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TCU Takes its Offensive Show on the Road

The TCU Horned Frogs could be a force to be reckoned with in 2018 – and they showed why in a season-opening 55-7 rout of Southern. Next on the ledger: a road showdown Friday night with a Southern Methodist team that kicked off the season with a thud, dropping a 46-26 decision to North Texas. The key for the Mustangs will be figuring out a way to contain TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson, who threw three touchdown passes and ran in two more scores before calling it a day just halfway through the game. SMU opened as a 19-point underdog, but the line quickly shifted to +21 – and given how both teams looked in their openers, there could be more movement to come in favor of the road favorites. There is no total posted for this game yet, but after they combined for 92 points in last season’s 56-36 TCU victory, look for the number to be a big one.

  • SMU is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games as a home underdog of 20 or more points.
  • TCU has gone UNDER in 10 of its previous 12 road games.
  • The teams have gone OVER in seven of their past 10 head-to-head meetings.

TCU vs SMU Game Center

TCU Struggling to Score on the Road

The Horned Frogs know how to light up the scoreboard but have had difficulty turning the trick away from Amon G. Carter Stadium. TCU averaged better than 31.3 points per game last season against FBS opponents – ranking inside the top 40 in Division I in that category – but produced an average of just 20 points over its final four true road games. Not surprisingly, all four of those games went below the total. Three of them finished UNDER by 17 or more points. Yet, while a depressed offense is certainly part of the reason why the Horned Frogs have gone OVER the number just twice in their previous dozen true road outings, a sensational defense is also a major factor in that. To wit: TCU has limited opponents to single-digit scoring five times during that road UNDER streak, winning all five of those contests by at least 20 points. The Horned Frogs are also an impressive 8-4 SU and 8-4 ATS in that span. 

Big Spread Equals Big Problems for the Frogs

Even in their lopsided Week 1 victory, the Horned Frogs couldn’t quite satisfy bettors who put their faith in them to cover the whopping 50-point spread. It marked just the second time in the past five years that TCU was giving up 50 or more points – it barely covered the previous time, rolling to a 63-point triumph over Jackson State as a 59-point favorite. Big spreads have given the Horned Frogs all sorts of trouble in recent years. They’ve covered just four of the previous 12 games in which they entered as a favorite of 20 or more points, though their last three defeats against the spread in those circumstances came by fewer than three points each time. And of course, the Mustangs haven’t exactly made the most of the times in which they’ve received a bushel of points, covering just two of their past seven times as home underdogs of 20-plus points. SMU did, however, cover last year’s defeat to TCU, as the Horned Frogs were favored by 22.5 points.

Muting the Mustangs No Problem for TCU

These teams are only separated by 40 miles on the map, but there’s a much bigger gulf between them from a talent perspective. The teams have alternated home games every year since 2007 – and SMU has been downright abysmal in its five home games over that stretch. The Mustangs have scored just 50 combined points at Gerald J. Ford Stadium against TCU over the past decade, and have been outscored by an unbelievable 89-3 margin in the previous two home games in the series. SMU’s last home TD against the Horned Frogs came back in September 2012 – and the guy who threw the scoring pass, Garrett Gilbert, also had five interceptions in that one. SMU has covered just two of those five home games, compared to an impressive 5-1 ATS mark in games held at TCU since 2007.