Big 12 football picks: #6 Oklahoma vs. Kansas & 3 more
This is a big weekend for separation in the Big 12. The Oklahoma Sooners will travel to Kansas as heavy favorites for their last game before the Red River Showdown, while Texas will face surging West Virginia. Unbeaten Baylor will travel to Kansas State, and TCU will face Iowa State in a critical game for both. We are here to break down the matchups and help give you an edge in your betting selections this weekend (all games Saturday).
Oklahoma’s offense is an unstoppable juggernaut. Last week we told you to take the Sooners and lay the 27.5 points, and they won by 39. This week they’ll lay an even bigger number on the road at Kansas, which are fresh off a 51-14 loss to TCU. The video-game numbers being put up by Jalen Hurts (1,295 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and one interception, along with 443 yards rushing and five more TDs on the ground) will continue to rise. Last week he took it to Texas Tech to the tune of 485 total yards and four touchdowns. Now the Sooners go up against a Kansas team ranked 99th in rush defense, 113th in time of possession and 113th in plays allowed.
As if the Sooners needed any more advantages, Kansas announced this week the departure of running back Khalil Herbert (384 yards and two touchdowns), which takes away one of its main weapons this season. He missed last week’s game against TCU, and Kansas was able to gain only 75 yards on the ground. That will put pressure on quarterback Carter Stanley, who struggled last week and did not break 100 yards passing on 29 attempts, and the 109th-ranked passing attack. This does not bode well for the Jayhawks, given Oklahoma’s secondary is suspect and Kansas will not be very well equipped to take advantage.
The Jayhawks have looked good only once this season, and are now 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. Oklahoma has also defeated Kansas by an average of 39.6 points over their last five meetings. After a blowout last week, it is difficult to envision Kansas keeping the game close, even if Oklahoma benches some starters to get rest.
Pick: Oklahoma -32
TCU opened a lot of eyes last weekend with a demolition of Kansas. Things won’t be so easy this week against an Iowa State defense that ranks 17th in yards allowed per play. Making matters worse for the Horned Frogs, they now have a bit of a quarterback controversy after last week’s game, as both Max Duggan and Alex Delton made a solid case to be the starter.
Iowa State has no such issue, as Brock Purdy has played very well and did so again last week against Baylor. He will face a very dangerous TCU defense, however, that ranks fourth in total defense (less than 250 yards per game). He will need help from his rushing attack, which may be difficult task.
Both of these defenses are solid, and Iowa State’s game against Baylor last week was 7-0 at the half (where we told you to take the under). I expect another low-scoring game, as the under has hit in four of Iowa State’s last five conference games, and in 13 of its last 20 games overall. The under has also hit in eight of TCU’s last 10 road games.
Pick: Under 43.5
This is a must-win game for Kansas State if the Wildcats have any hope of being in the hunt for the Big 12 title. Their loss to Oklahoma State last weekend was the first time they failed to score at least 31 points in a game, and they gained just 242 yards of offense. Kansas State will look to maintain possession and keep the Baylor offense off the field, with a seventh-ranked rush attack against the Bears’ 39th-ranked run defense.
Baylor was able to squeak out a last-minute win over Iowa State last weekend with a go-ahead field goal, but the Bears missed multiple kicks earlier in the game, which could be an issue going forward. They also struggled mightily in the first half and did not find the end zone until the final minute before the break. Baylor will face another tough defense this week, as the Wildcats rank in the top five against the pass.
Kansas State is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games against the Bears and 4-1 in their last five home matchups. Given the problems Baylor had last week kicking, I give the edge in a tight game to the home side.
Pick: Kansas State -2
The Longhorns will take their balanced offense to Morgantown fresh off a bye week, which followed a 3-1 start, during which they scored at least 36 points in every game. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger continues to play exceptionally well, and the Longhorns rushing attack will look to do what Missouri and Kansas did to West Virginia earlier this season.
The Mountaineers, despite losing quite a few weapons on both sides, are sitting at 2-2 and in position get to a bowl game this season. They’ve won their last two games behind a quality rushing attack, but that will be tested against a Texas defense that ranks 24th in the nation. Asking WVU’s passing attack to pick up the slack may prove too tall a task.
The problem for Texas is that it has shown a tendency, under head coach Tom Herman, to struggle more than they should ahead of big games. It doesn’t get much bigger than the game against Oklahoma next week, so if the Longhorns are able to get ahead by a wide margin early, they might rest starters earlier than normal. That opens the game up for a nice back-door cover, something that happened in their win over Oklahoma State a couple weeks ago.
Pick: West Virginia +10.5
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