It won't be long now. College football is only three weeks away, and we're looking at early NCAA odds to see if we can spot potential upsets on the Big 12 schedule.
Who doesn't enjoy a good upset? Besides the college football bettors backing the favorites, obviously.
We're just three weeks away from the 2013 college football betting season kicking off, and spreads are already out for Week 1 at many sports books. We also have NCAA Football odds on some of the bigger matchups throughout the schedule after one outlet released lines earlier this summer.
We've already explored potential upsets in the SEC, and now it's time to take a look at the slate in the Big 12. The conference will at least be a bit more stable as it enters with the same 10 teams from 2012 following a radical makeover, but that doesn't mean the games down on the field will be any less volatile for bettors than was the case last season.
Early Non-Conference Games Key To Big 12 Success
One of the issues discussed when first previewing the conference in July was the expectation that none of the teams were top 10 caliber. The Big 12 will have a chance to disprove that with several marquee non-conference matchups during the first month, starting on the first Saturday of the season when LSU and TCU battle on August 31st.
Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX will host the Tigers and Horned Frogs, and while the prime-time clash is being played just a short drive from TCU, Jerry Jones' playground will be teeming with purple-&-gold clad fans from Louisiana. The Tigers went out as 4-point favorites back in June, but the spread is now 5.5 at many offshore books. I expect we'll see 6 or higher by game time, and like the points with both defenses keeping the final tally down.
The Texas Longhorns play two crucial non-con contests, starting with a trip to Provo vs. BYU on September 7th. The Longhorns will be coming off a home opener against New Mexico State that shouldn't be any trouble, and have Ole Miss on deck back in Austin in Week 3. Texas is laying 7.5 to Bronco Mendenhall and his Cougars, and started at -8 for the game vs. Ole Miss.
I can see Texas getting upset outright in one if not both of those games; definitely like BYU plus the points, but will hold off on the Ole Miss game since the Rebels have a brutal schedule to begin the campaign (4 of first 5 on road).
The monster non-conference game takes place September 28th in South Bend where the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Oklahoma Sooners. The Irish started the football betting proceedings as 2-point favorites, and Oklahoma in a 27-23 triumph sounds about right to me.
Frogs & Raiders Collide In Thursday Night Special
Among the early conference tilts is the September 12th matchup in Lubbock between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and TCU. Both teams will have just four days to prepare for this Thursday night battle, and the Horned Frogs started as 4-point favorites.
The two coaches intrigue me most. Kliff Kingsbury ibros embarking on his first year at the helm of the Raiders, and we know the offensive style he's going to bring to Lubbock after his assistant coaching stints with Texas A&M and Houston, along with Texas Tech under Mike Leach. Gary Patterson, on the other hand, is noted for being more defensive minded. We'll know a little more about the Frogs when we see how they stack up against LSU, and the Horned Frogs should have talented defensive end Devonte Fields back from his 2-game suspension for this one.
Sorry, Techsters, but no upset; TCU comes away with a 30-20 victory for your college football picks.
Can Texas Stop Slide In Red River Shootout?
Many already have this game circled as the unofficial Big 12 Championship, though I'm not so sure. The OU-Texas game is definitely crucial to the conference standings, and especially critical for Mack Brown if he wants to coach the Longhorns after this season, but I'm not going to crown the winner once it's in the books.
Oklahoma has won the last three, and steamrolled the Longhorns 63-21 last October in a game the Sooners led 36-2 at the half. Anything close to another sound whipping will be the death knell for Brown in Austin. The Sooners were favored by a field goal in 2012, easily covering for a third consecutive year with the ‘Over’ also on a 3-0 run.
This year's contest went out as a 'Pick 'em', and it's really difficult not to like Bob Stoops and the Sooners. Still, for your sports picks, I see a Texas upset as a small underdog once the spread settles closer to the game.
Saving The Best For Last?
The Big 12 doesn't have a championship matchup, but the title could easily go down to the final two conference games on December 7th. Oklahoma State hosts the Sooners that day while Texas visits Baylor, and both home teams are flying a bit below the radar entering the campaign.
The Cowboys started as 3-point favorites vs. Oklahoma while the Bears were getting 8 at home against the Longhorns. Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State lost a 51-48 heartbreaker in overtime last year in Norman where OU was 6-point chalk. Baylor fell in a 56-50 barnburner at Austin in 2012, a game that saw the Bears and Longhorns combine for over 1,100 yards of offense and Texas close as 9.5-point chalk.
I do like both Oklahoma State and Baylor to gain revenge, throwing the Big 12 race into a complicated tiebreaker, but then, a lot can change before we get to those games in four months.
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