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The Valero Alamo Bowl is coming at you Thursday night from San Antonio and it features two ranked teams, with (13) Stanford squaring off against (15) TCU. These two teams actually had pretty similar seasons, with TCU being in the playoff picture a little longer than Stanford, but they both had strong seasons. How will Bryce Love fare against TCU’s #4 nationally ranked run defense? On paper, this looks to be a terrific showdown, a Pac-12 powerhouse with a Heisman finalist vs. one of the stingiest defenses in the Big 12 Let’s take a look inside the numbers to see if we can come up with a winner whilst we “Remember the Alamo.”

Stanford vs. TCU Valero Alamo Bowl

Date/Time: Thursday, December 28th at 9:00pm EST


College Football Betting Odds from 5Dimes

College Football Betting Favorite: TCU-3

Total: 48.5

Stanford has been red hot, as they closed the season winning 8 of their final 9 games, including a 38-20 rout of Notre Dame. Stanford was the Pac-12 North champion, but lost to USC in the championship game. They enter the Alamo Bowl as one of the hottest and most consistent teams in the nation. Stanford is led by Bryce Love, at one point at 100-1 odds to win the Heisman. He missed some time with an ankle injury, but he’s had time to heal and all indications are that he will be healthy and at full strength. Stanford was +15 in turnovers this season, that’s the highest turnover ratio of any of the bowl teams this postseason. Stanford’s scoring defense is ranked #29 nationally. Stanford’s calling card has always been a smashmouth, extremely physical defense. With the 15 extra practices, it’s a safe bet to say coach David Shaw has worked some wrinkles in the defense to confuse TCU QB Kenny Hill

Speaking of Kenny Hill, one of the major knocks on him is his inconsistency. One week he looks like a Heisman contender, and the next week he looks like a freshman walk-on. Most recently, he was on the end of a 41-17 beatdown in the Big 12 championship game vs. Oklahoma. Hill was quoted as saying that game, “left a bad taste for us,’’ he said. “We’ve got one more game, and that’s the best way to get rid of it — to play well.”

When we look at coaching, we see two terrific coaches who always get the most from their squads. Although both are successful, TCU coach Gary Patterson is only 2-6 ATS in his last 8 bowl appearances. Patterson is extremely intense, and with an extra 15 practices in the four weeks leading up to the bowl game, his team could very well be completely worn out by the time the Alamo Bowl gets under way. It’s curious to me how such a great coach could have such a poor bowl record. Are his teams totally worn out from grueling practices leading up to the game? It’s possible TCU might be completely overworked by kickoff. On the flipside, Stanford coach David Shaw is an astounding 11-3-1 ATS in the underdog role, which they are here. When taking a deeper dive inside that record, Stanford has ten straight outright upsets in the underdog role. Not only is he getting his team to cover in the underdog role, they’re winning outright for him.

Sin City Sharp (@SinCitySharp on Twitter) Free Pick:

This game should live up to the hype, with two top-15 squads getting it on this Friday. My major concern on the TCU side is the inconsistent play of Kenny Hill, combined with the amazing turnover ratio of Stanford. I can easily see the secondary of Stanford coming up with at least a couple INTs of Hill. For the first time in many months, Stanford’s RB Love is healthy again and will be wreaking havoc on a terrific TCU defense. They will have a hard time slowing down Love, and I can see Love going off for 200 yards this game. All these factors, combined with the coaching records/style of Patterson and Shaw, I see Stanford winning a tight game. Getting a full 3 points is an added bonus here.

Take Stanford

Kyle Hunter is on a big 48-27 run in his last 75 college football plays. Good luck this bowl season!

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