It’s back! My Big 12 picks against the spread are here for another season. We have finished over 52% in each of our seasons picking games. Think that’s average? Not really. The best of the best in Vegas hit in the high 50’s and make tons of money. So let’s get the ball rolling on Week 1 gambling picks. Remember, FBS vs. FCS games do not have lines, so we are not picking every Big 12 game on the list.
Something different this season: I will make a pick for every game, but it may not be against the spread, it may be an over/under play instead.
Oklahoma State vs. Tulsa
The Pokes have College Football Playoff expectations this season, while Tulsa is coming off a 10-win campaign and Phil Montgomery has the offense humming. But, the Golden Hurricane is missing a ton of pieces from last year’s squad. Tulsa made FBS history last year as the first team to have a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard receivers and two 1,000-yard rushers. But of those five players, only one is back in 2017: running back D’Angelo Brewer. Tulsa is also working in a new starting quarterback, either Chad President or Luke Skipper. So combine a new QB, with a four returning offensive lineman and a solid running back, and it seems like Tulsa may run the ball more than expected.
Combine that with the natural Game 1 jitters both teams could have and an underrated Cowboys defense, and I really like the under here.
The pick: Oklahoma State – Tulsa under 70 points
Texas vs. Maryland
OK, so it’s Tom Herman’s first game as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns. Expectations are going to be sky high in Austin. They’re saying on the 40 Acres, “Texas is back”. Is it? I don’t know. Unless you’re Chip Brown predicting 12-1 records, you don’t have a clue. The again, he doesn’t either.
D.J. Durkin and the Terps have quietly recruited well these past two years. Yes they have plenty of question marks, including quarterback, but the offensive line is solid and the running backs are very impressive. And let’s be honest, this is basically the same Texas team that was soft at times last season and lost to Kansas, then was smoked by TCU. Offseason optimism is great, and UT is going to get much better under Herman. But covering a three-score spread in Week 1? Not yet. Both teams are going to play fairly conservatively and try to slow the game down a bit, especially Maryland.
The Pick: Maryland +18
Oklahoma vs. UTEP
The line opened at a ridiculous 48 points for Oklahoma. That was the time to get on the Miners. But guess what, it still is. UTEP’s strength on defense is it’s secondary and we know Baker Mayfield is now trying to figure out who is new favorite target is. Sure, the Oklahoma offensive line is going to maul over UTEP’s defensive line, but keeping the ball on the ground will help slow the game down, relatively.
Plus, the Sooners are playing on the road against Ohio State next week, and you better believe Lincoln Riley is going to keep his playbook as vanilla as possible to get the win and not show too much to Urban Meyer.
The majority of the public is betting Oklahoma, but the line is moving in UTEP’s favor. I’m with the wise guys here. It’s just too many points, IMHO.
The Pick: UTEP + 43
West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech
This game opened up as Virginia Tech +2.5 and has flipped entirely, where Virginia Tech is now a four-point favorite. That’s absolutely nuts. Simple analysis: Vegas is never that wrong. Now the more detailed analysis: The public sees as Virginia Tech team that won the ACC Coastal last season, that’s all well and good. But they are now rolling with a redshirt freshman at quarterback in Josh Jackson, while the Mountaineers upgrade at quarterback to Will Grier. Jackson is a lot of hype and has real potential, but this is a huge stage for his first college game.
The Virginia Tech strength is in the back seven, as they replace three on the defensive line. That’s fine because Grier will hand the ball off to the best stable of running backs in the Big 12.
It’s going to be a close game and I’ll take more than a field goal with the Mountaineers.
The Pick: West Virginia +4
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