The Big 12 regular season has come and gone, but we still have one Big 12 game to look at from a betting perspective, when the Texas Longhorns (11-1, 8-1) take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3, 7-2) in Arlington on Saturday.
Let’s take a look at our special edition of Big 12 Best Bets for the conference championship.
Oklahoma State Cowboys v. Texas Longhorns
Saturday, December 2, 11:00 pm CT, Arlington, Texas
Texas -15.5, Total: 56 (Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)
It’s Conference Championship week in college football and the Texas Longhorns have everything to play for! The Longhorns come into the weekend at 11-1 and 7th in the College Football Playoff Rankings. In order for Texas to make the College Football Playoff they need two, maybe three results.
First off, the Horns have to handle business themselves by beating Oklahoma State. Second, Louisville needs to beat Florida State. Even though the Longhorns are clearly better than the Seminoles in their current form without QB Jordan Travis I just don’t see the committee leaving out an undefeated Power 5 champion.
The third result is where this gets tricky. If Florida State loses to Louisville, a Georgia win over Alabama will almost assuredly clinch the CFP berth for the Longhorns. If Alabama defeats Georgia in the SEC Title Game, you would imagine that Texas should get in over Alabama and Georgia based on their win in Tuscaloosa back in Week 2.
I would say that is no guarantee considering how the committee still views the SEC as the best league in the country. It would be ironic if Texas was held out of the playoff in their final year in the Big 12 by an SEC champ that UT beat in their house. Alright, enough of the scenarios, let’s look at the game at hand. This game opened at most shops at Texas (-13) and the bettors have steamed the Longhorns up to 15.5 favorites, which is the second-largest line for any conference title game (Michigans -23 against Iowa). Texas has played two excellent games in a row. A hard-fought win in Ames against a good Iowa State club two weeks ago and UT just pummeled Texas Tech in Austin last Friday night. Quinn Ewers looks 100% healthy and the defense continues to look like one of the best units in the country. Let’s go to Oklahoma State. It is absolutely incredible that the Pokes made it to Arlington.
According to Bill Radjewski of CollegeFootballData.com, the Cowboys were far and away the luckiest team in America. Oklahoma State exceeded postgame win expectancy by 4.2 wins! Based on those numbers this team should have won 5 games at most. The Cowboys were very lucky to win their last two games against two bottom feeders, needing a comeback in Houston to win by double digits and needing a huge comeback to beat BYU in Stillwater a week ago. I know this Oklahoma State team beat Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Kansas en route to their appearance in this game but you have to wonder if them making it here actually hurts Texas’ chances of making the CFP. I have three total bets on this game, so let’s go one at a time here. From the traditional side of betting, even though we missed the best of the number, and even though this number went through the key number of 14, I still like Texas to cover this number.
This game is a complete mismatch and I fully expect the Longhorns to try to put style points in this one to help make the final impression to the committee a lasting one. I am looking at two receiving props for this game. Let’s start with Ollie Gordon, who has had an amazing season down in Stillwater. Since I expect the Pokes to be trailing in this game, I don’t think this will be a large rushing game for Gordon but I like his receiving yards over 18.5 (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook). Getting Gordon the ball via the pass will be the way Oklahoma State goes about things when they are down 24 in the third quarter. My last prop is Quinn Ewers over 1.5 Touchdown Passes. The juice is -185 at DraftKings Sportsbook, so we are laying a big price but I expect Ewers to go over that number in the first half. I don’t normally give projected final scores but I like Texas to win the game 41-10 as they win the Big 12 on the way out the door.
Ollie Gordon over 18.5 Receiving Yards (-110)
Quinn Ewers over 1.5 Touchdown Passes (-180)
New Mexico State +11 at Liberty
UNLV +2.5 v Boise State
Alabama +6 v Georgia