Big 12 Football – Week 1 Handicapping Guide
This Thursday night marks the start of another college football season. The Big 12 comes into the 2012 campaign with a couple of teams that could make some noise in this year’s quest for a BCS title. The conference also welcomes West Virginia and TCU to the fold as they kick-off their inaugural season in the conference this week as well. The following is a look at a couple of the top matchups this week in the Big 12 along with betting lines as provided by 5Dimes.
Marshall Thundering Herd vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (-24) Total Line: 64.5
Marshall finished the 2011 season 7-6 straight-up overall and went 5-3 SU in Conference-USA. It has been opened at 12/1to win the conference this season with six other teams having better odds. The Herd will start the season with a pair of freshman running backs (Kevin Grooms and Steward Butler) anchoring the rushing attack on offense and a number of new faces scattered throughout the defense.
West Virginia opens the season as the No.11-ranked team in the nation in the AP Poll and a 5/1 third-favorite to win the Big 12 this year. The Mountaineers will have quarterback Geno Smith and wide receivers’ Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin back on an offense that finished the 2011 season ranked sixth in the nation in passing yards per game.
These two teams have met every season since 2006 and while West Virginia is a perfect 6-0 SU. Marshall holds a 4-2 edge ATS. The total has stayed ‘under’ in the last four meetings. Last season the Mountaineers won 34-13, but the Thundering Herd covered as 21.5-point road underdogs.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-1.5) vs. Iowa State Cyclones Total Line: 52.5
In another Conference-USA/Big 12 matchup, Tulsa comes in as a slight road favorite. It posted an 8-5 SU record in 2011 that included a 5-2 run both SU and ATS to close-out the year. The Golden Hurricane come in as 6/1 fourth-favorites to win their conference and returns a good number of key starters on both sides of the ball.
Iowa State went 6-7 SU overall last season after losing its last three games and was 3-6 SU in Big 12 play. The Cyclones open this season as 75/1 longshots to win the Big 12 with only Kansas having longer odds. Given the fact that they are home underdogs against a team from a mid-major conference, a win on Saturday suddenly becomes all that more important to this struggling program.
Tulsa is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games on the road and 4-1 ATS in its last five games as a road favorite. Iowa State is 5-0 ATS in its last five games as an underdog and 21-10 ATS in its last 31 games played in September. The total has stayed ‘under’ in 10 of the Golden Hurricane’s last 14 non-conference games and in six of the Cyclone’s last eight games out of the conference.
SMU Mustangs vs. Baylor Bears (-10.5) Total Line: 58
The third Conference-USA/ Big 12 matchup in Week 1 is scheduled for Sunday night. SMU finished in the middle of the pack in the West Division with a 5-3 record in conference play and it had an 8-5 record overall. It has been opened at 13/2 fifth-favorites to win Conference-USA this season and 5/2 second-favorites to win the division.
Baylor begins life after Robert Griffin III as a 40/1 longshot to win the Big 12 this season. The overall prospects for the Bears do not look good considering that the main reason for last year’s 10-3 SU record will now be starting for the Redskins on Sundays in the NFL.
The Mustangs last played the Bears in 2005 and have not beaten Baylor since a six-point win in 1986. They are 5-15-1 ATS in their last 16 games against the Big 12. Baylor is 4-0 ATS in its last four games against Conference-USA and 8-0 ATS in its last eight home games.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.