Big XII Picks, Predictions and Odds
WagerTalk handicapper Tony Mejia offers his thoughts on the Big XII football landscape this season from a variety of handicapping angles. The Big XII has made plenty of headlines this month with the future departure of Oklahoma and Texas likely causing ripple effects through the rest of the sport. Will those moves affect the 2021-22 college football season in any capacity?
Stay on top of the latest College Football updates direct from Las Vegas!
Team to Watch
Oklahoma opens the season ranked in the top-three nationally, which means they should remain in the conversation to go undefeated and win the school’s first championship since 2000. It should be significantly favored in its first 10 games, which includes the Red River Showdown, so getting into the CFP will come down to games against Iowa State and Oklahoma State in Bedlam. Head coach Lincoln Riley has never not won the Big 12 under his watch but hasn’t won a playoff game either, foiled consistently by a suspect defense. Coordinator Alex Grinch returns his top eight tacklers from last season and top interior defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey and top defensive end Isaiah Thomas. The Sooners also added a likely starter in free safety Key Lawrence from Tennessee. Offensively, QB Spencer Rattler will be a frontrunner for the Heisman and could emerge as the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft if he performs behind a highly regarded offensive line with weapons like Marvin Mims and Theo Wease to help rack up numbers.
Team to Fade
The Steve Sarkisian era begins in Austin and could get off to a bumpy start. He restored his reputation as an offensive guru at Alabama but had the benefit of pros everywhere you looked, including under center where Mac Jones was terrific at getting the ball out quickly. He’ll have an inexperienced QB regardless of who wins the competition between sophomore Casey Thompson and freshman Hudson Card. In Bijan Robinson, Sarkisian does have a terrific weapon at running back who can make life easier for everyone on that side of the ball, but the entire coaching staff is new and there will be an adjustment period. Leading tackler Juwan Mitchell transferred to Tennessee too, leaving DeMarvion Overshown to hold down the defense. The Longhorns open with the Ragin’ Cajuns before traveling to Arkansas out of the gate and visit TCU before the Red River Showdown and Baylor before traveling to Iowa State. Tom Herman’s first team went 7-6 and that may be the ceiling for Sarkisian’s group too.
Sleeper to Watch
We’re a few years removed from Gary Patterson churning out national contenders, but the Horned Frogs nearly beat Iowa State in last year’s season opener, defeated Texas and won five of their last six. They return 10 starters on offense and eight on defense and promoted OC Doug Meacham after he began his second stint calling plays in Fort Worth last season. TCU led the Big 12 in rushing offense in 2020 and have the tough-as-nails Max Duggan back at QB in addition to Oklahoma transfer Chandler Morris coming in. Defensively, the line should be much tougher. Safety Trevon Moehrig must be replaced but corner Tre’vious Hodges-Tomlinson is one of the Big 12’s top defensive backs. Visits to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Iowa State make for a grueling road slate, but if they steal one of those, a berth in the conference championship game is achievable.
Player to Watch
Eyeballs will scrutinize Oklahoma’s Rattler all season, but another player who will compete for a Heisman Trophy is Iowa State running back Breece Hall. He’s running behind an impressive offensive line and comes off being named a unanimous first-team All-American after running for 1,631 yards and 21 touchdowns in leading the Cyclones to a school record-tying nine victories. There’s word he may be returning kicks this season too if head coach Matt Campbell wants to go full throttle. Few pack the wow factor Hall brings to the table and he’ll have plenty of chances to shine in November with games against Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and TCU.
Game of the Year
The only teams ranked in the Top-10 to open the season are Oklahoma and Iowa State, so the Red River Showdown will be taking a backseat to the Nov. 20 matchup in Norman between the Sooners and Cyclones. The teams split last season’s two meetings as ISU surprised OU in Ames as a 7-point underdog and came up just short of the win and cover as a 5-point ‘dog when the teams met as Top-10 teams in the Big 12 championship last December. The Sooners raced out to a 17-0 lead and never trailed but a Hall TD run trimmed the deficit to 24-21 with just 5:15 left. Iowa State enters the season knowing it can play with Oklahoma and probably expects to see them twice.
|Big XII Championship Odds from Caesars||As of August 19|
|Iowa State Cyclones||+260|
|Oklahoma State Cowboys||+1200|
|TCY Horned Frogs||+2000|
|Kansas State Wildcats||+5000|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||+5000|
|Texas Tech Red Raiders||+8000|
|Big XII Regular Season Win Totals||As of August 19|
|Oklahoma Sooners||11 (-110 each way)|
|Iowa State Cyclones||9.5 (o EV / u -120)|
|Texas Longhorns||8 (o +110 / u -130)|
|Oklahoma State Cowboys||7.5 (-110 each way)|
|TCU Horned Frogs||7.5 (o -115 / u -105)|
|Baylor Bears||5.5 (o +105 / u -125)|
|Kansas State Wildcats||5.5 (o -130 / u +110)|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||6.5 (o -130 / u +110)|
|Texas Tech Red Raiders||5 (o -120 / u EV)|
|Kansas Jayhawks||1.5 (o +150 / u -170)|
Meet the Capper: Tony Mejia
A leading handicapper in the industry, Tony Mejia has handicapped most major sports and events and got his start by opening his career as a writer at SportsLine.com, which was then bought by CBS. Mejia handicapped under a pseudonym due to compliance issues but also created Mejia’s Selections, a popular feature projecting scores for most major sports. He landed the national NBA beat for CBS SportsLine from 2005-09, so Mejia took a break from handicapping to handle stories and analysis with more of an emphasis on writing. He moved on to Pro Basketball News as a writer/publisher before taking on more of a full-time role at VegasInsider, providing written analysis and winning multiple titles over the course of the season in NFL, NBA, college football, college basketball, and soccer. He utilizes a combination of making his own lines to open the week, seeking discrepancies, tracking weather, injuries, and line movements to try and secure every advantage before getting in on a ticket. He believes watching is the key to it all, so odds are he’s watching a sport if it’s on regardless of whether it’s the Super Bowl or a mid-week college hoops matchup between Quinnipiac and Iona. Mejia was born in Queens, New York, and roots only for the Yankees, Colombia’s soccer team, and the UCF Knights since he attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando. They won a national championship once, whether you believe it or not. Ride Mejia to make some dinero because he’s always hustling to seek out an edge.
WagerTalk’s Live Odds Screen
Since the conclusion of last season’s National Championship game, WagerTalk has continued to improve and enhance our Live Odds screen. Bettors can view the up-to-the-minute odds from a variety of offshore and Vegas-based sports books. Color-coded alerts will let you know when and how a line has moved. Click on the individual cells to view a line history at each sports book. Interested in knowing what a point spread was on a previous game? Use the “archive” feature to find a previous matchup. View real-time odds on nearly every point spread market: Full games, first halves, first quarters, team totals and moneylines.
College Football Offseason Previews
In this week’s edition of The Best Damn College Football Show, Drew Martin and Rob Veno offer an early look toward the Big XII futures market. Rob and Drew take a look at the new coaches and quarterback transfers that are coming into the Big XII this season. Who is a mid-pack team that might surprise some people and make a move up this year, and who is a team to fade that might struggle this year?
Free sports picks allow you to monitor a service to see how they perform before signing up for a long term package. The reason we created our site was to provide free predictions to our visitors so they could find a handicapper that is right for them.
Looking for more free sports picks and sports betting tips?
- Latest Betting Odds and Public Action: Vegas lines updated in real time, including who the public is betting on.
- Last Minute Handicapping Advice: Check out our extensive library of handicapping tips and advice from professional Vegas handicappers (we also recommend taking the time to look over our sports betting tips video library)
- Want an expert opinion? Check out the latest Free Sports Picks and Best Bets from our team of expert sports handicappers.
Make sure to bookmark all the above!