Big 12 betting preview: Oklahoma seeks to deny Baylor repeat
The Oklahoma Sooners ended their 11-2 SU and 8-5 ATS 2013 season on a four game winning streak straight-up and at the sportsbook window.
They enter the 2014 season as a 5/7 favorite to win the Big 12 title, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, and are considered by many to be a strong contender to make the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma showed just how good it could be during its last three games of the 2013 season. The Sooners went on the road to defeat Kansas State as a 5-point underdog and then topped Oklahoma State as a 10-point underdog to sneak into a Sugar Bowl bid.
As a 17-point underdog against Alabama, Oklahoma cruised to a surprising 45-31 victory. Trevor Knight, who is going off at 16/1 to win the Heisman Trophy, passed for 348 yards and four touchdowns in that win.
The biggest obstacle to Oklahoma's title hopes looks to be the defending Big 12 champion Baylor Bears, who are going off at 5/2 to defend their conference title. The Bears finished 2013 with an 11-2 SU and 9-4 ATS record, including a 41-12 win over Oklahoma.
Quarterback Bryce Petty passed for 4,200 yards and 32 touchdowns with only three interceptions, adding 14 more touchdowns on the ground as well. Petty is a legitimate Heisman contender at 12/1 and gives Baylor a shot to win the national championship at 28/1.
For the first time since 1997, the Texas Longhorns will be led onto the field by a head coach other than Mack Brown. Brown's tenure with the Longhorns ended with a mediocre 30-21 SU record over his last four seasons, and new head coach Charlie Strong will be tasked with trying to get Texas back into the running as a perennial title contender.
That transformation isn't likely to happen overnight, but Texas' talent and Strong's resume make it hard to completely rule out the Longhorns at 15/2 to win the Big 12. They are 66/1 to win the national title.
Kansas State and Oklahoma State both sit on the betting board at 10/1 to win the Big 12. The Wildcats are coming off an 8-5 SU and ATS season and are always in the thick of things as Bill Snyder continues to get the most out of his players year in and year out. However, topping the conference's big dogs will be a tall task. The Cowboys come off a strong 10-3 SU and 8-5 ATS campaign, but this will likely be a rebuilding year in Stillwater.
Rounding out the Big 12 with odds to win the conference are TCU (14/1), Texas Tech (20/1), West Virginia (66/1), Iowa State (100/1) and Kansas (100/1). TCU and Texas Tech both have the talent to factor into the Big 12 equation with an upset or two, but it will take a dream season to get into the mix for the conference title.
Big 12 conference odds as of Aug. 19:
Kansas State 10/1
Oklahoma State 10/1
Texas Tech 20/1
West Virginia 66/1
Iowa State 100/1
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples and Pete Thamel analyze the Big 12 entering the 2014 season.