The Big 12 must look to avoid the upset bug in Week 1 of the college football season.
That didn’t happen in 2020. Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas were all victims of upsets by Sun Belt schools to start last season, and No. 23 Louisiana will look to do it again on the road at No. 21 Texas on Saturday.
The Longhorns are 8.5-point favorites against the Ragin’ Cajuns in coach Steve Sarkisian’s debut. Will that line hold up?
No. 2 Oklahoma also opens the season with national championship hopes, and the road opener against Tulane was moved to Norman because of Hurricane Ida. That boosted the line from 26.5 to 31.5.
The Big 12 also has two interesting matchups against Power 5 opponents. Kansas State hosts Stanford, and West Virginia travels to Maryland. The other matchups are in the state of Texas, where Baylor welcomes Texas State and Texas Tech travels to Houston.
Four Big 12 teams open with FCS schools. Kansas opens with South Dakota on Friday in Lance Leipold’s debut. Oklahoma State hosts Missouri State, Iowa State opens with Northern Iowa and TCU plays Duquesne on Saturday. That leaves six Big 12 games on the schedule.
For more college football predictions, check out Sporting News’ Week 1 picks against the spread:
(Lines as of Aug. 30)
Big 12 odds for Week 1
Here are the latest Big 12 odds, including point spreads, money lines and over-under totals for every game, according to FanDuel.com.
Big 12 point spreads for Week 1
|Tulane at No. 2 Oklahoma||OU -31.5|
|Stanford at Kansas State||KSU -2.5|
|West Virginia at Maryland||WVU -3.5|
|No. 23 Louisiana at No. 21 Texas||TEX -8.5|
|Baylor at Texas State||BAY -13.5|
|Texas Tech at Houston||TTECH -1.5|
Big 12 money lines for Week 1
|Tulane at No. 2 Oklahoma||OU -10000|
|Stanford at Kansas State||KSU -144|
|West Virginia at Maryland||WVU -168|
|No. 23 Louisiana at No. 21 Texas||TEX -325|
|Baylor at Texas State||BAY -650|
|Texas Tech at Houston||TTECH -122|
Big 12 over/unders for Week 1
|Tulane at No. 2 Oklahoma||69.5|
|Stanford at Kansas State||53.5|
|West Virginia at Maryland||56.5|
|No. 23 Louisiana at No. 21 Texas||58.5|
|Baylor at Texas State||54.5|
|Texas Tech at Houston||65.5|
Big 12 best bets for Week 1
No. 21 Texas (-8.5) over No. 23 Louisiana
Former Texas coach Tom Herman lost his first two openers with the Longhorns, and Texas was 15-15 in games decided by 10 points or less than the last four seasons. Louisiana shocked Iowa State last season. Quarterback Levi Lewis is a playmaker at quarterback on a veteran team. That might lead some bettors to jump on that cover. Why should you have faith in the Longhorns? Sarkisian is going with newcomer Hudson Card at quarterback, and SN Preseason All-American Bijan Robinson will loosen up that defense with some big plays in the running game. Texas is at home, and provided they protect the football, that offensive line should be able to take control in the second half. We like the Longhorns to buck the trend in a 10-point victory.
West Virginia (-3.5) at Maryland
The Mountaineers are looking to break out under third-year coach Neal Brown, and they had a tough pass defense that allowed just 159.6 yards per game last season. That was in the pass-happy Big 12. West Virginia should be able to limit the big-play factor from Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, and Jarret Doege is an experienced quarterback who should get enough help on the ground to pull out the road victory. West Virginia has won nine of the last 10 meetings dating back to 2004.
Texas Tech vs. Houston (Over 65.5)
Oregon transfer Tyler Shough takes over for the Red Raiders, and his first start is on the road at Reliant Stadium against the Cougars. Texas Tech averaged 29.1 points per game last season, and that number should increase with him under center. Houston quarterback Clayton Tune is a playmaker too, but he struggled with interceptions last season. Both defenses allowed more than 30 points per game, and Cougars’ home games hit the over three out of four times last season. We see a Texas-sized shootout to start the season. The Red Raiders won the last meeting 63-49 in 2018.