Week 4 offers a trio of intra-state matchups between rivals. SMU hosts TCU, and former head coach Sonny Dykes, in the latest Battle for the Iron Skillet. Texas travels to Texas Tech to face the Red Raiders in Lubbock for what might be the last time in a long time. And a struggling Houston squad hopes to rebound against Rice. Craven's Corner was 5-6 in Week 3, but we were 2-1 on Game of the Week picks against the spread. Through three weeks, we are 11-6-1 ATS.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (Arlington)
Viewing info: Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN
Gambling odds: Texas A&M -1.5; O/U 48
The SEC schedule begins for both teams in the yearly neutral-field game between old Southwest Conference rivals. The Razorbacks ended a nine-year winning streak for Texas A&M in the 2021 meeting. Despite the Aggies’ dominance, this game is usually close. The last time a team won one of these games by more than 12 points was back in 2012. Six of the last nine games between the two in Arlington were one-possession contests.
Neither team is playing its best ball entering the game. Texas A&M lost to App State in Week 2 and outlasted Miami 17-9 in Week 3. The passing offense hasn’t looked great with Haynes King or Max Johnson at the helm. Arkansas struggled against Missouri State until the fourth quarter in Week 3. While focus might be on the Aggies’ offensive performance, this game likely comes down to Texas A&M’s ability to stop Arkansas. A high-scoring affair figures to favor the Razorbacks and quarterback KJ Jefferson.
Craven’s Bet: Arkansas +2; under 48
Texas at Texas Tech
Viewing info: Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN
Gambling odds: Texas -6.5; O/U 60
Big 12 play begins for both teams on Saturday in what might be Texas’ last trip to Lubbock before bouncing to the SEC. It doesn’t appear like this rivalry will continue when the Longhorns head to greener pastures. Texas has won 11 of the last 13 and 18 of the 22 times these teams have played since the turn of the century.
Texas enters the game with plenty of momentum. The Longhorns are 3-0 ATS in 2022. The only blemish on the record is a one-point home loss to Alabama. Texas Tech is also 2-1 entering the contest following a loss at nationally ranked NC State in Week 3. Both teams figure to start backup quarterbacks with Donovan Smith in for an injured Tyler Shough for the Red Raiders and Hudson Card playing for Quinn Ewers for the Longhorns. Texas Tech announced a sell out for this game.
Craven’s Bet: Texas Tech +7 (buy the hook)
TCU at SMU
Viewing info: Saturday at 11 a.m. on ESPNU
Gambling odds: TCU -2; O/U 70.5
Narratives abound for the 2022 Battle of the Iron Skillet. The Mustangs have won two straight, but the coach who led them to those victories – Sonny Dykes – is in his first year as head coach for the TCU Horned Frogs. His former offensive coordinator, Rhett Lashlee, is 2-1 through the first three games of his head coaching career. SMU lost in Week 3 to Maryland on the road, in part, due to three turnovers committed by quarterback Tanner Mordecai. TCU was idle in Week 3. That rust might play a part in the outcome of the game on Saturday, which SMU announced as a sell out for Ford Stadium.
Craven’s Bet: SMU +2
Baylor at Iowa State
Viewing info: Saturday at 11 a.m. on ESPN2
Gambling odds: Baylor +3; O/U 46
We find out if Baylor is a Big 12 contender on the road against Iowa State in Week 3. A win over the Cyclones in 2021 jumpstarted the conference run for the Bears. A struggling passing attack must figure out a way to create big plays to pull the upset in Ames. Baylor did find a breakout running back candidate in the Week 3 win over Texas State when true freshman Richard Reese topped 100 yards and scored three touchdowns. The defense remains the strength at Baylor. Iowa State hasn’t allowed more than 10 points in its first three games.
Craven’s Bet: Baylor +3
UTEP vs. Boise State
Viewing info: Friday at 8 p.m. on CBSSN
Gambling odds: UTEP +15.5; O/U 45.5
Pain. UTEP entered the season with bowl hopes, but those were dashed with a 1-3 start to the season that included losses to North Texas and New Mexico. A Friday night game against Boise State isn’t the right medicine to fix those issues. The Miners’ offensive attack of vertical passing or bust isn’t working without wide receivers Jacob Cowing and Justin Garrett. Head coach Dana Dimel, who also calls the plays, must find some easy completions for quarterback Gavin Hardison or Boise State will embarrass UTEP in El Paso on national television.
Craven’s Bet: under 45.5
North Texas at Memphis
Viewing info: Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN+
Gambling odds: North Texas +12; O/U 68.5
The Memphis defense is solid against the run, and that’s bad news for a Mean Green squad that relies on the ground game offensively. North Texas was outscored 35-7 in the second half during a Week 3 loss to UNLV. UNLV amassed 365 yards and five touchdowns on 51 carries in the win. The Mean Green tend to play their best football when counted out, and this feels like an us against the world week for Seth Littrell’s crew.
Craven’s Bet: North Texas +12
Rice at Houston
Viewing info: Saturday at 5 p.m. on ESPN+
Gambling odds: Houston -17.5; O/U 52.5
Houston is on a two-game losing streak heading into the Bayou Bucket game against Rice. The Cougars lost in overtime in Week 2 to Texas Tech and to Kansas by multiple scores in Week 3. The Owls aren’t a pushover in 2022. Rice knocked off Louisiana in dominating fashion in a Week 3 upset. The defense is the strength of the team, and quarterback TJ McMahon is a playmaker when he’s not throwing interceptions.
Craven’s Bet: Rice +17.5
HOW TO WATCH
UTSA vs. Texas Southern
Viewing info: Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on Stadium (App)
Texas State vs. Houston Baptist
Viewing info: Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN+
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