8/27, 10:45am ET: 2018 Big 12 Win Totals
A more abbreviated post here than the ACC one. But still a lot of fun! Woo!
Baylor over 5.5 wins -145 (BetOnline)
The lowest juice I could find in a quick perusal of 5-6 places, and obviously, price matters. I've been in on this team from the jump. After a...less than ideal..situation in which Matt Rhule was thrown into in Year 1, I think the stability and pieces are now in place here to start thinking about a bowl game. There's still a good amount of talent here relative to many teams in the conference, they have an improving quarterback with experience, and several impact transfers. Most importantly, the schedule helps a great deal. They will start 4-0 or 3-1 a lot of the time depending on how the Duke game goes, so 3-5 in conference wins this a lot. They host Kansas (win) and also host Kansas State and Oklahoma State, 2 more great opportunities considering where those teams are this year. They play Texas Tech on a neutral to close the season, which MAY end up being for the win, but I think it's more likely they're 6-5 in that game anyway. This is a perfect situation where if the home-road were flipped with all their conference games, they might win 3-4. If you are a bad team in a major conference, or at least a below-average team, you want the games you were going to lose anyway to be on the road every single time. The talent discrepancy in college football means that some games will truly be non-competitive, or at least a 95 percent-ish win-rate for the opposition in some cases (Baylor is better than 5 percent win expectancy vs. almost anyone, but the rubric is still true for them as a below-average conference team). This year, Baylor plays Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia on the road. PERFECT.
Texas Tech under 6 wins +100
The exact opposite of Baylor. Not only do I think this is the end for Kingsbury, the Ryan Gosling of college football, but the schedule is flipped in the worst possible way. Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, all at home, a guarantee of nothing of certainty in the win column. Only one other home game (Kansas) and then Baylor on a neutral. Ole Miss and Houston in the non-conference, games where I would prefer the opposition, if only slightly. The path to 7 wins here will require the defense to not only maintain their surprising performance from last year, but really improve, and will require a quarterback to emerge from a very mediocre-looking group that achieves great successes. Both of those things will still require the team to play amazingly on the road in multiple situations. Here are Kingsbury's true road records in his 5 years in Big 12 play: 2-2, 1-3, 2-2, 1-3, 2-2. Playing at Kansas accounts for 3 of those 8 wins.