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Over/under win totals: Sizing up the Big 12

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Sam Ehlinger
Sam Ehlinger (AP Images)


The Big 12 was a tricky one a year ago, as we went .500 picking the league’s over-unders, a performance that, while not a total disaster, is less than ideal. This year, we have another look at the conference win totals and hope to improve our performance. Below is a look at the Vegas line for each Big 12 team and a pick for what Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy feels is the smart bet. All lines and odds come from Betus.com.

RELATED: Cassidy's over/under picks prior to last season


The win total: 6

The pick: Under (-140)

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of last year’s spectacular flop in Waco. Baylor is not a team totally void of talent and Matt Rhule is still presumed to be a more-than-capable coach, but 1-11 is 1-11. All of those things said, I struggle to pinpoint a convincing reason why 2018 will be drastically different than 2017, so the under it is. Baylor returns 11 starters, but it’s easy to question why that is being painted as a positive thing. It says something that -140 sill somehow seems like a value here. The Bears will be better than 1-11, but improving by five wins in one season seems unlikely.


The win total: 6

The pick: Under (even)

Taking the under is a bet that the public ‘s coronation of Matt Campbell as king of the young coaches came bit too early. Yes, the Cyclones were impressive at times last season, but the program also lost a massive weapon in wide receiver Allen Lazard. The defense bid farewell to a long list of playmakers, making an early-season trip to Iowa seem like a loss. Seven wins is a tall task for a program still improving its talent level, even if the Cyclones do have one of the country’s best young coaches.


The win total: 10

The pick: Over (+110)

Lincoln Riley is 12-2 as a head coach. Sure, that record includes just one season – a season in which he had a No. 1 overall draft pick heading up his offense, but we’re massive Riley believers in this space. In fact he’s the column’s favorite coach this side of gambling deity Scott Frost. But aside from having Riley at the helm, there are plenty of reasons to believe Oklahoma will make a second-straight trip to the College Football Playoff. Perennially the most talented team in the Big 12, Oklahoma returns roughly half of its defense from a year ago. And while the Sooners are breaking in a new quarterback, the offense has the talent necessary to ease some of Kyler Murray’s growing pains. The schedule isn’t particularly challenging. The +110 over is the play, as a push seems like the worst-case scenario.


The win total: 7.5

The pick: under (+120)

It can be argued that no program in the conference lost more than Oklahoma State, which will be asked to fill key spots on the offensive line while also finding answers at a number of skill positions. A home game against West Virginia is no guaranteed win, and the schedule includes scary road games at Kansas State and TCU. I count seven wins. The value attached to the under makes it even more attractive, but judging by how I did with the Big 12 a year ago, the Pokes will probably go 11-1. Congrats to Mike Gundy on his Big 12 title.


The win total: 3

The pick: Under (-170)

Who knows? I mean, there’s a game against FCS Nicholls State on the schedule. Kansas also recruited a Rivals250 defensive back in Corione Harris, so that’s could help a little? Maybe they Jayhawks are due for another upset win? Maybe? Sadly, fact is, if you’re betting on Kansas football, you should be maybe take a break. The under seems fine here, I guess. Head coach David Beaty has won just three total games in his three seasons as KU’s coach, so asking him to surpass that total in one season seems like a giant request. An under bet at -170 isn’t a great value, but taking the inverse would be insane so here we are.


The win total: 6

The pick: Over (-115)

Bill Snyder is usually formidable with a returning quarterback and this year he returns a pair of them that found some semblance of success a year ago. The Wildcats will have to find new options at wide receiver but they return their best offensive lineman in Dalton Risner and should have enough talent on defense to stay in every game they play. An influx of youth on Snyder’s coaching staff could pay dividends or create a hiccup when it comes to play calling and things of the like, but logic dictates that Kansas State should be significantly more talented and experienced than it was during last year’s 7-5 regular-season finish. If the Wildcats can win an early-season home game against a Mississippi State team that will be breaking in a first-year head coach, they could cruise to seven wins. Snyder has missed a bowl game just once during his nine-year second stint as the program’s head coach.


The win total: 8

The pick: Over (-115)

The Frogs will still be the underdog in their neutral-site game against Ohio State, but you have to assume the chaos unfolding in Columbus gives them more of a chance to pull off the upset. TCU’s defense should once again be stout, and the schedule allows them to play K-State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in Fort Worth. A late-season road game against West Virginia could determine which way this goes – and that’s if we assume the Frogs don’t knock off the Buckeyes in Arlington. TCU has the defense and the coaching acumen to upset Ohio State or Oklahoma, so let’s ride with over but embrace a push should that be our fate.


The win total: 8.5

The pick: Over (-125)

My Texas picks was one of just four winners in last year’s mediocre Big 12 performance. So while this year’s prediction is reversed, the hope is that the result will hold true. Tom Herman has a significantly more talented team that he inherited a year ago. So while expectations will be higher than they were in his UT debut, the depth should be as well. Starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger will need to improve upon last year’ showing, but he will also have more experienced talent now surrounding him. The Longhorns could conceivable lose to USC, Oklahoma and TCU and still hit the over here. Most of the Longhorns’ more difficult games are in Austin.


The win total: 6

The pick: Under (-115)

Sixth-year head coach and confirmed hunk Kliff Kingsbury was almost fired last year before a late-season win over Texas probably saved his job. But none of that matters now. What matters is there will still be points … lots of them. There will also be questionable defense. There’s a chance this could be Kingsbury’s last stand in Lubbock, and a mid-season axe isn’t out of the question if things get grim early. The under is attractive when you consider Texas Tech won six last year and finished 73rd in last cycle’s recruiting rankings.


The win total: 7.5

The pick: Over (+115)

West Virginia has become a trendy sleeper pick this offseason. But as much as I like to bet against the public, the logic behind such a line of thinking seems sound. There’s no reason to believe the offense will be anything less than lethal. If the defense is improved by any notable measure, the Mountaineers could compete for a spot in the Big 12 title game. There’s no reason Dana Holgorsen's squad can’t beat both NC State and Tennessee to enter Big 12 play at 3-0. If that, extremely plausible timeline takes place, eight wins seems like a slam dunk. I like this pick a lot in spite of its trendiness. Then again, I loved it last year when I made the same pick and took a push.