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Big 12 Battles

The Week 12 card certainly isn’t the best one we’ve seen this season, but we’ve got a pair of Big 12 games with plenty on the line. Most notably, unbeaten Kansas St. (10-0 straight up, 8-1-1 against the spread) will play its second road game in as many weeks at Baylor.

Most betting shops have installed the Wildcats as 12 ½-point favorites with a total of 75. Gamblers can take the Bears on the money line for a plus-425 payout (risk $100 to win $425).

Bill Snyder’s team has only been challenged twice this year in wins at Oklahoma (24-19) and at Iowa St. (27-21). KSU’s eight other victories have come by margins of 14 points or more.

In four road assignments, Kansas St. has a 3-0-1 spread record. Despite suffering a concussion the previous week in a 44-30 home win over Oklahoma St., senior quarterback Collin Klein was able to go in Ft. Worth last weekend.

Klein led the Wildcats to a 23-10 win at TCU as a 6 ½-point ‘chalk.’ He ran for a pair of touchdowns while the defense produced its best effort of the year.

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Klein is considered the front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy, with Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel looking like the only challenger. Klein has completed 69.7 percent of his throws for 2,020 yards with a 12/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has also rushed for 748 yards and 19 TDs.

Junior running back John Hubert has run for a team-high 783 yards and 12 TDs, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Klein’s favorite throwing target is Chris Harper, who has 36 receptions for 604 yards and two TDs.

Baylor (4-5 SU, 5-4 ATS) can make its season and renew its postseason aspirations with an upset win in this spot. In addition, it could make a lot of people in Tuscaloosa and Athens happy.

But Art Briles’s squad has lost five of its last six games, including last Saturday’s 42-34 setback at Oklahoma. The Bears did hook up their betting supporters as 21-point underdogs. In fact, they have posted a 4-2 spread record during their current 1-5 SU slide.

The offense hasn’t been the problem, though. Even without last year’s Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III, the Bears rank second in the nation in total offense. They are seventh-best in scoring, averaging 42.7 points per game.

Senior QB Nick Florence has 3,191 passing yards with a 25/11 TD-INT ratio. Florence has also rushed for 362 yards and six TDs.

Baylor senior WR Terrance Williams has enjoyed a breakout campaign, hauling in 77 receptions for 1,431 yards and 10 TDs.

During Briles’s five-year tenure, Baylor is 4-6 ATS as a home underdog.

The ‘over’ is 6-2 overall for the Bears, 2-1 in their three home games with a total. Meanwhile, K-St. has watched the ‘over’ go 5-4 overall, but the ‘under’ is a perfect 4-0 in its road assignments.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

One hour earlier on FOX, West Virginia (5-4 SU, 2-7 ATS) will take on Oklahoma in Morgantown. Most spots are listing the Sooners as 11-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 74. WVU is available on the money line for an attractive plus-330 return (risk $100 to win $330).

Dana Holgorsen’s team had national-title aspirations in early October, but those hopes have given way to a four-game losing streak in WVU’s first venture through the teeth of a Big 12 schedule. Even worse, the Mountaineers are mired in an abysmal 1-7 ATS slide.

West Va. is coming off a 55-34 loss at Oklahoma St. as a 10 ½-point underdog last Saturday. Geno Smith completed 36-of-54 passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Junior WR Stedman Bailey had 14 catches for 225 yards and one TD.

Nevertheless, WVU had to play from behind the entire game after going down 14-0 early. The Mountaineers cut the deficit to 38-34 midway through the third stanza, but the Cowboys quickly answered with 17 consecutive points.

WVU’s defense has been atrocious all year long. The Mountaineers are ranked No. 121 in the country, surrendering 41.4 points per game. They score at a 40.0 PPG clip thanks to the play of Smith.

For the season, Smith has connected on 71.2 percent of his passes for 3,038 yards with an incredible 31/3 TD-INT ratio. Bailey is one of the nation’s elite WRs, bringing down 75 receptions for 1,055 yards and 16 TDs. Senior WR Tavon Austin has 95 catches for 975 yards and 11 TDs.

Oklahoma (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS) has lost to two of the country’s four unbeaten teams with both defeats coming in Norman. The Sooners lost a 24-19 decision to Kansas St. and fell by a 30-13 count against Notre Dame.

Since the loss to the Fighting Irish, OU has won back-to-back games, including a 35-20 win at Iowa St. as a 13 ½-point ‘chalk’ two weeks ago. Landry Jones has 2,681 passing yards with an 18/7 TD-INT ratio.

WVU has only been a home underdog once under Holgorsen, losing 47-21 to LSU as five-point puppy last season. OU has a 2-1 spread record as a road favorite this year, but the Sooners are 6-9 ATS in such spots since 2009.

The ‘over’ is 5-3 overall for both teams.

Brian Edwards can be reached at briane@vegasinsider.com.

For daily sports gambling analysis, follow Brian Edwards on twitter at Vegasbedwards.

  
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