College Football Analysis: Big 12 “Midwest” Win Totals Picks

College football win totals have been available at 5Dimes for a little while now as bettors have been pushing the juice around with low-limit max wagers. Heritage Sportsbook has a handful of win totals as well, but it was CG Technologies in Las Vegas that set the standard that most sportsbooks will now follow with their college football season win totals.

To date, the five power conferences have had win total numbers released and here at BangTheBook, we’re going to take a look at each team on a conference-by-conference basis with a little bit of schedule analysis, depth chart analysis, and some coaching thoughts.

The fifth conference to be covered in this 11-conference series that will include the Independent teams is the Big 12 Conference. The Big 12 salvaged a mediocre regular season with a decent bowl season as Oklahoma knocked off Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, Texas managed to hold Oregon to seven points in the Alamo Bowl, Kansas State dominated Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, and Texas Tech was victorious over Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

After a few down years, the Big 12 may be poised for a return to prominence on the national stage with some teams that are on the upswing. This conference will be broken down into the Texas teams plus West Virginia and then the other half of the conference with both Kansas teams, both Oklahoma teams, and Iowa State. (The Texas teams plus West Virginia can be found here.)

Big 12Oklahoma

5Dimes: 10 -115/-115

Heritage: N/A

CG Technologies: 10 -115/-115

Oklahoma ran into a disappointed Alabama team in the Sugar Bowl, but it shouldn’t diminish what the Sooners did in dismantling Nick Saban and Kirby Smart’s defense. That bowl game was Trevor Knight’s coming out party. He threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns against a defense that had several Sunday players on it. Knight’s emergence comes at the expense of Blake Bell, but Bob Stoops will find touches for the 6’6” 264-lbs monster. Fourteen starters return and the Sooners defense, which returns nine, held opponents to 22.1 points per game last season. The Sooners also welcomed one of the top recruiting classes in the country.

With Texas at a neutral site (Dallas) and Baylor at home, Oklahoma should be favored in every game this season. Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, and Tennessee are on the non-conference schedule and the toughest road games come at TCU and at Texas Tech. Trips to Morgantown and Ames are also on the docket. The byes are nicely spread out as Oklahoma plays no more than four consecutive games over the course of the season.

Pick: Over 10 (-115) (5Dimes)

Personally, Oklahoma looks a bit overrated entering the season. Up until the bowl game, Knight had only completed 59 percent of his passes during the season and the Sooners only completed 54.2 percent of passes during conference play. Not to mention, they only outscored opponents by an average of five points per game in conference and they went 7-2. The Baylor and Iowa State effectively cancel out. That being said, the Sooners are 57-4 at home over the last 10 years and three of their four toughest games are at home.

 

Kansas State

5Dimes: 7 -150/120

Heritage: 8.5 -115/-105

CG Technologies: 8 -105/-125

Ageless wonder Bill Snyder has orchestrated 13 upsets over the last five seasons and he’s been an ATS assassin over that span with a record of 39-24-1. JUCO transfer Jake Waters had a solid season for the Wildcats last year as they replaced Collin Klein. The two leading rushers, including backup QB Daniel Sams, are gone, though far and away leading receiver Tyler Lockett is back. Three of the five offensive linemen need to be replaced, including both tackles, and the defense will be reliant on JUCO transfers to fill key roles.

It will be interesting if Bill Snyder can work his upset magic on September 18 when Auburn comes to town for a Thursday night primetime game. The other non-conference games are against Stephen F. Austin and UTEP. Conference play starts early for the Wildcats with a trip to Ames on September 6. They have a tough road slate with trips to Oklahoma, Baylor, and TCU, with a four-game gauntlet of Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, and TCU from October 18 to November 8.

Pick: Under 8.5 (-105) (Heritage)

It’s dangerous to bet against Bill Snyder’s team, both on a game-by-game basis and on a season win total basis, but this schedule is quite demanding. JUCO transfers can be hit or miss. Snyder has had a lot of success with them, but there are five conference road games plus Auburn at home and that’s a lot to overcome for any team.

 


Oklahoma State

5Dimes: 7 -105/-125

Heritage: N/A

CG Technologies: 7.5 -120/-110

Mike “I’m 40” Gundy faces his toughest test in seven seasons according to oddsmakers as the Cowboys could win fewer than eight games for just the second time since 2007. Just eight starters return and a lot of production leaves with the departed players. First-round pick Justin Gilbert is the biggest loss on defense, while JW Walsh is the new starter at quarterback with Clint Chelf gone. The Cowboys became more of a rushing team last season, with more runs than passes, but now they have to replace three starting linemen. The defense held opponents to 21.6 points per game and only one of the top nine tacklers returns.

Oklahoma State will probably begin the season 0-1 with a neutral site game in Jerry World against Florida State. After they, they host Missouri State and UTSA before conference play begins with a Thursday night meeting against Texas Tech. The Cowboys play five road games in conference with trips to Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma over the final six weeks of the season. A lone home game against Texas and two bye weeks make up the other three weeks.

Pick: Over 7 (-105) (5Dimes)

There’s no margin for error for the Cowboys to go over this total and there’s a decent chance that freshman Mason Rudolph is starting some time during conference play, but the Cowboys tend to play up to their competition in big games and Gundy gets a lot out of his teams. Unfortunately, there’s little hedging ability because the part of OSU’s schedule that could yield wins is early, so they may have to start 7-2 to even give this bet a shot. This could be an “against the grain” pick, but Gundy maximizes talent.

 

Iowa State

5Dimes: 3 -120/-110

Heritage: N/A

CG Technologies: 3.5 -150/120

After overachieving for his first four seasons with the Cyclones, Paul Rhoads ran out of fairy dust and magic potion last season. The Cyclones went just 3-9, though they did end the season on a high note with wins over Kansas and West Virginia. Former Kansas head coach Mark Mangino is the new offensive coordinator in an effort to spark a group that managed just 363 yards per game last season. Ten starters return on offense, which is a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you value starters that weren’t particularly good. The defense lost its two top tacklers, who combined for over 250 tackles, and #2 tackler Jacques Washington had 58 more than the next closest player.

Iowa State opens with North Dakota State, in a game that they could definitely lose to a hungry FCS opponent that is 43-2 over the last three seasons. Big 12 play begins early with a visit from Kansas State in Week 2. The poorly named Cy-Hawk Trophy will be up for grabs in Iowa City on September 13. The other non-conference matchup is Toledo for Homecoming on October 11. Baylor and Oklahoma visit Ames, while the Cyclones go to Oklahoma State, Texas, and TCU.

Pick: Under 3.5 (+120) (CG Technologies)

It’s unfortunate that this number isn’t available offshore. The Cyclones aren’t guaranteed to beat North Dakota State and one of their most winnable conference games, Kansas, is on the road. Iowa State lacks playmakers on both sides of the ball and the schedule doesn’t do them many favors. Remember that this is a team that lost to Northern Iowa, who is nowhere near the caliber of North Dakota State as far as FCS schools go. Even Toledo has a decent chance at upsetting the Cyclones.

 

Kansas

5Dimes: N/A

Heritage: N/A

CG Technologies: 3 100/-130

Only Las Vegas is willing to take a position on the Jayhawks so far this season, though 5Dimes should be somewhere around this number. For the second straight season, the Jayhawks couldn’t beat Rice, but were able to secure a Big 12 win for the first time in three seasons. That brought their conference record to 3-40 over the last five seasons. After starting for a few games last season, BYU transfer Jake Heaps left for Miami (FL). There are some interesting pieces on offense, including UCLA transfer TJ Millweard and dual-threat QB Montell Cozart. Former Miami Redhawk Nick Harwell, who caught 3,166 yards worth of passes before being dismissed from the program, infuses some talent to a WR corps that needs it. Nine starters return from a defense that improved by almost 50 yards per game and over four points per game.

Kansas gets a late start to the season with an opening week bye before hosting SE Missouri State. A trip to Duke and a visit from Central Michigan lead into conference play against Texas. The Jayhawks visit West Virginia, Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma, and Kansas State, leaving them four conference home games against Texas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and TCU.

Pick: Under 3.5 (-130) (CG Technologies)

Charlie Weis’s team improved by two games last season, but they had a worse offense than the year before. They managed 295 yards of offense per game. The Jayhawks may be easier to watch this season with Weis’s influence and some exciting recruits and transfers, but an additional conference road game and an improved conference overall won’t help a team that is a few notches below everybody else except Iowa State.

 

The win total analyses for the Big 12 Conference Texas teams and West Virginia are posted here.

Adam Burke

Adam Burke

Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.

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