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Expert Picks: 2013 Big 12 over/under win totals

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

David Ash will be a key to Texas' success in its new offense this fall. (USATSI)
David Ash will be a key to Texas' success in its new offense this fall. (USATSI)

Media days will begin in the next few weeks, kicking off the 2013 college football preseason.With 5Dimes releasing early over/under win totals last week, the Eye On College Football has decided to break down the wager for each major conference team. Remember, as always, this advice is for entertainment purposes only.

NOTE: The over/under totals listed by 5Dimes do not include any potential conference championship or bowl games. The number is for the 2013 regular season only.

Oklahoma State, 10.5

Over (+170)/Under (-230)

According to these numbers, 5Dimes considers the Cowboys as the Big 12 front-runner. While I agree that Mike Gundy's squad, complete with 15 returning starters and two experienced quarterbacks, is set to compete for the league title again, it is difficult to imagine just one regular-season loss in a Big 12 that appears wide open. The nonconference slate is favorable (Mississippi State in Houston, at UTSA, Lamar) but road trips to Texas and Texas Tech, along with the season finale against Oklahoma, have me leaning toward 10 wins in 2012. VERDICT: Under

Texas, 9.5

Over (-165)/Under (+125)

Mack Brown's new up-tempo offense will be put to the test early in the 2013 season, facing BYU, Ole Miss and Kansas State before Oct. 1. If the Longhorns start the season 4-0, they will be in a good position to record double-digit wins for the first time since 2009. As with Oklahoma State, the value is absent from the common-sense pick, and I would suggest sitting out this wager until August (at least). But for entertainment purposes, let's say David Ash is comfortable running the offense and Jackson Jeffcoat/Jordan Hicks-led defense lives up to the hype. Texas will need to beat both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to win the league, but likely need just one of those wins to get to 10. VERDICT: Over

Oklahoma, 9.5

Over (+160)/Under (-210)

The Sooners will likely be undefeated heading to South Bend after a bye to face Notre Dame on Sept. 28. A win against the Irish will be crucial to jump-start a midseason stretch that includes TCU, Texas, and Texas Tech. Blake Bell, aka "The Belldozer," will need to be a fully developed pass-run threat by then, particularly with an inexperienced defense facing the up-tempo offenses of the Big 12. Last year's Oklahoma team won nine regular-season games, and this year's squad appears to be a step back in terms of talent and experience. Once again, I'm forced to pick away from the value for fear of what we do not know yet. VERDICT: Under

TCU, 9.5

Over (+180)/Under (-260)

TCU returns nine starters from the Big 12's only Top 25 defense in 2012, giving the Horned Frogs a leg up in a league with readjusted defensive expectations. With Casey Pachall back on the roster, the offense should be improved from a year ago even with some concerns on the offensive line. While TCU is a sleeper pick for Big 12 champion, 10 wins will be difficult with a season opener against LSU and road trips to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. But for entertainment purposes, I'll steer away from the low-value pick and assume the Horned Frogs upset LSU and Oklahoma. VERDICT: Over

Kansas State, 8.5

Over (+155)/Under (-195)

Even with Collin Klein and six of the top seven tacklers from 2012 gone, the oddsmakers have trust in Bill Snyder and his JUCO pipeline with an 8.5 win total. Even though only 10 starters return from a year ago, the lineup is littered with upperclassmen ready to make their first primary contributions for the Wildcats. Kansas State opens with a soft nonconference schedule before facing Texas and Oklahoma State on the road to start conference play. If Kansas State can bounce back from those tests, they finish the season with five of their final seven at home and have a good chance to record nine wins. VERDICT: Over

Baylor, 7.5

Over (-175)/Under (+135)

Baylor's strong finish in 2012 raised eyebrows across the league, as Art Briles, heading into his sixth year with the Bears, appears to have a true "plug-and-play" offensive scheme rolling down in Waco. Bryce Petty could finish 2013 as one of the most prolific passers in the Big 12, and it is entirely possible that Baylor will put up video game numbers during a 7-0 start. The struggle will come in November, when Baylor faces Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas in consecutive weeks. I think the high-powered Bears can win at least one of those game, putting them into the 8-9 win category. VERDICT: Over

Texas Tech, 7.5

Over (+145)/Under (-185)

Kliff Kingsbury's return to Texas Tech has raised the excitement level in Lubbock, and with that will come expectations for on-field success. Unfortunately, it might take a season or two to get the Red Raiders back to 9- or 10-win status in the current Big 12 landscape. Kingsbury will work closely with sophomore quarterback Michael Brewer, who takes over for two-year starter Seth Doege, to get the Air Raid offense rolling, but if Texas Tech tops 7.5 wins in 2013 it will likely be a credit to their defense. Eight starters, including the entire front seven, return from last year's unit that finished No. 2 in the Big 12 in total defense. With only four Big 12 road games, I think Kingsbury squeezes out eight wins in his head coaching debut. VERDICT: Over

West Virginia, 5.5

Over (-210)/Under (+160)

Early in the 2012 season, West Virginia was ranked in the top five nationally and had the early Heisman favorite under center. After five straight losses in Big 12 play, the Mountaineers fell from league title contention and enter 2013 as a team fighting for the postseason. Dana Holgorsen's offensive attack will be put to the test with the loss of West Virginia's top four wide receivers and no clear-cut starter at the quarterback position -- though Florida State transfer Clint Trickett is thought to have an edge in the competition. Looking at the schedule, six wins will likely require a midseason victory at Kansas State or at TCU. Unless one of the young wide receivers surprises us all, I think the loss of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey keeps West Virginia at five wins in 2013. VERDICT: Under

Iowa State, 5.5

Over (+175)/Under (-245)

Even though Iowa State has recorded just 17 wins in the last three years, the Cyclones' knack for knocking off ranked teams has made them one of the most dangerous teams in the Big 12. You can always count on a tough challenge from Paul Rhoads' squad, but unfortunately there does not appear to be enough talent in Ames to justify a third consecutive bowl appearance. Iowa State gets no help from the schedule, which includes five road games in conference play and back-to-back road trips to Texas Tech and Baylor. The key to finishing with six wins will be opening the season 3-0 against Northern Iowa, Iowa and Tulsa. I say the Cyclones drop one of those games and finish just short. VERDICT: Under

Kansas, 3.5

Over (-120)/Under (-120)

Kansas' reboot and rebuild project under Charlie Weis enters year two after a frustrating 1-11 debut in 2012. The Jayhawks lost five games by a touchdown or less, but were unable to snap the 21-game losing streak in conference play. With a heavy crew of junior college players entering the program, I think Kansas will stun one Big 12 opponent in 2013 and end the streak. Topping 3.5 will then require wins against South Dakota, Rice and Louisiana Tech. With an even payout on both sides of the bet, I'll side with optimism. VERDICT: Over

 
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