The final Saturday of September is here and we are fully into conference play in the Big 12. Let’s try to build off of back-to-back good weeks for the column!
Friday, September 29th at 10:15 pm ET
Cincinnati -2, Total: 48 (Odds via Caesars Sportsbook)
Both of these Big 12 newcomers are coming off of double-digit losses a week ago. Cincinnati’s defense held up well enough against the Sooners, only allowing 20 points and forcing a big Red Zone fumble to stay in the game. The Bearcats offense is a big problem, especially against good competition. Emory Jones struggled yet again against the Sooners, making it back-to-back mediocre performances for him. Jones needs to be much better if the Bearcats will have a chance to make a bowl. BYU led Kansas at halftime but turnovers and the lack of a running game did the Cougars in against the Jayhawks. Kansas was able to cash in on the turnovers with two defensive touchdowns and that was the difference in the game. Kedon Slovis threw for over 350 yards but he wasn’t overly impressive in Lawrence as the 51 pass attempts from Slovis were due to absolutely no run game for the Cougars (9 yards rushing against KU). BYU also is now beat up with injuries on the defensive side as well. The big picture for the season doesn’t look great for either of these new Big 12 schools, but we’re only looking at one game here. BYU still has a good home-field advantage in Provo and even with the injuries for the Cougars they are the better team in this one and we are getting 2 points. I like BYU to win this game outright as well.
PICK: BYU +2
Saturday, September 30th at 3:30 pm ET
Texas Tech -8.5, Total: 50.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
The 2023 season has turned into an absolute nightmare for Texas Tech. Off to a 1-3 start and now without Tyler Shough who suffered a broken fibula on Saturday in Morgantown, this seems to be a lost season in Lubbock. The Red Raiders defense looked good for a second consecutive week against West Virginia but that had more to do with the fact that the Mountaineers’ offense is a complete mess right now. Texas Tech will now turn to Behren Morton moving forward. Morton struggled last week in relief of Shough after struggling when he played a year ago. I do not expect a quick improvement from Morton even with the worst team in the Big 12 coming into Lubbock. Houston finally played well last week as they hammered Sam Houston 38-7. The Cougars averaged almost seven yards per play against a defense that had been great through their first three games and Houston’s defense was much better even though the Bearkats have one of the worst offenses in FBS. Donovan Smith gets a crack at his former school this week as well. I expect Smith to build off of his best performance of the year last week and to play well yet again. Even with the Cougars getting bet in this game, we’ll take the points with Houston on the road in Lubbock.
PICK: HOUSTON +8.5
Saturday, September 30th at 3:30 pm ET
Texas -16.5, Total: 63.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
The best game of the weekend in the Big 12 takes place in Austin. Texas continued their march to the College Football Playoff with a blowout victory in Waco against a battered Baylor team. The Longhorns averaged over 8 yards per play and held the Bears to 4.3 yards per play, it was a dominant performance in a matchup where you would expect Texas to be dominant in. Quinn Ewers continued his high-level play and deserves to be squarely in the Heisman race (currently +600 at DK, only Michael Penix and Caleb Williams have shorter odds). I currently have Texas as the third-best team in the country and there is no excuse for the Longhorns to not be in Arlington and a playoff spot is the expectation now. Kansas didn’t have their “A” game last week but still won and covered against BYU last week. Jalon Daniels was efficient a week ago and the Jayhawks’ rushing attack averaged 6 yards a carry. For scheduling purposes, Kansas couldn’t have asked for a better spot for drawing Texas. The Longhorns are in a huge look-ahead spot with Oklahoma on deck next week. I expect Kansas to be able to move the ball on Texas, it will be a matter of will the Jayhawks’ defense be able to slow the potent Longhorns’ offense. We’re getting 16.5 with Kansas, that’s too many points to pass up. If Texas covers, we’ll tip our hat and move to the next bet.
PICK: KANSAS +16.5
Time for some bonus bets!
Duke (+5.5) vs. Notre Dame
UNLV (-11) vs. Hawaii
Stanford (+27) vs. Oregon
Big 12 Bets 2-1
Bonus Bets 2-0-1