After a 10-4 record and a trip to the Sugar Bowl in 2018, the Longhorns regressed to 8-5 last fall under head coach Tom Herman. A return to the Big 12 Championship Game isn’t out of the question with star quarterback Sam Ehlinger returning for his senior year.
Texas finished up the 2019 campaign with a victory over the Utah Utes in the Alamo Bowl by a score of 38-10. However, following a campaign that failed to live up to the expectations of the Longhorn faithful, Herman gutted the majority of his coaching staff looking for much better results in 2020. Given that the Longhorns are returning the bulk of their starters, including Ehlinger, they have potential to make some noise in the Big 12 as well as the national landscape.
According to PointsBet Sportsbook, Texas’ season win total projection stands at 9 wins, moderately juiced at odds of -135 to the under.
2020 Texas Longhorns Win Total Odds
2020 Texas Longhorns Schedule
Week 1 - Sept. 5 vs USF
Week 2 - Sept. 12 at LSU
Week 3 - Sept. 19 vs UTEP
Week 4 - BYE
Week 5 - Oct. 3 at Kansas State
Week 6 - Oct. 10 vs Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX)
Week 7 - Oct. 17 vs West Virginia
Week 8 - Oct. 24 at Texas Tech
Week 9 - Oct. 31 vs Baylor Bears
Week 10 - Nov. 7 at Kansas
Week 11 - Nov. 14 vs TCU
Week 12 - Nov. 21 vs Iowa State
Week 13 - Nov. 28 at Oklahoma State
Texas should open with a win to start the season versus USF, but Week 2 will be no picnic when the Longhorns head on the road to take on defending national champion LSU Tigers. The oddsmakers see them coming up short in their trip to Baton Rouge, installing them as 3.5-point underdogs in early wagering. The Longhorns start the Big 12 season with a trip to Manhattan to take on Kansas State prior to facing their biggest rival. The Red River Rivalry will be played at a neutral site (Cotton Bowl) in 2020, but the oddsmakers have Texas as 2.5-point underdogs against the highly touted Oklahoma Sooners.
Coming out of the showdown with the Sooners, Texas will have a run of six of seven games to close the regular season in which the oddsmakers are predicting relatively easy victories. In Week 7 they are 19-point home favorites over West Virginia, followed by being 11.5-point road favorites over Texas Tech. The boys out in the desert have Texas installed as 13.5-point home favorites over Baylor on Halloween, before making them full two-touchdown favorites over TCU in Week 11. The Longhorns finish up the 2020 campaign as 10.5-point home favorites over Iowa State before heading to Stillwater as two-point road underdogs versus Oklahoma State.
Texas Longhorns Odds to Win Big 12 Conference
With projections that envision a potential three-loss regular season, the PointsBet Sportsbook is offering Texas as the second choice in conference wagering at odds of +175 to emerge as Big 12 Champions for the first time since 2009. All bettors who believe in the Longhorns will win the Big 12 Championship Game will get back $175 for every $100 wagered.
Odds for Texas Longhorns Players to Win 2020 Heisman Trophy
As we have previously highlighted here at SI Gambling, Texas currently has only one player listed in the Heisman Trophy odds at William Hill: quarterback Sam Ehlinger (18/1). Texas has had two Heisman winners in school history: legendary running backs Earl Campbell (1977) and Ricky Williams (1998).
Texas Longhorns Odds to Win 2020-21 College Football Playoff
The oddsmakers have the Longhorns listed as underdogs in all three of the most difficult games on their schedule (LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State) and I can’t say I disagree. Although I could see them pulling an upset in perhaps one of those games, I am not convinced they will avoid a letdown somewhere along the way, perhaps in their trip to Manhattan against Kansas State. My projections have the Longhorns landing on the number and finishing with nine wins on the season. That makes the season win total market a hard pass for me.
I also do not see enough value (+175) in Big 12 Conference wagering in Texas ending Oklahoma’s streak. Therefore, the market I find the best value in is quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s Heisman Trophy odds. If the Longhorns are to find a way to repeat the success of 2018, Herman will have to find a way for his star senior signal caller to elevate his game to Heisman consideration. Ehlinger saw his rushing touchdowns drop from 16 in 2018 to only seven last season. If he can get that number back to double-digits this season, he’ll be in contention because he’s already trending the right way in the passing game.
Ehlinger has seen a progression every year in his completion rate. It went from 57.5 percent in his freshman campaign, to 64.7 percent as a sophomore before ascending to 65.2 percent in 2019 as a junior. That has led to a marked increase in passing yards (1,915, 3,292, 3,663) and touchdowns (11, 25, 32). If he is able to make another huge leap in his development, bettors could be looking at a true sleeper with tremendous value at odds of 18/1.
Is Ehlinger the third-best returning quarterback in the country? Longhorns Country reporter Chris Dukes examines:
“Over the last two seasons, Ehlinger has produced a two-year overall grade that is the fifth-best at his position and has been among the 10 most valuable players in the country both years. Ehlinger has squeezed some impressive throws into tight windows in that span — his 33 big-time throws to a tight window since 2018 is tied with Burrow for most. He's been particularly good when leading the receiver across the field — his horizontal lead passes have been his bread and butter. Ehlinger’s grade on such throws and accurate pass rate both crack the top-five.”
The Play: Sam Ehlinger (18/1) Heisman Trophy
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