Big 12 College Football Picks: #3 Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears

#3 Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears
McClane Stadium – Waco, Texas
Saturday, September 23, 2017, 6:30 pm Eastern, TV: FS1
Opening Line: Oklahoma -25 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma -27 1/2
Opening Total: 54
Current Total: 63
Opening Money Line: Oklahoma -4000 / Baylor +2000
Current Money Line: Okahoma -6200 / Baylor +2800

Oklahoma is a heavy favorite against Baylor in the Big 12 opener for both schools.

After a horrible scandal and attempted coverup last year led to the departures of the school President, the athletic director and head coach Art Briles, many thought this would be a rebuilding year for the Baylor Bears under new coach Matt Rhule. However, few thought they would be this bad. The Bears are 0-3 this season and are the only winless team in the Big 12. It doesn’t get any easier for the Bears either as they open Big 12 play at home against the #3 ranked 3-0 Oklahoma Sooners Saturday in Waco.

Oklahoma leads the series 23-3 against Baylor including 11-2 in Waco. The Sooners won 45-24 in Norman last year.

Oklahoma is coached by Lincoln Riley, also in his first year. The Sooners have home wins over UTEP 56-7 and Tulane 56-14 last week. Oklahoma also won at then #2 Ohio State 31-16. Tulane took early leads of 7-0 and 14-7 against Oklahoma before the Sooners scored 49 unanswered points to win by 42. The Sooners covered the 33 point spread and the total was 52 against Tulane. Oklahoma is 3-0 ATS and the total is 2-1 this season.

Baylor has home losses to Liberty 48-45 and UTSA 17-10, plus a road loss to Duke 34-20 last week. The Bears led 7-0 early against the Blue Devils, but Duke would score 21 straight points and would never trail again.  Baylor was a 10.5 point underdog at Duke and the total was 59.5. Baylor is 0-3 ATS and the total is 1-2 this season.

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Oklahoma is outscoring teams 48-12 this season. The Sooners are #10 in scoring and #13 in points allowed. The Sooners average 599 yards per game on offense including 439 passing and 160 rushing yards. The Sooners are #4 in total offense and #4 in passing nationally. On defense, Oklahoma allows 269 yards per game including 110 passing and 159 rushing yards. The Sooners are #7 in pass defense and #20 in total defense nationally. Oklahoma is even in turnovers with 4 giveaways. The Sooners average 41 penalty yards per game and opponents average 52 per game. Oklahoma is 13/31 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 17/44. The Sooners have forced 7 sacks and allowed 4 this season. Oklahoma is 15/16 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns and opponents are 7/7 with 4 touchdowns.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has completed 76.8% of his passes for 1,046 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. He hasn’t run the ball as much as did in previous seasons. Mayfield has emerged as a Heisman contender in not the favorite after finishing in the top five in the last two seasons.  Back-up Kyler Murray has thrown for 252 yards with 2 touchdowns and also has 25 rushing yards.

Running back Abdul Adams has 21 carries for 166 yards and no touchdowns, and also has 3 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. Trey Sermon has  has 31 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown along with 3 catches for 23 yards and a touchdown. Marcelias Sutton has 15 carries for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 2 catches for 29 yards. Rodney Anderson will also get some carries and has a rushing touchdown. Fullback Dimitri Flowers has a rushing touchdown and also has 8 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.

Tight end Mark Andrews has has 13 catches for 233 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a thigh injury. CeeDee Lamb has 12 catches for 213 yards and 3 touchdowns. Marquise Brown has 9 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown. Jeff Badet has 10 catches for 186 yards.  Lee Morris has 2 catches for 61 yards and 2 touchdowns. Five defensive players are listed on the injury report.

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Baylor is being outscored 33-25 this season. The Bears are #92 in scoring and #101 in points allowed nationally. Baylor is averaging 389 yards per game on offense including 226 passing and 163 rushing yards. On defense, Baylor is allowing 465 yards per game including 262 passing and 203 rushing yards. The Bears are #96 or worse in all three categories. Baylor is -4 in turnovers with 7 giveaways. The Bears average 86 penalty yards per game and opponents average 75 per game. Baylor is 10/43 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 30/63. The Bears have forced 9 sacks and allowed 7 this season. Baylor is 5/6 scoring in the red zone with 4 touchdowns and opponents are 9/11 with 3 touchdowns. The Bears have given up two defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Anu Solomon has thrown for 399 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 16 carries for 106 yards. He is out with a concussion.  Zach Smith has thrown for 279 yards and 3 touchdowns with 4 interceptions. He will start for the second straight game.

Running back John Lovett has 41 carries for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns. JaMycal Hasty has 11 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. He is out until at least early October with a knee injury. Last year’s leading rusher Terence is probable to make his season debut after missing the first three games with a shoulder injury.

Receiver Chris Platt has 11 catches for 308 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 4 carries for 36 yards. Denzel Mims has 7 catches for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tony Nicholson has 9 catches for 64 yards. Pooh Stricklin has 4 catches for 62 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Three defensive players are listed on the injury report.

Oklahoma is 7-0 ATS after passing for more than 280 yards and overall, 6-0 ATS after a straight up win and after a cover, 6-1 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 5-1 after scoring more than 40 points, 4-1 in Big 12 games, 19-7 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 10-4 in September, 12-5 after allowing less than 20 points, 13-6 after a straight up win by 20 points or more and 3-7 after gaining more than 450 yards. The road team is 16-5 ATS in this series recently. The Sooners are 8-3 ATS in Waco recently.

Baylor is 2-6 ATS after a straight up loss, 1-4 at home, 2-8 overall, 3-13 on grass, 1-5 in Big 12 games and after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, 1-6 after failing to cover and in September. The over is 4-1 in Waco between the teams recently.

Oklahoma has won 13 straight games dating back to last year, while Baylor has lost 9 straight regular season games dating back to last year. Kansas and Iowa State have long resided in the basement of the Big 12. They have a new roommate this year, as Baylor is not very good this year. The Bears are close to a 4 touchdown underdog at home, something that would have been unthinkable in recent years. Sometimes wounded animals are dangerous but in this case, I think the Sooners roll to a victory.

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