 'surprising' upset in this contest. The last time the Longhorns visited Ames was back in 2015 and it resulted in a 24-0 Iowa State win. This Cyclones team knows that they are better than teams in the past, and come into this game with a lot of confidence. Junior quarterback Jacob Park comes into this game having thrown for 935 yards and eight touchdowns and leads an Iowa State offense that is ranked 12th in the country. Park has reliable receiving targets in senior Allen Lazard and sophomore Hakeem Butler, who have both caught three TDs already this season. The Cyclones have managed to score 40+ points in each of their contests this season, even against the hard-noses defense of Iowa which held the Penn State offense in check just a week ago.

The Cyclones also sport one of the best defenses when it comes to stopping the run. The Iowa State defense has held opposing teams to just 107 yards per game on the ground per game. The Texas ground game, or lack thereof, has been highly publicized already this season and with the crowd likely to be raucous and in full support of their home team, we don't expect Texas to suddenly figure out what has been problematic for them all season long.

Texas has glaring holes in their defense this season and it will likely take coach Herman a good part of the season in order to fix them all. This is an extremely tough matchup for the Longhorns, even though the casual fan may not think so. Texas will have arguably the more talented players on the field, however, they cannot discount what Iowa State has been able to do thus far this season. This matchup has all the makings of an upset and we wouldn't be surprised if Matt Campbell's club does just that. That being said, Texas does have a ton of talent and falling to just 1-3 on the season would put the Longhorns (and Tom Herman) in an extremely difficult spot. Even if Texas does manage to put forth a solid effort and manage to walk out of Ames with a win, we believe they will be fortunate to do so and the victory would come by the thinnest of margins. The points hold a lot of value with a team that could potentially win outright and we believe they are likely to come into play.

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