College football odds, picks for Week 12 in the Big 12: Bedlam game highlights conference title race
Defense has been the driving force behind No. 14 Oklahoma State’s 5-1 start. If the Cowboys are going to pull a rare win over No. 18 Oklahoma in the Bedlam rivalry in Week 12, they’ll need their defense to come through again.
Let’s start with the numbers. Oklahoma State has the No. 8 defense nationally, per SP+. This unit is 12th nationally in points per drive allowed (1.23) and touchdowns per drive allowed (14.6%), as well as eighth in three-and-out percentage (42.7%). They’re also a top-15 defense in sack rate (10%). They get to the quarterback, force a lot of negative plays and play tight coverage with their secondary. This group is salty.
But what happens when the Pokes play the best offense they’ll face this year? So far, Oklahoma State has faced two top-25 offenses per SP+: Texas (No. 23) and Iowa State (No. 24). The next-best opposing offense is Tulsa at No. 57. Oklahoma, meanwhile, ranks fifth. You can make an argument, too, that Oklahoma State is facing Oklahoma at the least-favorable time. The Sooners have shored up their running game — the return of Rhamondre Stevenson has been a huge boost — and freshman receiver Marvin Mims has emerged as the go-to playmaker over the last four games.
Oklahoma State has enough offensive weapons to go point-for-point with Oklahoma if it needs to, but forcing Bedlam into a lower-scoring affair is the Cowboys’ best route to winning. Oklahoma State would then have a clear-eyed path to the Big 12 Championship Game while Oklahoma would need lots of help. That chance doesn’t come around often.
Picks for Week 12
Kansas State at No. 17 Iowa State
I don’t love this matchup for Chris Klieman’s team. K-State’s offensive limitations have been glaring over its past two games, and this program continues to battle COVID-19 issues. They also haven’t been great against the run, and Iowa State running back Breece Hall is hitting 100 yards on the ground in every game. Still, when games are lower-scoring — the point total is 46.5 — K-State is usually in the mix and 2-0 against the spread this year on totals in the 40s. I’m not a fan of K-State straight up, but I’d give ’em 10 points. Pick: Kansas State +11
No. 14 Oklahoma State at No. 18 Oklahoma
This will be the best offense Oklahoma State has faced, but the Cowboys’ defense isn’t a fluke. Add in the extra emotion of the Bedlam series, and there won’t be any issues with the underdogs bringing their own juice. But can the offense make enough plays, and perhaps just as importantly, can quarterback Spencer Sanders give you all of the glitz and none of the turnovers? That and protection up front are going to be the difference in whether the Cowboys pull the outright upset or not. But that defense has been good enough to lay the points. Pick: Oklahoma State +7
1. Oklahoma State (5-1, 4-1 in Big 12): Mike Gundy has two career wins against Oklahoma. This is one of his better chances to get a third, which would all but assure the Cowboys a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.
2. Oklahoma (5-2, 4-2): It’ll be interesting to see how the Sooners look coming off an open week. It’s a chance to get a little healthier, but this team was playing its best football before the break.
3. Iowa State (5-2, 5-1): The Cyclones are in the driver’s seat for Arlington. Hall is up to 1,000 yards on the ground, and the defense is better than the points per game indicate. As long as they can lean on those two things, they’re good.
4. Texas (5-2, 4-2): Tom Herman has won back a little bit of the goodwill he lost early in the season. The game against Kansas originally scheduled for this weekend was postponed to Dec. 12, so now season-defining games against Iowa State and K-State are ahead.
5. West Virginia (5-3, 4-3): The Mountaineers are the Big 12’s most improved team from a year ago, full stop. Running back Leddie Brown already has more yards rushing (897) than WVU had as a team a year ago (879). The downfield passing game is synching up more, while the defense has about four or five Sunday dudes on it. They’re winning at home and losing tight on the road.
6. Kansas State (4-3, 4-2): After two tough losses — one blowout to WVU and one they gave away to Oklahoma State — K-State got the open week to recalibrate. I still think this team can finish .500 or better. A win at Iowa State would be solid.
7. TCU (3-4, 3-4): The Frogs have a low ceiling. They’ve scored 14 points or less in three of their four losses. This is not a typical Gary Patterson defense, either. Quarterback Max Duggan is good when he can run, but overall this team looks … meh.
8. Texas Tech (3-5, 2-5): Red Raiders running back SaRodorick Thompson either made bettors very happy or very angry depending on whether they had Baylor (+1.5) or Texas Tech (-1.5). Either way, Texas Tech squeaked it out over Baylor.
9. Baylor (1-5, 1-5): Baylor isn’t good, but three losses have been by a combined 14 points. The Bears lived a charmed life in 2019, and it’s been a hard regression in the other direction this year.
10. Kansas (0-7, 0-6): The Jayhawks have been at least three-score underdogs in every conference game, and have lost by an average of 36 points per game. They’ve covered once — on a Pooka Williams garbage time kickoff return for a touchdown against West Virginia. Obviously, they’ll upset Texas this Saturday. (Kidding … or am I? Okay, yes I am.)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 12? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,900 in profit over the past four-plus seasons — and find out.
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