Oklahoma State Cowboys at #16 Baylor Bears
Saturday, September 24, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
McLane Stadium – Waco, Texas
Opening Line: Baylor -10 1/2
Current Line: Baylor -7 1/2 (-105)
Opening Total: 71 1/2
Current Total: 73 1/2
Opening Money Line: Baylor -330 / Oklahoma State +265
Current Money Line: Baylor -270 / Oklahoma State +220
The Big 12 has struggled as a conference so far in 2016 to say the least. Only 3-0 Baylor and 2-0 West Virginia are undefeated and neither has played anyone yet. The conference is 4-6 against other power five teams. A playoff berth for the conference champion seems unlikely unless Baylor somehow runs the table.
Baylor opens Big 12 play at home Saturday against the 2-1 Oklahoma State Cowboys. OSU leads the series 19-15 against Baylor but the Bears are 8-6 in Waco. Baylor has won three of the last four games in the series including 45-35 last year in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State is coached by Mike Gundy. The Cowboys have home wins over SE Louisiana 61-7 and Pittsburgh 45-38 last week. The Cowboys lost at home to Central Michigan 30-27 on a controversial Hail Mary on the last play of the game. Oklahoma State was a 2.5 point favorite against Pittsburgh and the total was 57.5. The Cowboys are 2-1 ATS and the total is 2-1 this season.
Jim Grobe is the interim coach for Baylor. The Bears have home wins over Northwestern State 55-7 and SMU 40-13, plus a road win last week at Rice 38-10. Baylor is 0-3 ATS and the total is 0-3. The Bears were 33.5 favorites against Rice and the total was 66.
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Oklahoma State is outscoring teams 44-25 this season. The Cowboys average 457 yards per game on offense including 359 passing and 97 rushing yards per game. Oklahoma State is #11 in passing but #119 in rushing nationally. On defense, OSU is allowing 383 yards per game including 235 yards and 148 rushing yards. The Cowboys are +3 in turnovers with 7 takeaways. Oklahoma State averages 50 penalty yards per game and opponents average 60 per game. The Cowboys have converted 14/40 on third and fourth downs and opponents are 15/50. OSU has forced 8 sacks and allowed 10 this season. The Cowboys are 13/15 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns, and opponents are 5/6 with 4 touchdowns.
Quarterback Mason Rudolph has thrown for 1,017 yards with 6 touchdowns and an interception. He had a monster game against Pitt with 540 yards and 2 touchdowns. Back-up Taylor Cornelius took a few snaps in the blowout of SE Louisiana and has a rushing touchdown.
While the rushing game has improved somewhat from a dismal 2015, it is still a little too inconsistent. It is a running back by committee approach. Rennie Childs has 14 carries for 123 yards and 4 touchdowns. Justice Hill has 24 carries for 89 yards. Chris Carson is out indefinitely with a hand injury. He has 12 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown, plus 5 catches.
Receiver James Washington has 19 catches for 399 yards and 3 touchdown. Jalen McCleskey has 18 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown. Jhajuan Seales has 13 catches for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiver Marcell Ateman is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
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Baylor is outscoring teams 44-10 this season. The Bears are #13 in scoring and #3 in points allowed nationally. Baylor is averaging 557 yards per game on offense including 275 passing and 282 rushing yards. The Bears are in the top ten nationally in total and rushing offense. On defense, Baylor is allowing 249 yards per game including 97 passing and 152 rushing yards. The Bears are in the top ten nationally in total and pass defense. Baylor is even in turnovers with 5 each. The Bears average 93 penalty yards per game and opponents average 33 per game. Baylor is 30/64 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 13/51. The Bears have forced 5 sacks and allowed 1 this season. Baylor is 15/19 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns and opponents are 6/8 with 3 touchdowns.
Quarterback Seth Russell has thrown for 761 yards with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 16 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown. Zach Smith has taken a few snaps as well.
Running back JaMycal Hasty has 28 catches for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 2 catches for 26 yards. Terence Williams has 42 carries for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns. Shock Linwood has 40 carries for 213 yards. Running back Johnny Jefferson is out for the season for personal reasons.
Receiver K.D. Cannon has 24 catches for 352 yards and 4 touchdowns. Blake Lynch has 13 catches for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chris Platt has 9 catches for 78 yards.
Oklahoma State is 4-1 ATS in September, 35-17 after passing for more than 280 yards, 2-5 overall, 1-4 against teams with winning records, and after allowing more than 200 rushing yards. The Cowboys are 8-2 ATS against the Bears recently.
Baylor is 8-2 ATS after gaining more than 450 total yards, and after allowing less than 275 yards, 13-5 after allowing less than 20 points, 18-7 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 27-11 at home, 17-8 against teams with winning records, 17-8-1 after a straight up win by 20 points or more, 2-5 after failing to cover and against teams with winning records, 1-4 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 1-4-1 in September, 1-5 in Big 12 games, and overall, 1-7 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 0-6 after a straight up win and on grass. The favorite is 13-4 ATS in this series and the home team is 10-4.
This should be a high scoring game, although Baylor has a top ten defense. They haven’t played a team nearly as explosive as Oklahoma State. I think Baylor wins a close game with their running game.