Oklahoma vs. Baylor College Football Picks with Odds and Predictions
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Baylor Bears, Saturday November 16, 7:30 p.m. ET
What we have here is a de facto Big 12 regular-season championship game, though that doesn't mean nearly as much now as it recently did now that they play a conference title game. There is a good chance now that this is a preview of that title game - Baylor would have one conference loss if they lost this game, and Oklahoma would have two losses which would tie them with Texas but they hold that tiebreak, so these two teams very much control their destiny regardless of what happens here. The stakes are high, then, but not quite as high as they seem. It is no surprise at all to see Oklahoma in a spot like this . They have made the conference their personal playground for years. But for Baylor this isn't as familiar - especially not since the Art Briles debacle set them back. Will that difference in experience factor in here?
Oklahoma at Baylor Betting Storylines
Though there are things that will have a bigger impact on the outcome of the game, the most fascinating feature of this game is the coaching showdown. This is a power battle of the new generation. Matt Rhule has taken Baylor from 1-11 to 9-0 in just his third season, and that's after he took Temple from 2-10 to 10-4 in three years. He can flat out coach. At 44, though, he's an old timer compared to Lincoln Riley. At 36 years old, Riley not only has a ridiculous 32-5 career record and two playoff appearances, but he has never coached a quarterback who has not won the Heisman, and he is certainly on track to have another finalist this year. This isn't the first time that the two coaches have met, but it is the first time that it has been a reasonably fair fight. So, grab the popcorn, and get used to years and years of this. Or maybe this is the last time if the Riley-to-the-NFL rumors keep gaining steam.
Oklahoma is the better team in pretty much every way. It's tough to argue that. They are deeper, more experienced, and more talented. But they really need to find their mojo in big way after their last two games. Before their bye week, they lost a truly stunning game to Kansas State. It was the kind of brainless lapse that we hadn't seen from Oklahoma with consistency since the Bob Stoops era. They should have been able to use the bye week to get back on track, but instead they were incredibly lucky to escape with a one-point win against Iowa State last week. Their offense is ranked No. 2 in scoring in the country and has averaged 41.5 points per game in those two, so that unit, led by Jalen Hurts, is mostly doing their job. But the defense that had looked like it was taking care of business in a whole new way early on in the season has reverted back to the general incompetence and disarray that we have grown too used to the last few years. They need to figure out how to stop the bleeding in a hurry.
We need to be balanced, though, and it's not like the Bears are dominant coming into this one. Sure, they don't have the rough loss. But they beat West Virginia only 17-14 as 18-point favorites and then they needed triple overtime to sneak past TCU. Their offense is sputtering compared to where it was, and that's a problem coming into a showdown like this. Somehow, we have a team between teams with a combined 17-1 record, yet it seems like neither is in any rush to cover the spread.
Oklahoma at Baylor Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Oklahoma favored by nine points on the road. That has since jumped up to 10 points, with 10.5 starting to be available in some spots. A small majority of bets have been on the Bears, so the line movement suggests that sharp money is tilted towards Oklahoma. The total opened at between 67 and 68, depending on the book, and has mostly been stable so far .
The Sooners are just 1-4 ATS in their last four games overall - all conference games. They are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games in November. The Bears are 6-1 ATS in their last seven against teams with winning records, and 5-1 ATS in their last six games in November, but just 4-10 ATS in their last 14 home games.
Oklahoma at Baylor Predictions and Picks
This is a very tough game to get a handle on. Neither team is at their best, and the stakes are high but not so high that we can guarantee that both teams will be at their best. In the end, then, all we can really do is take the best team and hope for the best. Oklahoma has a dramatically better offense, much more experience in games like this, and more depth. They are about where they should be - a little behind expectations, really, and Baylor is way ahead of schedule. When in doubt, take the quality. I am in doubt, so I'll take Oklahoma to cover. And, needless to say, I'll jump on the 10 rather than the 10.5 if I can get it.
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