This season I’ll be breaking down a few of college football’s biggest games each week and giving out at least one bet I like from each matchup.
Let’s take a look at this week’s Big 12 battle between Oklahoma State and Kansas State, with the winner gaining a significant edge on earning a trip to the conference title game.
Oklahoma State vs Kansas State Spread, current line:
Oklahoma State vs Kansas State Best Bet Prediction:
Always trust Mike Gundy in a close game 一 take the points and bet Oklahoma State against the spread at Kansas State.
When Oklahoma State is on Offense
Oklahoma State leans on its passing game, with a 56% pass rate in neutral situations per Campus2Canton.
The play distribution is partially due to an offensive line that has struggled to create running lanes. According to Sports Info Solutions, Oklahoma State ranks 129th in opponent-adjusted rushing yards before contact.
Kansas State’s defense ranks 22nd in opponent-adjusted yards before contact allowed, so expect Oklahoma State to lean further into the passing game in this matchup.
The strength of Oklahoma State’s passing game is its ability to produce after catch.
Excluding screens and jet sweeps, Oklahoma State picks up 6.1 yards after the catch per reception, ranked 25th. Kansas State’s defense ranks 68th, allowing 5.1 YAC per reception, according to Sports Info Solutions.
Oklahoma State does not throw the ball downfield at a high rate 一 just 22% of Spencer Sanders’s attempts have been 15 or more yards downfield. However, Sanders could become more aggressive in this matchup.
Opposing quarterbacks do not respect Kansas State’s secondary, and throw downfield 11% more than expected, which ranks 95th in the FBS.
When Kansas State is on Offense
Kansas State is an extremely run-heavy offense, only throwing the ball on 39.5% of plays in neutral situations, per Campus2Canton.
Oklahoma State likes to stack the box against the run, which could give Kansas State issues. The Cowboys stacked box rate is 39% above expected based on their opponents’ average rate, the 16th highest stacked box rate in the nation per Sports Info Solutions.
With a stacked box, Oklahoma State is allowing 3.5 yards per attempt, ranked 28th in the country.
Oklahoma State also creates contact in the backfield on 55% of rush attempts with stacked box, the 11th-highest rate. This should concern Kansas State, as Deuce Vaughn is averaging 0.6 yards per attempt when contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage 一 ranked 48th out of 58 qualified running backs.
Vaughn had a nice game against TCU last week, but TCU ranks dead last in adjusted stacked box rate and only stacked the box once against Vaughn.
The key to this game will be the health of quarterback Adrian Martinez, who played just one series last week against TCU.
Kansas State has provided limited information about Martinez other than to say it was a lower-body injury that will not end his season.
Without Martinez, the Kansas State offense changes dramatically due to backup Will Howard’s lack of mobility. And even if Martinez plays at less than 100%, the offense could look different due if his mobility is limited.
Kansas State ranks 123rd in opponent-adjusted pressure rate allowed, per Sports Info Solutions 一 and a mobile quarterback is critical to success behind such a shaky offensive line.
Howard’s lack of mobility was not an issue against TCU last week, but the Frogs rank 95th in pressure rate 一 Oklahoma State ranks 38th.
Final Thoughts on Oklahoma State vs Kansas State Best Bets
Mike Gundy always has his team prepared for close games. Over the last 10 seasons, Oklahoma State is 15-6 against the spread when the spread is a field goal or less.
Additionally, Gundy’s squad has won five straight games outright as an underdog of a field goal or less.
This is a great spot to bet on Oklahoma State, especially with Martinez banged up or potentially on the sidelines.