Big 12 Round Robin Begins
Tony Salinas: Big 12 Round Robin Begins with TCU/Okie State
Last week I said it was time "to put up or shut up" for Oklahoma State when they went on the road to face Texas Tech. They were shut up for the first third of the game, trailing 31-14 just five minutes into the second quarter. But, they clearly put up after that...winning the rest of the afternoon 56-22!
Does that mean Oklahoma State is ready to make a run at the Big 12 Championship? It full well could. The "big four" round robin involving TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma begins this Saturday when Okie State hosts TCU. Everyone in that foursome will play each other over the next few weeks. The Cowboys catch a break in that they get to host all three of those opponents. But, it looks like the market will have them as underdogs each time. TCU is -5 at the moment in Stillwater. Given the relative similarity in respected Power Ratings for TCU-Baylor-OU...the Cowboys will be home dogs the whole way unless they embarrass TCU and the others struggle.
Hey...Baylor hasn't played anybody yet and Oklahoma lost to Texas! The others could struggle.
How do we separate the big four for sports betting purposes? Let's start with some basics. Three of the four are undefeated against soft slates, while Oklahoma was shocked by Texas but is otherwise unblemished. Here's how Jeff Sagarin of USA Today rates their schedules.
Strength of Schedules (according to Jeff Sagarin at USA Today)
Oklahoma State #70
Baylor's schedule has been pathetic. They should be ashamed. I hate it when coaches think they can game their way into a playoff by rigging their schedule and running up the score on cupcakes. At least they'll be facing some real teams soon. I won going against them Thursday night at Kansas State (+17). I took the Wildcats as they almost pulled off the upset 24-31. Be sure you "scout" that matchup with an eye toward picking on or against Baylor the rest of the month.
OU and TCU have played comparable schedule strengths. The only opponent anyone on that list has played that's in Sagarin's Top 30 nationally is Tennessee. OU had to rally to barely survive that one. It's possible that we're looking at a group that's overrated in composite...waiting to be exposed by good opponents in the postseason.
Some stat basics...
Baylor: 8.4 on offense, 4.9 on defense (vs. the #104 ranked schedule)
TCU: 7.7 on offense, 5.1 on defense (vs. the #53 ranked schedule)
Oklahoma: 6.9 on offense, 4.3 on defense (vs. the #52 ranked schedule)
Oklahoma State: 6.4 on offense, 4.8 on defense (vs. the #70 ranked schedule)
Baylor runs up the score on cupcakes. That defense may be in big trouble once it faces real offenses. TCU and Oklahoma are both at +2.6 in differential against very similar schedules. That's a toss-up even tough OU lost to Texas and TCU crushed the Longhorns! Oklahoma State is a straggler because that offense is only occasionally explosive rather than consistently explosive (you probably experienced that watching the Tech game last week...Okie State's offense seemed pretty mortal before that explosion happened that turned the game around).
For now...there's just not much to go on for how these teams will fare against each other....or in bowl games against good teams from other conferences. OU did survive Tennessee. TCU won while not impressing at Minnesota. Let's see what we can learn during this round robin.
Issues I'll be studying:
*Is Baylor about to be exposed as a huge pretender now that a backup quarterback has to lead them against opponents who know what they're doing?
*Is the TCU defense too inexperienced and fatigue-prone to handle three big shootouts over the next few weeks? The Horned Frogs needed a miracle to win at Texas Tech...where OSU just won by 17.
*Is Oklahoma capable of staying focused and avoiding DUMB mistakes when it's time to win a championship? This team has stretches of greatness. But, that loss to Texas was simply pathetic. No excuse for it.
*Does Oklahoma State deserve to be in the same discussion as those first three? Or, is the market right that TCU (and the others) would be about 8 points better on a neutral field?
I don't want to tip my hand too much. I do think the market has misread at least two of these situations. Oddsmakers don't like to admit when they're "flying blind." They really are in this conference right now. I plan on taking advantage in November and then in the bowls for those specific teams.
You can always purchase my top plays in the Big 12 and all conferences right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155 and ask about TONY SALINAS. I'm the only man in the sports betting industry who has made his living as a GAMBLER! I've lived here in Vegas for decades. If I'm not in a sportsbook, I'm at the poker table teaching tourists a lesson about GETTING THE BEST OF IT!
See you next week as this huge month of college football action continues to roll. I fully believe that some big surprises are in store. The landscape's going to look a lot different a month from now because many teams are about to flunk important tests. Don't YOU flunk any tests. GET THE BEST OF IT WITH TONY SALINAS!
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