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2020 Big 12 Betting Preview, Picks, Strategies


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Big 12 Conference
Football Betting Preview

Four Is Enough

When Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard won the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year award last season it snapped a four-year stranglehold on the award by the Oklahoma Sooners.

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Meanwhile, Oklahoma has won the most individual awards in the 23-year history of the Big 12 with 46. Kansas State is second (34), followed by Texas (31), Oklahoma State (21), Baylor (18), Iowa State (14), TCU (9), Kansas (8), Texas Tech (8) and West Virginia (7).

When Twelve Means 12

Four Big 12 teams have left the conference within the last decade. With it the conference has the least amount of teams of all of the Power Five conferences (10). The other four have as follows: PAC-12 (12), ACC (14), Big Ten (14), and SEC (14). “The Big 12 has 10 and the Big Ten has 14, so you know some of us are just numerically challenged,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says.

Since the Big 12 and PAC-12 neighbor one another, some type of merging of the two to form a Super Conference makes some sense. Our suggestion would be to start with Utah, who fits like a glove and has six seasons under the direction of head coach Kyle Whittingham where they mounted at least eight wins. The Utes would also bring a decent athletic program to the table and it is somewhat regional to the rest of the Big 12. In addition, Colorado would pair up with the Utah to become a nice fit. As would Arizona and Arizona State.

The numbers following each team name represent the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback. The RPR represents each team’s overall, offensive and defensive rankings in overall returning production experience.

BAYLOR

TEAM THEME: 2020 AM

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 54
  • Ret Starters: Offense - *7 / Defense - 2
  • RPR: Total: 108 (51 Offense / 127 Defense)
It’s said that with success comes a price, and that cost is oftentimes steeped with regret. For the Bears, their meteoric rise came at the cost of losing head coach Matt Rhule to the NFL. Today they are forced to make way for a moment of hard truths, or as they call it in Waco these days, life AM – After Matt. With it, changes abound under new head coach Dave Aranda, considered one of the top defensive minds in the nation. In addition, new OC Larry Fedora, the former North Carolina head coach, will feature a running spread attack and high-tempo schemes. Rhule got out of Dodge in time as seniors started 53.2% of their games, the 6th-largest percentage in the nation.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

Baylor has produced 5 winning records in the last 24 years in conference games.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY

PLAY ON: as a dog vs. TCU (10/24)

IOWA STATE

TEAM THEME: IT’S GETTING DARK IN HERE

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 46
  • Ret Starters: Offense - *5 / Defense - 8
  • RPR: Total: 52 (71 Offense / 42 Defense)
Last year we drew this analogy about ISU when we stated that games are won or lost in the offseason when nobody is watching. It was a focal part of ISU’s ‘Win In The Dark’ mantra. The problem for Matt Campbell and his Cyclones this season is the lights were turned out with nobody around thanks to the pandemic crisis, drastically impairing all team workouts. Adding to the concern is the offense must replace almost 150 career starts. However, QB Brock Purdy, RB Breece Hall and TE’s Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen are among the best at their position in the conference, and they’re back as the core of ISU’s record-setting offense in 2019 returns. Interesting times in Ames, for sure.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

ISU is one of two schools in the Big 12 (Oklahoma) to make an appearance in the College Football Playoff poll each of the last three seasons.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY:

PLAY ON: at Iowa (9/12)

KANSAS

TEAM THEME: SEEING THROUGH THE PHOG

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 57
  • Ret Starters: Offense - 6 / Defense - 5
  • RPR: Total: 126 (115 Offense / 117 Defense)
In his first season as the head coach at Kansas, Les Miles led the Jayhawks to a three-win season, including three close-call losses by fewer than six points. Not bad for a program that hasn’t won more than three games in a season for over a decade. They also snapped a 48-game away losing skid against FBS foes with a win at Boston College last season. Nonetheless, the win total for the 2020 season is three, the lowest in the Big 12 with the next closest team at 5.5 wins. Don’t forget, OC Brent Dearmon, a Gus Malzahn disciple, did a fine job when he took over midway during the season last year as the Jayhawks’ offense improved 61 YPG.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

Kansas ranked No. 128 in 3rd Down Conversion Defense and No. 130 (worst) in Fewest Fumbles Recovered last season.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY:

PLAY ON: at West Virginia (10/24)

KANSAS STATE

TEAM THEME: STARTING FROM SCRATCH

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 51
  • Ret Starters: Offense - *3 / Defense - 6
  • RPR: Total: 76 (80 Offense / 67 Defense)
OMG. The Wildcats lose every single one of their starts from last year's offensive line and 159 career-starts overall. No line in the country is dealing with this kind of an overhaul. Having seniors start the second-most amount of games in the FBS last season (59.6%) certainly adds to this year’s tight spot. Rest assured, though, having Chris Klieman as K-State’s head coach will certainly help. He’s a winner, as the Stat You Will Like below confirms. Finally, in perhaps the Yin and Yang stat of the year, KSU was No. 1 (best) in the nation in Red Zone Offense last season but No. 130 (worst) in Red Zone Defense. They were also No. 2 in 3rd Down Conversion Defense.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

Klieman is 77-11 the last six years at the Division 1 (FBS and FCS) level.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY:

PLAY ON: at West Virginia (9/26)

OKLAHOMA

TEAM THEME: QB OR NOT QB

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 11
  • Ret Starters: Offense - 8 / Defense - 8
  • RPR: Total: 82 (103 Offense / 47 Defense)
The quarterback march continues in Norman where former 5-star redshirt freshman QB Spencer Rattler will be on Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy watch list in 2020. Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray, and Baker Mayfield (all transfers) preceded him the past three seasons. But the bigger issue for OU is improving a defense that lived a nightmare in the 63-28 beheading versus LSU in the national semifinals. Perrion Winfrey, the No. 1 rated JUCO DT will help. To better confirm our notion: OU ranked No. 3 in Total Offense, but No. 128 nationally in Red Zone Defense last season. The Sooners made it to the CFB Playoffs despite starting the 4th most underclassmen in 2019 (56.5%). They’re back, red-faced and experienced – a dangerous combination in 2020.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

The Sooners are 37-0 SU and 25-11 ATS since 1999 during the regular season when coming off a loss.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY:

PLAY ON: vs. Kansas State (11/14)

OKLAHOMA STATE

TEAM THEME: BEWARE OF THE MULLET

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 45
  • Ret Starters: Offense - *8 / Defense - 10
  • RPR: Total: 9 (34 Offense / 8 Defense)
After posting 10-win seasons three years running from 2015-2017 – and then winning only 15 games combined the last two seasons – head coach Mike Gundy is hot under the mullet and prepared to do something about it. In what appears to be his most talented squad in 15 years at Oklahoma State, Gundy features 18 returning starters and the No. 9 overall ranked FBS team in the nation in Returning Production. Leading the way is RB Chuba Hubbard, on the 2020 Heisman Trophy watch list, and WR Tylan Wallace – both of whom bypassed the NFL draft to return in 2020. Anchoring it all is a defense with 10 starters back that improved its numbers across the board last season. Forewarned is forearmed.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

The Cowboys are 11-0 SU and 10-1 ATS off consecutive wins versus an opponent off consecutive losses under Gundy.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY:

PLAY ON: at Baylor (11/7)

TCU

TEAM THEME: TWEAKSPEAK

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 28
  • Ret Starters: Offense - *5 / Defense - 7
  • RPR: Total: 64 (75 Offense / 51 Defense)
With 7 or fewer wins in three of the last four years, head coach Gary Patterson knew it was time to start tweaking. It started with the coaching staff where he brought back former OC Doug Meacham, among others. Also working alongside Patterson this season is Jerry Kill, former head coach at Minnesota and Northern Illinois, who will act as a special assistant to Patterson. If QB Max Duggan is to improve after a disappointing debut as a freshman last year, he’ll need to do so without WR Jalen Reagor and with a completely revamped running game. On the other side of the ball, the Frogs tied for the top spot in the nation in 1st Down Defense last season.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

The Horned Frogs are 34-5 SU and 25-12 ATS under Patterson in seasons when coming off a losing year.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY:

PLAY ON: at West Virginia (10/10)

TEXAS

TEAM THEME: KICK-START ME UP

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 10
  • Ret Starters: Offense - *7 / Defense - 9
  • RPR: Total: 21 (62 Offense / 14 Defense)
Tom Herman is entering Year Four with the Longhorns and after losing 15 games the previous three seasons, he went all-in on a coaching staff overhaul this offseason, with six new assistants. A lot of it was done on the advice of Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly in a parallel similar to what Kelly did when he re-booted his staff after the 2016 season and went on to average 11 wins per season the next three years. Note: Senior QB Sam Ehlinger is the sixth Power 5 Conference player in the last 20 years to pass for at least 25 TDs and rush for at least 15 TD in the same season. The other five have won the Heisman Trophy. With that, Herman needs to kick this team in the butt.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

Head coach Tom Herman is 16-5 ATS in his career as a dog in his CFB career, including 6-0 ATS as a double-digit dog.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY:

PLAY AGAINST: vs. West Virginia (10/17)

TEXAS TECH

TEAM THEME: HORSESHOES AND HAND GRENADES

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 49
  • Ret Starters: Offense - *6 / Defense - 8
  • RPR: Total: 81 (106 Offense / 44 Defense)
What does a healthy Alan Bowman mean to the Red Raiders? At full speed, he’s an MVP. Before his injury against Arizona in Week Three last season, he was leading the nation in passing yards before landing on a medical redshirt. This was the same quarterback that completed over 69% of his passes for 2,638 yards and 17 TDs in an eight-game span as a freshman. To make matters worse, TTRR went 0-4 in one-score games while facing the top three teams in the conference on the road. In the end, they lost six of their final seven games last season, including a double OT defeat at Baylor and a pair of home losses in November by a FG or less.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

The Red Raiders pass defense has ranked No. 128 in yards allowed each of the past two seasons.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY:

PLAY ON: at Kansas State (11/7) - *KEY

WEST VIRGINIA

TEAM THEME: WHAT BROWN CAN DO FOR YOU – TAKE II

  • 2020 Recruit Rank: 37
  • Ret Starters: Offense - *8 / Defense - 5
  • RPR: Total: 66 (47 Offense / 88 Defense)
While we lauded the hiring of Neal Brown by West Virginia, things certainly didn’t go according to Hoyle in his first year with the Mountaineers last season. Desperately lacking returning production experience on offense, a 5-game losing streak starting in October doomed Brown’s chance of extending the Mountaineers’ bowl skein to five consecutive years when the attack slipped 19 points and 185 yards per game in 2019. In fact, they were one of only five teams to rush the ball for less than 3 yards per carry last season. For what its worth, they did manage to win two of their final three games last year. Now well stocked on offense, look for this to be Brown’s big bounce back.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE:

The Mountaineers have gone bowling seven straight times since 1993 in years in which they have no consecutive road games.

POINTSPREAD POWER PLAY:

PLAY ON: at Texas Tech (10/3)

  
HEADLINES
· Trump, coaches push for college football
· Coaches facing tough adversary: uncertainty
· Pac-12 player group 'disappointed' on call
· Several CSU players dispute allegations
· Pitt d-lineman Jaylen Twyman opts out
· MAC cancels football season due to virus
· CSU football paused amid racism allegations
· LSU adds Mizzou, Vandy in new SEC schedule
· James Madison ends pursuit of season
MORE HEADLINES
 
2019 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bill Marzano + 1740
Brian Bitler + 1465
Pat Hawkins + 1075
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last Week  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Bill Marzano 58 %
Brian Bitler 57 %
Pat Hawkins 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 2010
Matt Blunt + 1645
Kevin Rogers + 1210
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 600
Joe Williams + 600
Paul Bovi + 570
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1960
Kyle Hunter + 845
Pat Hawkins + 675
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
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