My Week One picks got off to a respectable 5-5 start. There are eight Big 12 games in Week 2, so let’s get right to them!
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West Virginia at Missouri
The Mountaineers certainly had their struggles in the season opener against James Madison. The offense came to life in the second half as Austin Kendall settled in nicely, but the running game had real problems with 1.4 yards per carry. But for WVU, they go to Columbia against a Missouri team that just lost its season opener to Wyoming. Missouri has a very strong defensive line, which worries me based on how WVU’s running game looked, but the spread had reached two touchdowns, which is just too much for me considering Mizzou’s loss in the opener.
The Pick: WVU +14
Kansas State vs. Bowling Green
The Wildcats came out of the gates flying last week against Nicholls last week. But my thinking is two-fold here: 1) After a juiced-up crowd and team for Chris Klieman’s opener for a 6 p.m. kick off, the crowd will be a little more subdued for Week 2 with an 11 a.m. kick against still lesser competition. Also, Mississippi State is on deck, possibly meaning less playing time for some of the starters and a more vanilla playbook. K-State wins, but just tries to leave this game healthy and not too taxed. Back ups will play and Bowling Green will cover the massive spread. Also note: 67% of the action is on K-State, but the line has only moved a half a point, signaling the “smart money” is on Bowling Green.
The Pick: Bowling Green +24.5
Baylor vs. UTSA
The Bears certainly step up in opponent this week from Stephen F. Austin and it’s another big number for Matt Rhule’s team to try and cover. UTSA actually beat an FCS playoff team convincingly in Incarnate Word (35-7) last week. And Baylor is a team UTSA is very familiar with and comfortable against. The Roadrunners defeated the Bears in San Antonio, 17-10, in 2017. Last year the Roadrunners came to Waco and lost, 37-20. Baylor wins, but this number is too big.
The Pick: UTSA +25
Kansas vs. Coastal Carolina
Coastal has dealt with a lot this week having to move practices around due to Hurricane Dorian. Meantime, KU is feeling good about themselves after a season-opening win and gets back the team’s best player in Pooka Williams this week from suspension. KU has the comforts of home and this game has been bet down from KU -10 to KU -7. Also, KU is quietly putting together a nice stretch, going 4-2 ATS in their last six games. With the number down to one touchdown, I’ll jump on Les Miles and the Jayhawks to move to 2-0 this week.
The Pick: Kansas -7
Oklahoma State vs. McNeese
The Pokes are well rested after starting the season on the previous Friday night and are playing their home opener featuring their new quarterback Spencer Sanders. Mike Gundy is pretty relentless in these weak non-conference games, scoring 50+ in both games in 2018, while not allowing more than 17 points, with similar outcomes in 2017 and 2016. Even if Sanders gets pulled for Dru Brown, he’ll be trying to put up points and prove himself, while the defense has much to prove after some issues last week against Oregon State. It’s a big number, but I’ll take it.
Oklahoma State -37
Oklahoma vs. South Dakota
The Sooners are gearing up for a softball game that should see plenty of action for the back ups. The line has ballooned to north of 40. OU travels to UCLA next week, which means Lincoln Riley will keep it vanilla and get his top players off the field sometime in the third quarter. The Sooners will win running away, but this big of a spread?
The Pick: South Dakota +41.5
Texas vs. LSU
Here’s the deal, the spread is just too big. Everyone is hammering LSU because, well, SEC. Tom Herman is 13-2-1 as a head coach as an underdog (against the spread) and is 8-2 in that role at Texas. I do this the Longhorns will have a tough time with the LSU wide outs and defensive line, but Darrell K. Royal Stadium is going to be buzzing in a way it hasn’t in a decade and I get Sam Ehlinger at home getting nearly a touchdown. I don’t care what the wise guys say, I haven’t even looked. I’m picking Texas.
The Pick: Texas +6.5
Texas Tech vs. UTEP
UTEP is better competition than Montana State, but not by much. Regardless, it’s another number that’s huge for the Big 12 against a poor FBS team. My hunch is that, similar to OU, both teams impressed fans in Week 1 wins and have Week 3 Power 5 match ups out west (Arizona for TTU), and will get a convincing win, but there won’t be a need or desire to cover a spread of this size.
The Pick: UTEP +34.5
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