I finished last season with an official record of 37-26-1 against the spread, good for a 58% winning percentage. Hopefully that can be duplicated this season to create some more winners!
Of course, since point spreads are not posted when FBS plays FCS, there are several Big 12 games missing in this week’s sportsbooks. Here are the games with spreads below.
Oklahoma State @ Central Michigan
It’s a strange start to the season for any Power 5 team: on the road against an opponent from a non-P5 conference. Anyway, Oklahoma State looks to get their season off on the right foot and carry all that momentum over from the end of the last season.
While the spread seems high, I do like Oklahoma State to cover. While CMU is led by their experienced QB Cooper Rush, they turn over a few pieces on the O-line and at skill positions (most notably, Titus Davis).
Also, one of the biggest issues for CMU last season was getting to the QB, with just 20 sacks all year. Now, one of their top defensive players, Blake Serpa, who led the team in tackles for a loss and sacks, will be out with an injury. In addition, CMU is inexperienced at cornerback, so look for Mason Rudolph to attack the outside, especially with seven of their top 8 receivers returning this season for OSU.
The Pick: Oklahoma State -23
TCU @ Minnesota
Something that was concerning and got lost in the outstanding 2014 season from TCU: the team only left the state of Texas twice, and it wasn’t pretty. They beat WVU by 1 and awful Kansas by 4. Now, the Horned Frogs start on the road against a sneaky good Minnesota team.
All the chatter is about Trevone Boykin and TCU’s offense, but don’t forget it’s a defense that lost coordinator Dick Bumpas (retired) and is replacing a lot of experience and talent from the back seven. Sure, Gary Patterson can coach defense, but there is still and adjustment period.
Minnesota is home, will pound the ball behind a veteran O-line, and try to slow the game down. Plus, in last season’s opener, won by TCU 30-7, the game was closer than the score would indicate as the Gophers had 5 turnovers. Boykin will also have to get by a very solid corner combo of Brienn Boddy-Calhoun and Eric Murray.
The Pick: Minnesota +17
Baylor @ SMU
Seth Russell begins his tenure as the new sheriff of the Baylor Bear offense. His offensive weapons are ridiculous, and the defense is up to par this season. Baylor is the best team in the Big 12 and will roll in this game. Just a question of, can they cover?
SMU is coming off a 1-11 season, but I love their hire of a new HC Chad Morris. He will feature a high powered offense and is led by Texas A&M transfer QB Matt Davis.
Art Briles knows, with his weak non-conference, he must pound the perceived “lesser” opponents. But, does he take his foot off the pedal a bit? He may out of respect for Morris, who, coincidentally, followed Briles as the head coach at Stephenville (TX) High School. The two remain good friends. Does Briles have sympathy?
Honestly, I think so.
The Pick: SMU +35.5
Oklahoma vs. Akron
Two teams with very different styles. OU debuts their new air-raid offense behind Lincoln Riley, while Akron is a team looking to run behind it’s veteran O-line. The Sooners have the obvious advantage and will win, but it won’t be an easy cover.
The Sooners are shaky on the D-line, and if Akron can slow the game down, they can keep it within the number. Plus, the Sooner offensive line has some turnover, and Akron’s best unit is it’s defensive line, led by senior nose tackle Cody Grice. Do the Sooners have to work out some kinks in the air-raid in their opener? It all sets up for a cover.
The Pick: Akron +33
Texas @ Notre Dame
Yikes … definitely a tough proposition for head coach Charlie Strong, who opens the season in South Bend, with a handful of freshman starters, including two on the offensive line.
Irish DC Brian VanGorder loves to blitz, and with the shaky UT line, and two-QB system, this sets up for complete chaos when the Texas offense is on the field. The Irish did take a big offseason blow with DT Jarron Jones going down with a season ending injury, but I’m not sure it matters for this game against Texas.
Meantime, Malik Zaire has been handed the reins to the Irish offense, but he needs to prove he can pick apart a defense with his arm. But, he has plenty of help with a loaded offensive line, headlined by LT Ronnie Stanley and Nick Martin, and a strong running game behind it of Tarean Folston.
Texas is a year away, and this game will be much more enjoyable and competitive when it’s played in Austin next season.
The Pick: Notre Dame -9
West Virginia vs. Georgia Southern
WVU is being very underrated heading into the season. Sure they lose some big names like Kevin White, Mario Alford and Clint Trickett. But, this offense will continue to hum and the defense will be strong.
Some may look to Georgia Southern’s 9-3 2014 campaign and an offense that ranked 10th in the country with nearly 40 points per game. But, the Eagles will be missing starting QB Kevin Ellison because of suspension. Meantime, WVU returns 10 starters on defense and has been preparing for the Eagles confusing run-scheme for weeks now.
Rolling with the ‘Eers.
The Pick: WVU -17.5
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