Expect a lot of points and a lot of fun once again
The Big 12 will feature the usual suspects at the top with other teams trying to climb the mountain to relevancy. Lincoln Riley is hyping the conference up by saying Georgia would not be as good if the Bulldogs had to run through their gauntlet. All I know is that this conference is the home of very good offenses, non-existent defenses and the highest totals you will see for any game.
This article will give you my thoughts and in some cases predictions as to how each team will do against the win total provided by the South Point sports book in Las Vegas. A lot of times this outlet will provide really strong numbers so there will be no lean when it comes to the over/under for each team.
Over 6 wins -105...Under 6 wins -115
Non-Conference Games: Abilene Christian, at UTSA, Duke
Baylor had a horrendous debut under new head coach Matt Rhule, with its only victory coming against lowly Kansas and losing to FBS transitional member Liberty. The team returns 11 starters and figures to improve in the win column. The offensive and defensive lines will be very strong. These Bears won't approach the Baylor offenses of the past, but they will be a stronger defense. They get Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia on the road.
Verdict: Improvement will be coming for Baylor, but still no bowl eligibility. I have them at 5 wins this season.
Over 6.5 wins -120...Under 6.5 wins EVEN
Non-Conference Games: South Dakota State, at Iowa, Akron
Iowa State has some real toss-up games early this season. FCS opponent South Dakota State is usually tricky and a road trip to Iowa is real tough. Kyle Kempt and David Montgomery figure to be a strong QB-RB combo on offense. The defense lost four of its top seven tacklers. The Cyclones draw Oklahoma and West Virginia at home so they could have a say in which teams wins the Big-12. Ames has been a tough place to play in the past.
Verdict: 6-7 wins are what I come up with for ISU. You can decide this total by figuring out how the Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kansas State home games go.
Over 3 wins -110...Under 3 wins -110
Non-Conference Games: Nicholls State, at Central Michigan, Rutgers
Vegas is expecting the Jayhawks to equal their win total over the past three seasons with this number. But they've won just two conference games total since 2014 so I have a hard time taking the optimistic view. Their best shot at a conference win could be against Iowa State on Nov. 3. KU returns 15 starters on both sides of the ball, but does it really matter? The game against Rutgers will be fascinating to watch
Verdict: 2-3 wins are what I come up with and that's if you think the Jayhawks lose at Central Michigan, which could happen. The under is worth a look.
Over 6 wins -110...Under 6 wins -110
Non-Conference Games: South Dakota, Mississippi State, UTSA
The Wildcats have five of their first seven games at home before their bye. Bill Snyder's offense has seven starters back and some intriguing pieces to move around. Eleven of their top 17 tacklers return as well, making the defense a potential strength. We'll see if they can turn around their lack of luck last year with four losses by seven points or fewer. Outside of back-to-back road games against Oklahoma and TCU in late October, this schedule lines up beautifully.
Verdict: The over is worth a look here especially if Kansas State can steal a road game or two in conference.
Over 10 wins -115...Under 10 wins -105
Non-Conference Games: FAU, UCLA, Army
OU plays just four true road games this season and has the firepower to make big-time noise in college football. Kyler Murray decided to stay in school even though he was taken in the first round of the MLB draft by Oakland. Rodney Anderson leads a solid group of running backs while the team also brings back five starters on defense. Lincoln Riley is going to do big things once again with the offense while the defense just needs to make a stop or two.
Verdict: 10 wins is pretty safe with a small lean to the over. There are not a ton of tough games on this slate.
Over 8 wins -120...Under 8 wins EVEN
Non-Conference Games: Missouri State, South Alabama, Boise State
The Cowboys have some big shoes to fill at key positions. Luckily for them, the season starts with four straight at home against mostly poor opponents (with the exception of Boise State). OSU figures to rely heavily on running back Justice Hill, who will be working with a rebuilt offensive line. The defense will need to improve because last year's offense was able to carry the team. This will be an interesting year for Mike Gundy.
Verdict: 8 is a good number here. If you think Oklahoma State loses the game at home against West Virginia then you probably lean to the under.
Over 7.5 wins +105...Under 7.5 wins -125
Non-Conference Games: Southern, at SMU, vs. Ohio State
The Horned Frogs have just two true home games in the first month of the season. Gary Patterson is going to have a new quarterback running things with Kenny Hill gone. Whoever wins the job will have a solid group of skill position guys to help out. The defense is going to be strong as usual and some times that will be the separator in a conference that doesn't feature that many of them.
Verdict: Once again a pretty solid number here as I come up with 7-8 victories for TCU.
Over 8.5 wins -110...Under 8.5 wins -110
Non-Conference Games: vs. Maryland, Tulsa, USC
Quarterback play will once again determine this team's future. Whether it's Sam Ehlinger or Shane Buechele, there has to be some sort of improvement. The offensive line is pretty strong while the defense is going to get after the quarterback. The team has three road games over their last five weeks of the season including trips to Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The USC game could be a big swing contest for the win total and the season in general.
Verdict: 8-9 wins seems about right. It comes down to how you think these Longhorns will do against USC and Texas Tech.
Over 6 wins -110...Under 6 wins -110
Non-Conference Games: vs. Ole Miss, Lamar, Houston
Texas Tech's defense could be an underrated group with nine starters back. And that unit may have to carry the load early with a few questions on offense. The offensive line is intact, but quarterback and some of the skill players are up in the air. The Red Raiders play just four true road games with neutral-site matchups taking place in Arlington (vs. Ole Miss) and Houston (vs. Baylor). One scheduling quirk is that three straight opponents will be coming off their bye week to take on Texas Tech.
Verdict: 5-6 wins are what I come up with. I lean to the under though as they may lose to Oklahoma and Texas at home.
Over 7 wins -110...Under 7 wins -110
Non-Conference Games: vs. Tennessee, Youngstown State, at NC State
Dana Holgorsen's offense is going to be spectacular this year with Will Grier likely factoring into the Heisman race. David Sills and Gary Jennings form one of the best WR duos in the country. The offensive line is pretty much intact from last season as well. The big question mark as usual with WVU is with it defense. Only four starters return, but Tony Gibson is a pretty good coordinator. The team pretty much alternates home and road games all season long.
Verdict: I know it's getting repetitive but this is another strong number. If you think the Mountaineers can steal a tough road game (i.e, NC State, Iowa State, Texas or Oklahoma State), the over is worth a look.
-- Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.