Football

MONDAY MUSINGS: Best O/U Big 12 bets for the 2019 season 

It’s looking like Aug. 15 will be the day that casinos around the great state of Iowa will start taking sports bets. In honor of this momentous occasion, here are my best Big 12 over/under bets for the 2019 season. 

Note: I am going off of the latest numbers that were released in late June by FanDuel.

Oklahoma — 10.5
Texas — 9.5
Iowa State — 8
TCU — 7.5
Baylor — 7
Oklahoma State — 6.5
Texas Tech — 6.5
Kansas State — 5.5
West Virginia — 5
Kansas — 3

TCU (OVER 7.5)

Gary Paterson is one of my top five favorite coaches in the sport, but I also feel like he’s gone through a bit of a coaching midlife crisis (as a coach) over the last 2-3 years. I’m just confused on what direction TCU is going as far as identity goes.

I’m banking on the Horned Frogs, who were decimated by injuries on last year’s team that went 7-6 (4-5), to have a vintage Patterson bounce back type of season in 2019.

I like TCU to go at least 5-4 in Big 12 play. They went 4-5 last year, which was a down year for the program. 

What this number will really come down to, other than simply doing what it should do during league play, is Sept. 14’s non-conference trip to Purdue. I’ve got the Boilers being a bit down this year as Jeff Brohm still builds that program. If TCU wins that game, then I’m confident they will easily hit this number. 

Full disclosure: I’m still not in love with TCU’s situation at quarterback. I am banking on Gary Patterson’s history here and not much more. 

Oklahoma State (OVER 6.5)

Sensing a theme? I’m of the believe that the middle of the Big 12 will be better than what most believe.

A few things on the Cowboys…

— Mike Gundy is one hell of a salesman and he convinced me in Dallas that his program is on a mission in 2019.

— According to Phil Steele’s experience chart, the Cowboys were No. 119 nationally last year. That number has improved to 53rd entering 2019, which is huge. 

— Finally, Oklahoma State only needs to win seven games to hit the number. Oklahoma State has only failed to do this ONE TIME in Mike Gundy’s 13 year tenure in Stillwater, that being 2005, his first year on the job.

I’ve got Oklahoma State going 3-0 in the non-conference (at Oregon State, McNeese, at Tulsa), which means they only have to go 4-5 in the Big 12 to hit the OVER?

Sign me up for that right now. 

Oklahoma (UNDER 10.5)

I want to make it very clear that I am not down on Oklahoma. They are a legitimate College Football Playoff contender. 

But with a number like 10.5, obviously only two losses hits the UNDER, which doesn’t leave much room to maneuver. I do not know where those losses will come from, but the Red River Shootout vs. Texas on Oct. 12 sure seems like a possibility. Road trips to Baylor and Oklahoma State (Bedlam) could be tricky as well.

I just believe that the Big 12, while still a flashy offensive conference, has mildly shifted over the last few years. Playing sound, fundamental defense is more important than it was five years ago. It will be interesting to see how quickly new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch can fix 2018’s 130’s ranked pass defense (dead last in college football). If Oklahoma would have just been decent defensively the last two years, they would probably have a national championship to show for it.

I have a combo of concerns here: Obviously the defense.

But I also sense a smidge of a drop-off offensively, as I do not believe that Jalen Hurts is Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray (the last two No. 1 picks in the NFL Draft and Heisman Trophy winners).

Still, Lincoln Riley is a star, so I have faith that even if they can’t live up to the last two years, Oklahoma’s offense will be very good in 2019.

We’ll see. 

I have OU at 10-2, but that would hit the UNDER, so let’s roll with it. 

Texas (OVER 9.5)

This is where I differ from most analytics and experts. To the chagrin of the Tom Herman haters out there and Lord knows there are many, I have Texas winning the Big 12. 

I also believe that quarterback Sam Ehlinger will be sitting at the Heisman Trophy ceremony in December. He’s the next Colt McCoy – a true leader that demands a following. 

Texas is down a handful of starters on defense but if you paid attention during the second half of last season, a lot of the more talented young guys who will be starting in 2019 saw a lot of snaps down the stretch when this program really started to click.

Texas is a less experienced, but more talented football team in 2019. Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando is a boss. 

I don’t know if Texas will be better than Oklahoma this season, but I do know that the gap to chase down the four-time defending champion Sooners has shrunk greatly. 

West Virginia (UNDER 5)

I really like new head coach Neal Brown but this seems like a tear it down to build it back up situation to me. Again, I will reference Phil Steele’s experience chart, where the Mountaineers will enter 2019 ranked 119th. Plus they are installing a brand new offense and defense. 

Offensively, West Virginia is down star quarterback Will Grier, its top three receivers and three starting offensive linemen. Defensively, the Mountaineers have to replace their top six tacklers from last season.

Schedule wise, I’ve got them going 1-2 in the non-con with losses at Missouri and to NC State. 

The UNDER is the play here. 

My take on Iowa State at 8…

I think the number is perfect. 

I wouldn’t play the UNDER because Iowa State is solid at quarterback, has a top-tier head coach, should be better up front offensively and has the best defensive front-seven in the conference. 

These days, Iowa State is a solid program whose middle of the roster is as good as it has ever been. 

Why I would be afraid to play the OVER: The middle of the league. 

I just think that TCU, Oklahoma State and to a lesser extent, Baylor, are all going to be better than what most people probably believe. I would even throw Texas Tech into that conversation. 

Of course, if you feel like eight wins is the worst-case scenario for Iowa State, you might as well bet the OVER and the worst thing that can happen is  a PUSH.

The Big 12 got better in the offseason in terms of its coaching roster and that will make things more difficult on the Cyclones, who have their eyes on the Big 12 championship game in December. 

Chris Williams

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Chris was hired as Cyclone Fanatic’s publisher in the fall of 2009. He is Iowa State football's postgame show host on the Cyclone Radio Network and can be heard daily from 4-7 on Des Moines' top-rated sports station, 1460 KXnO. Williams, a 2007 graduate of Iowa State’s Greenlee School of Journalism, is the former publisher of the old CycloneNation.com (Scout.com). He has also written for the Des Moines Register, the Ames Tribune, CycloneReport.com and is the former sports director at KMA Radio. When Williams isn’t working, you can usually find him doing something outdoors with his wife Ashley, daughter Camryn, and Golden Retriever Dierks. He enjoys golfing, boating, country music, the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Braves and is passionate about any and all motor sports so finding Williams at a local dirt track is very common.