NCAA Football Betting Futures – 2011 Big 12 Season Preview
Before we start the Big 12 preview, let’s put the confusion to rest. After realignment, the Big 12 actually has 10 teams now.
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The Big Ten now has 12 teams. However, neither conference is changing its brand. So the Big 12, complete with 10 teams, is the same Big 12 as last year. Capiche?
Now, on to the odds for the 2011 Big Twelve Football Conference.
Oklahoma is the clear favorite for 2011 with odds of -250. People are getting excited about Landry Jones. His monster 2010 season included 4,718 passing yards and 38 touchdown passes. He also got better as the bigger conference games approached later in the year. In Ryan Broyles, Jones will soon have the NCAA’s all-time receptions leader at his disposal. The Sooners will field a powerhouse offense, an energetic defense and could open at No.1 in the polls.
After an excellent 2010 season, Texas A&M is next at +300. The Aggies could field a solid offense, as quarterback Tannehill and running back Cyrus Gray both looked great after winning the starting jobs at their positions last season. But how will the “D” respond after losing the tremendously talented Von Miller in the draft? He was such a high-impact piece that his departure alone puts the Aggies behind Oklahoma.
Texas (+500) arguably has inflated odds just because of its rich history. The Longhorns simply weren’t very good a year ago, following up a national title game appearance with a 5-7 season and just two wins in conference play. It appears Texas will give Garrett Gilbert another shot even though he had 17 interceptions versus 10 touchdown passes last year. That doesn’t sound encouraging.
Shouldn’t Oklahoma State’s odds be better than +800? Wide receiver Justin Blackmon won the Biletnikoff Award with 11 catches, 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore. He still has the underrated Brandon Weeden throwing to him. Sure, a defense that finished 87th overall and 115th against the pass holds them back, but I like the Cowboys’ upside more than the Longhorns’.
The post-Blaine Gabbert era begins for Missouri (+1200). Not to mention the post-Aldon Smith era. The Tigers had two players in the top 10 of the NFL draft. Losing guys of that magnitude almost always precedes a step back. Most experts expect the Tigers to soldier on with Smith but struggle to replace Gabbert this season, as James Franklin is unproven and Blaine’s brother, Tyler, just transferred to Louisville.
Baylor joins Missouri at +1200 to win the Big 12. It looks like the Bears will field an above-average offense with dual-threat quarterback Robert Griffin at the controls but this team’s “D” needs more time to develop. Baylor allowed 435 yards and 30 points per game last season – and that was with NFL first-round pick Phil Taylor clogging the middle. New defensive co-ordinator Phil Bennett has his work cut out for him.
Oddsmakers don’t give Iowa State or Kansas any chance of succeeding but place Texas Tech (+1800) and Kansas State (+2500) just outside the realm of contenders. Texas Tech has an easy schedule early on and adding Chad Glasgow as defensive co-ordinator TCU helps but the Red Raiders lost seven starters from an already sieve-like defense. They need more seasoning. Kansas State could improve with the addition of brothers Bryce (running back) and Arthur (linebacker) Brown via transfer but no team in the nation had a worse run defense last season.
THE FREE 2011 BIG 12 CONFERENCE FOOTBALL PICK
If Oklahoma projects as the No. 1 team in the nation, the Sooners are clearly also the pick to win their own conference. Jones will lead this team to big things as he postures himself to be a high NFL draft pick.
Pick: Oklahoma -250
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