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Oklahoma Pulling Away From Texas in Big 12 Title Odds as Longhorns Drop to +400

Can Jalen Hurts lead the Sooners to another Big 12 title this season? Photo by @TheCFBHQ (Twitter)
  • Oklahoma has legit challengers in the conference this year, but odds are starting to go the other way
  • Oklahoma and Texas still have a significant talent advantage on the rest of the conference
  • Do Iowa State, Baylor or Oklahoma State provide any value as longshots?

Texas is supposedly back (for real this time), Iowa State is as good as it has ever been and Oklahoma has dominated the Big 12 for four years running.

In 2019, all of these movements are reaching critical points. Something must give.

It makes the run for the Big 12 Championship incredibly interesting, and that run recently got an odds adjustment.

Who Will Win The Big 12?

Big 12 Champion Odds
Oklahoma -150
Texas +400
Iowa State +800
Baylor +1200
Oklahoma State +1600
TCU +1600
Texas Tech +2500
West Virginia +3300
Kansas State +3300
Kansas +8000

Odds taken 08/14/2019.

Recently, Oklahoma’s odds for the championship just got a little better, previously being -120 or -125, and Texas was closer before the drop to +400.

Strengths and weaknesses

Oklahoma has earned the benefit of the doubt both offensively and in breaking in new quarterbacks, considering its transfer starters have a habit of winning the Heisman Trophy. (This year’s example, Jalen Hurts, is near the top of the Heisman Trophy odds as well.)

The Sooners do have some work to do on the offensive line, but I don’t see that as a major impediment to their conference title hopes for two reasons. First, there isn’t a ton of defensive line talent in the Big 12 that is major cause for concern — especially with the heavy losses at Texas — and the defense should be less of a liability.

Oklahoma still doesn’t have elite defensive talent by any stretch of the imagination, but under Alex Grinch there is faith the unit can at least be a little better than the dead last it was in several categories last year. Even if it only improves from 130th to 110th or 100th, that could be enough to give the offense an extra opportunity or two.

To go back to that Longhorn defense: the fear for it relative to the conference title race is a couple of early conference games against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma — both by Oct. 12 — is not enough time for so many new faces to come together competently. Texas should light up scoreboards this year, but I’m skeptical it will be enough.

The one caveat is the advent of the (relatively) new Big 12 Championship Game: if the Longhorns can get there, maybe a full season of development will be enough to bring the defense to a level that can topple Oklahoma. A Texas Big 12 Champions bet is almost certainly based on that hope.

Hope for others?

The case for Iowa State is easy to make: the program is only going up after being one of very few to truly scare Oklahoma in each of the last three years.

Brock Purdy gives this team legitimacy for the average fan who’s enamored with quarterbacks, but a precedent for solid defense under Matt Campbell, and several returners on the defensive line are the primary case for the Cyclones to pull this off.

Baylor is expected to be much improved in 2019 and Oklahoma State has a recent history of making the conference’s best sweat it out head-to-head, but I find it hard to believe either of them can win the conference.

Frankly, all teams other than Texas and Oklahoma are at a talent disadvantage as proven by Bud Elliott’s Blue Chip Ratio: the number of recruits signed over a four-year span that are 4- or 5-stars. Both Texas and Oklahoma are the only ones in the conference over 50 percent, and they did the league over by getting up to 60 percent.

Final thought

I still think Oklahoma is going to win the Big 12, but I won’t be surprised if the race is more interesting this year than it has been in the past few. For those that want to put their money where their mouth is with the Sooners, I think the time to strike is now. There are opportunities for some of their challengers to look bad early, with Texas hosting LSU and Iowa State playing its yearly game with Iowa, and if either lays an egg in those games, Oklahoma’s odds will become less lucrative.

Oklahoma’s odds have already gotten worse for those making a profit; better strike while the iron still has a little heat on it.

The pick: Oklahoma -150 

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