The Oklahoma Sooners are holding out hope for a spot in the College Football Playoffs, and to do so they’ll need to not only knock off the Baylor Bears in the Big 12 Championship Game but really put on a dominant performance in order to impress the selection committee.
One-loss Oklahoma is a 7.5-point favorite for the conference title game at AT&T Stadium this coming Saturday. If you’re betting on the college football odds for this Big 12 title showdown, here are some sports betting picks you need to factor into your handicapping.
These programs clashed back in Week 12, with the Sooners stealing a 34-31 victory as 11-point favorites in Waco. Oklahoma trailed big, down 31-10 at the half, before storming back with 24 unanswered points in the final two quarters including a go-ahead field goal with less than two minutes remaining.
Baylor has been a solid bet against Oklahoma for the past few seasons now, covering in two of their last three meetings and owning a 6-3 ATS record versus OU going back to 2011.
The Bears are 8-4 ATS on the season and bring a four-game winning streak against the spread into this championship matchup in Arlington. Oklahoma, on the other hand, has covered the spread only twice it its last eight outings and owns a 5-7 ATS record in the regular season.
Down to defense
In a matchup between two potent offenses, it may be play on the other side of the ball that defines what happens on the scoreboard. Baylor and Oklahoma combine to average more than 80 points per game on the season and were pegged with a 68-point total when they faced off in Waco last month – staying Under that number with a 34-31 finish.
The Sooners have to tighten up work on the defensive side of the ball if they are going to have any success in the playoffs and seem to be on the right track. They limited Oklahoma State – which was missing some key offensive weapons – to only 16 points in their season finale – and have given up an average of 282 yards per game over their last three, a big decrease from their season average of 335.8 yards allowed.
Baylor already owns the stronger defense of the two and tightened its bolts down the stretch as well. The Bears, who give up only 18.4 points per game on the year, held their final two opponents – Texas and Kansas – to only 16 total points.
Hurts so good
Oklahoma absolutely has the edge at the quarterback position with veteran Jalen Hurts under center. Hurts not only has an impressive 2019 resume but wins out in the experience column when it comes to big game, having played at Alabama for his first three seasons.
In this first year in Norman, Hurts has thrown for 3,345 yards and 31 touchdowns with only six interceptions, while rushing for an additional 1,217 yards and 18 scores. He was shaky in the opening half versus Baylor back in mid-November, but finished that game with four touchdown passes, 297 yards through the air and 114 yards on the ground.
Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer has watched his numbers regress in the final month of the season. Over his last four games, Brewer cracked the 200-yard mark in passing only once and had six touchdown throws and three interceptions after posting a 14 and 3 touchdown/interception total in the first eight games.