Big 12 Championship Game Picks: Baylor vs. Oklahoma
Baylor Bears vs. Oklahoma Sooners, Saturday December 7, Noon ET
Baylor vs. Oklahoma Playoff Implications
All you need is a chance, and both teams have one. But it's not a very good chance in either case - and much worse for Baylor than Oklahoma . Both teams need to win here in dominant fashion, but that is only a small part of the picture. They also need Utah to lose , or at least to not look very good in winning, because the Utes are currently ranked above both Big 12 squads. If that happens, they still need a playoff spot to open up. If Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia all win their conference championship games, then the Big 12 champ is likely out of luck no matter how well they play. They would need a Georgia loss or a Clemson loss - and both would be even better - to open the door for them. So, it probably won't happen . But it could.
College Football Predictions: Baylor vs. Oklahoma Odds and Picks
How you look at this game is an interesting question of perspective, and it probably says a lot about you as a person. On one hand, you could say that Baylor is absolutely a serious threat to win this one because they came incredibly close to winning when the teams met earlier. One small break in their favor here or there, and they would be undefeated and probably in a playoff spot. Or, you could say that this game isn't interesting at all because Oklahoma was really lousy in that matchup in the first half but then made adjustments at the half when Baylor seemingly made none, scored the last 24 points of the game, and won a game with barely half an effort. If they can beat Baylor with half a game, what could they do if they really care and try from the start, you might ask. You could make a case for either team just based on that game and how you view it - and that's just one piece of the puzzle that these teams bring forward. It makes for a very intriguing matchup.
Baylor vs. Oklahoma Betting Storylines
It's not going to have an immediate impact on this game's outcome, but it's a storyline nonetheless - the coaches. NFL front offices will be watching this game more closely than most, because there are a lot of head coaching openings already, and a lot more to come, and both Baylor's Matt Rhule and Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley have coached their way to the top of some lists of potential NFL head men. Riley, the boy wonder, has coached two Heisman winners and a strong QB performer this year in his three years in the job. In a league that loves quarterbacks, and with a lot of teams going young at the position, that is a noteworthy accomplishment. And Rhule took over a program could easily have sunk into the depths of despair after the Art Briles fiasco, but Rhule shook that off, and in no time flat has the team looking better than Briles ever had it. Whether the playoff is in play here or not, there could be another prize on the line for a decisive winner of this game.
We don't need to spend too much time breaking down matchups or looking at personnel here after these teams played so recently. What we can look at, though, is experience. Baylor was 1-11 just two years ago, so this group of players are on a stage they clearly are not used to. Everything is new to them, and the pressure is unlike what they have ever felt before. On the other side, a redshirt senior at Oklahoma would be experiencing the fifth conference championship game of his career and would have a chance to add his fifth Big 12 title as a Sooner. The Sooners have won four in a row, chasing their own record of nine straight conference titles. Experience isn't everything, but it's certainly something. And the experience factor is very much lopsided in this one.
Baylor vs. Oklahoma Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Oklahoma favored by 9.5 points, and though it has bounced around a little bit - and has even flashed at 7.5 in a couple of spots - it is still at 9.5 as I write this . More than two-thirds of bets have been on the Bears to date, so there is a good chance that we have seen all of the line movement destined for this one just yet. The total opened at 61 and has climbed to 64.5, with more climbing possible.
The Bears are 4-0 ATS both in their last four road games and their last four on the road as underdogs. They are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 December games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven on a neutral site. The Sooners are 4-0 ATS in their last four in December but just 4-10 ATS in their last 14 neutral-site games.
Baylor vs. Oklahoma Predictions and Picks
I respect Baylor, and I get why people are betting on them so enthusiastically this week. They are legitimate. But I am very much of the school that Oklahoma is much better than we saw early on in the first meeting. And that while Baylor isn't as bad as they were in the second half, they aren't as good as they were in the first half, either. I bet the Sooners in that last game because they were the more talented team, and I am going to do it again. The Sooners, and their experience, are the pick against the spread.
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