- Mar 6, 2018
Big 12 college football best bets: Is TCU being overlooked?ESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)
Our college football conference preview continues as we take a look at the Big 12 Conference.
The win totals, conference title odds and national championship odds for every FBS team have been released, and below our experts -- Bill Connelly, David Hale, Doug Kezirian, Joe Fortenbaugh and Tyler Fulghum -- give their best best bets for the Big 12.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Big 12 best bets
TCU Horned Frogs over 7.5 wins (-115)Fortenbaugh: All the talk surrounding the Big 12's 2021 season has focused on Oklahoma and Iowa State for good reason, but don't get caught sleeping on Gary Patterson's Horned Frogs, who return 18 starters including dual-threat quarterback Max Duggan. Duggan's completion percentage jumped from a suspect 53% in 2019 to a healthy 61% last year and there are plenty of reasons to believe another leap is on the horizon. In fact, 4-1 through the opening five games is very realistic (vs. Duquesne, vs. California, vs. SMU following a bye week, vs. Texas, at Texas Tech) and that's before you take note that home dates against Baylor and Kansas offer layup wins. If Iowa State falters, don't be surprised if TCU finds its way into the Big 12 championship games.
TCU to win the league (+2000)
Connelly: Like Baylor, TCU could very well have a top-20 defense on its hands. And late last season, we caught some supremely encouraging glimpses from a pair of star freshmen -- running back Zach Evans (29 carries for 264 yards in his last three games) and receiver Quentin Johnston (eight catches for 247 in his last two) -- that led us to believe that, while this offense probably won't be suddenly elite, it should be quite a bit better than it has been of late. Playing at both OU and Iowa State isn't conducive to a Big 12 title run, but the Horned Frogs have won plenty of huge road games in the past and any time I see +2000 odds associated with a Gary Patterson team, it's a tempting proposition.
Baylor Bears over 5.5 wins (+105)Connelly: Just one season ago, Baylor was in overtime in the Big 12 Championship, playing for a possible spot in the College Football Playoff. Things went off the rails last season thanks to a coaching change and three early one-score losses, but second-year head coach Dave Aranda has a potential top-20 defense on his hands, not to mention (a) an offense that can't play much worse, and (b) a schedule with some gimmes. The Bears play three teams projected 118th or worse in SP+, which means they should need to only go 3-6 in the other nine games to hit the Over. SP+ gives them a 66% chance of doing so.
Kansas Jayhawks under 1.5 wins (-170)
Fulghum: Kansas will only be favored in one game all season long (Week 1 vs. South Dakota). Last year's team lost its eight conference games by an average of 32.3 PPG. Les Miles was dismissed from the program unexpectedly and Lance Leipold comes in to an unenviable situation despite a strong resume. Winning football games at Kansas just isn't easy to do, and Leipold is starting this season behind the 8-ball... with a very bad team.