2022 College Football Betting Guide: Big 12 Preview

by Aaron Ogdahl
2022 College Football Betting Guide: Big 12 Preview

The stout defenses that brought Oklahoma State and Baylor to the Big 12 Championship last year was a surprise to most of us who have watched the Big 12 over the past couple of decades. Stereotypically, the Big 12 was home to the best shootouts in college football with high-flying offenses. Will the return of the Air Raid make the conference return to classic form?

My College Football Betting Guide series focuses on how to find an edge and preview each team within the Power 5 conferences and beyond. My goal is to take you on a campus tour throughout each conference and find the value.

I’ll provide you with the favorites, the contenders, the dark horses, and well, the donations you could make by selecting teams within each conference. I’ll give you my thoughts on each respective Team Total future bet you could make, some of the better players you could target for DFS Plays, and I’ll also give you my pick for who will raise the trophy as the conference champion, the MVP of the conference, and the +EV Pick.

The +EV Pick may have you scratching your head a little bit as to what it is, but +EV is short for positive expected value. Expected value in sports betting “is a way to measure the probability gap between a bettor’s expectations and the sportsbook’s.” 

In layman's terms, it’s who is going to give you the most bang for your buck: AKA, what’s the most profitable pick if you were to do this over and over again, long term. Because of course, that’s our goal: long term profit. (and of course, fun!). So say it with me and repeat it to yourself, “Plus EV over everything.”

2022 College Football Betting Guide: Big 12 Preview

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Big 12 Conference Odds (via Fanduel)

  • Oklahoma +190
  • Texas +300
  • Oklahoma State +550
  • Baylor +550
  • Kansas State +1200
  • TCU +1200
  • Iowa State +2000
  • West Virginia +2000
  • Texas Tech +5000
  • Kansas +25000

The Favorites

Oklahoma Sooners (2021 Record: 11-2)

Oklahoma saw their Head Coach, two elite level QB’s, and a fleury of elite receivers leave the program this offseason. Yet, they’re still the odds on favorite to win the Big 12. This all starts with the program hiring the vaunted DC from Clemson, Brent Venables.

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Under Venables, one assumption can be made. They’re going to be better on defense. In addition, one of the more cerebral moves made by Venables was bringing in Ole Miss coach Jeff Lebby as offensive coordinator. If he brings in the breakneck offense of the Rebels, QB Dillion Gabriel (transfer from UCF) should be able to put up big numbers and could even be worth a flyer for the Heisman trophy future. He played in the same style at UCF and can command the high-flying offensive attack.

The offense has enough coming back to put up numbers. RB's Eric Gray from Tennessee and Marcus Major should play into the offense heavily, just as James Ealy and Snoop Connor did at RB for Ole Miss last year. At WR, Marvin Mims averaged 22 yards per catch and has the home run capability the Sooners need.

Regardless of their positive additions, Oklahoma was hit hard by the transfer portal. They won’t be the same offense they were under Riley, but their identity should shift to become more of an elite defense with an offense very capable of putting up points.

Oklahoma is the favorite to win the Big 12 for good reason, even in what many perceive to be a rebuilding year for the powerhouse program. Their schedule begins with their first test taking on Nebraska. This fun rivalry game is back and will be fun to watch in what should be closer than the experts think. They’ll also be short favorites against the entire Big 12, but they’re not a league above everyone else like they used to be.

The Big 12 is more up for grabs this season than it has been in the past. However, regardless of it being more up for grabs, Oklahoma still has the athletes and coaching staff to get them Dallas at the end of the season.  I think Venables gets the team to buy in, play together, take a couple of lumps along the way, but ultimately secure a spot in the Big 12 championship

Prediction: Team Total Over 9.5

Texas Longhorns (2021 Record: 5-7)

The other favorite to win the Big 12 are the Longhorns from Texas, who will be leaving the conference with Oklahoma to the SEC in 2024. The Longhorns were 5-7 last year and Texas most definitely wasn’t back, evidenced by a loss to lowly Kansas. Leaving for the SEC may be a scary thought for Texas fans considering last year’s season, but the talent is there in Austin.

The long-awaited debut of Quinn Ewers will finally take place in Austin in 2022. It’s Ewers' team for now, as Arch Manning lies waiting to potentially command the Longhorns offense for years to come. Steve Sarkisian is bringing in the talent, but what should we expect this season?

The offense will have talent at the skill positions.  In addition to Ewers, the nation's best RB, Bijan Robinson, will be on the shortlist for the Heisman watch.  Robinson had 1,127 yards rushing in only 10 games before getting injured last season and so I expect this number go up..way up. At WR, Sark hit the transfer portal. Isaiah Neyor from Wyoming, Tarique Milton from Iowa State, and Agiye Hall from Alabama will all be able to contribute to an offense I see averaging north of 37 a game. They also get a great TE in Jahleel Billingsley to reunite with Sark in what should be a dynamic offense this season.

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Truth be told. I want Texas to be back. I think deep down, we all want Texas to be back. Not only that, the defense has the talent. The whole team has the talent, but when will it finally be put together? I think it’s this year.

Texas goes to Alabama in Week 3 and will likely get outscored in a high-scoring affair, but this team is a 10-win team, on paper. If they can find the cohesion as a team, look out sweetheart, the Longhorns could very well find themselves in talks of a CFB playoff. I understand the skeptics around this, as we’ve been asking if Texas is back for over a decade now. But this year, they finally have Ewers, who is a next-level talent with one the best RB’s in college football, surrounded by top-tier talent everywhere.

The ceiling is sky high for the Longhorns, but realistically I think Texas goes 9-3 this season, even with the loss to Alabama. The team is simply too talented not to find themselves in the win column more than the loss column. However, there always runs the risk of Sark losing the team, but for this season, it’s a Horns up projection

Prediction: Team Total Over 8

Contenders

Oklahoma State Cowboys (2021 Record: 12-2)

In one of the more surprising storylines from 2021, a team from the Big 12 was brought to the championship game thanks to their top-ranked defense. The Cowboys ranked 7th in Defensive Success Rate in the nation and will be led by All-Big 12 sophomore Collin Oliver who causes havoc. But with the loss of star LB Malcolm Rodriguez, is there enough to get the Pokes back to the Big 12 Championship?

The defense will once again be a focal point for Mike Gundy and the Cowboys. However, they will have a new defensive coordinator in Derek Mason, who abruptly left Auburn for Stillwater. Mason replaces Jim Knowles, who was scooped up by Ohio St, which you can read about here in my Big 10 Preview. If the Cowboys expect to go to the Big 12 championship like last year, they’re going to need similar production from what should be a formidable defense. But they’ll also need their athletic QB to step up as well.

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Spencer Sanders has the tools to be one of the better college football QB’s. His athleticism to escape pressure was impressive. The offensive line was relatively porous when it came to pass protection, but Sanders was able to pass for 20 TD’s and 2839 passing yards while adding 668 yards on the ground. Casey Collier from USC is coming in from USC to help bolster the offensive line and provide more help both in the pass game and the run game.

RB transfer from Texas A&M, Deondre Jackson, will look to spell Dominic Richardson on the ground for the Pokes. WR Brennan Presley is back after catching 619 yards, but otherwise, they’ll have to get production from players stepping up into newer, bigger, roles.

This team defeated Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl last year and was 1 yard (err, inch?) from being crowned Big 12 champions. However, Oklahoma State has the lowest defensive returning production in the Big 12 and a brand new defensive coordinator. I’m skeptical they can replicate the same results as last year with so many new faces needing to replace their biggest strength last year. They’ll have to beat 3 out of these 4 games to reach their total in my opinion: Baylor (doable), TCU (doable), Texas (doubtful), and K State (doable). Can they sweep Baylor, TCU, and K State? Maybe, but I'm more of the notion one of those teams clips the Pokes.

Prediction: Team Total Under 8.5

Baylor Bears (2021 Record: 12-2)

The reigning Big 12 and Sugar Bowl Champions. Dave Aranda looks to repeat last season’s 12-win campaign but will have to do it with a new QB as Gerry Bohanon left for USF after getting beat out by Blake Shapen. Shapen will have to find new targets, because the majority of last year's pass catchers are also gone. Tyquan Thornton and Drew Estrada both are with the NFL, and RJ Sneed transferred to Colorado.

This is a lot of lost returning production, in fact, the least amount of total returning production in the Big 12. This puts a lot of pressure on Blake Shapen to make big plays within a new offense and he isn’t exactly a master in taking care of the ball. Shapen had 58 passing attempts and made more turnover-worthy plays than big-time throws. However, the Offensive Line should be top-notch. They will be returning 2 All Big-12 starters.

Defensively they will return the 2nd lowest amount of production in the Big 12, but their D-line will be incredibly solid like last year. For the safeties, LB’s, and CB’s I’m not sure I can say the same. Aranda did hit the transfer portal and take in Josh White from LSU to help solidify the LB corps.

This team will not go 12-2 this season. Period. They’ll beat lesser opponents, but their returning stability is going to leave a lot of question marks for the Bears. They should roll Kansas, Texas State, and Albany. But Vegas has their team total at 7.5. Where are 5 more wins?

Will it be against Oklahoma or Texas? Doubt it. Maybe they get 1, but they won't be favored in either of those games.

Will they travel to Provo with an inexperienced team and beat the team with the most returning production in the country? Highly doubt it.

Then, if they win 1 of those 3, can they get 4 more wins from West Virginia, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas Tech. That's up to you to decide, but I know where I'm putting my money and that's the most likely of the above scenario.

Prediction: Baylor Team Total Under 7.5

TCU (2021 Record: 5-7)

The Gary Patterson Era is over. For TCU fans, this could lead to a pessimistic outlook for 2022. However, I tend to think the opposite for the Horned Frogs. Can newcomer Sonny Dykes take his high-flying offensive scheme and install it with the personnel to pull off, say, a Big 12 Chipper? Well, he will have the:

  1. Highest returning offensive production in Big 12
  2. 2nd highest returning defensive production in Big 12

At 5-7 last year, the Horned Frogs weren’t good. But I’m a believer in QB Max Duggan. He can sling it, and when you put him in the Air Raid offense, his numbers are going to skyrocket along with his confidence. It wasn’t the offense that didn’t work last year and the Horned Frogs have the athletes to put up points.

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The defense was the culprit to TCU’s woes primarily last year. To remedy this, Dykes hit the transfer portal to plug holes in a defense that averaged almost 35 points a game to opponents. He also took Joseph Gillespie from Tulsa as a D Coordinator, who had quite a bit of success, albeit an inferior conference he coached against.

I expect TCU to have a major turnaround this season. Max Duggan is going to be a DFS star. TCU is going to average 35 points a game. The Defense is probably not going to be terrific, but with so much experience coming back and a new DC, I can’t see them being worse. This team is laying in the weeds ready to pounce and value exists.

Prediction: Team Total Over 6.5

Kansas State (2021 Record: 8-5)

The "under-the-radar-not-so-under-the-radar" contender to win the Big 12 resides in Manhattan, KS. The big reason: Adrian Martinez has transferred in from Nebraska to play QB. He’ll have an electric running back in Deuce Vaughn to hand the ball off to. Vaughn had over 1400 yards on the ground last year to accompany 18 TD’s. Those numbers should even improve with another year and a QB with scrambling ability. Martinez's ability to take care of the ball has to improve, but I do see him having his best season yet under Chris Klieman.

Chris Klieman is a damn good coach against the spread. He’s 22-13-1 and he will get 73% of his returning production back from last year and only trailed Oklahoma in offensive success rate. The K-State offense will be methodical and move the ball with Vaughn and will likely be able to put up similar numbers to last year with a slight bump.

The defense last year only surrendered 21 points a game last year and is in the middle of the road for returning players from last year. A slew of transfers have made their way to Manhattan to try and earn their spot on the defense.

The Wildcats should earn three non-conference wins and will be a big favorite against Kansas to earn a 4th. The rest of the Big 12, if we haven’t put it together yet, is completely up for grabs as many of these teams are within a TD spread of each other. It’s going to be a fun season for the Big 12 and the Wildcats and coaching staff should be able to overcome to get some victories in tight games with their particular defense and methodical offense with

Prediction: Team Total Over 6.5

Iowa State Cyclones (2021 Record: 7-6)

It may be a rebuilding season in Ames after what may have been perceived as a disappointing 2021 campaign. Iowa State football was a dark horse last year to potentially grab the nation by storm and potentially sneak into the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately, the Cyclones went 7-6 and lost their bowl game. Now, where to go from here?

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Do the Cyclones return to their 1990’s selves and head to the conference cellar? Or do they rebound?

Offensively, Brock Purdy and Breece Hall are gone and only returning 36% of experience.

Lefty Hunter Dekkers will replace Brock Purdy and be Cyclones QB under Matt Campbell this season. With only 36% of experience returning there is some serious work to do. Jirehl Brock will attempt to replace Hall, but I’m skeptical to say the least. The one bright spot, Xavier Hutchinson is back at WR after hauling in 83 catches last year and will look to retain his spot on the All-Big 12 first team.

Defensively, the Cyclones return even less experience as only 28% returns. However, they were good. Not good, actually outstanding. They had the best pass defense in the Big 12 and will have Will McDonald returning to disrupt the pass rush for the Cyclones. They still have talent on this D, but undoubtedly, it’s the next generation for Cyclones and that leaves a lot of question marks.

I have the Cyclones winning 6 this year, and not anymore. With a win total of 6.5, I’ll take the Under. There’s just too much to replace this year, but in saying that, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Cyclones actually win 9 under Matt Campbell, who just has that flair at Iowa State. Volatility is in the air in Ames!

Prediction: Team Total Under 6.5

Dark Horses

Texas Tech (2021 Record: 7-6)

The Red Raiders will see a new era begin again in Lubbock, as they’ve moved on from Matt Wells and selected legendary Texas high school coach Joey McGuire to lead them to battle. He of course will be a recruiting giant in the state of Texas, but will it translate to wins for the Red Raiders in 2022?

Zach Kittley is probably a name most haven’t heard of. Let’s familiarize ourselves a bit. Kittley comes from Western Kentucky who piled on points. Before that, he was at FCS Houston Baptist, who piled on points. The Red Raiders offense is going to pile on points this year. He will have either Donovan Smith or former Oregon Duck Tyler Shough to throw behind an offensive line that will return 86% of snaps from last year.

Kittley’s Hilltopper offense averaged 535 yards and 44 points a game last year and the Red Raider shootouts are back baby (which means it’s DFS stack city for this guy!)WR Eric Ezukanma is gone, but you can guarantee four WR’s are going to have career years this year. Ok, enough gushing about the offense, what about the defense?

Well, old Red Raider football is back. Texas Tech scores, opponent scores, Tech scores, opponent scores, tech scores, opponent scores. Think overs in Texas Tech games and I'm expecting shootouts week in and week out.

I’m high on the Red Raiders and their fun brand of football. I’ll be watching on Saturdays, that’s for sure. However, they have a tough schedule. There’s a decent chance this team starts 1-5. I think they end up amassing 3 in the back half of the season, but it’s not enough to get them to their team total of 5.5. They'll shock a couple of teams along the way, but the season hinges on the defense. If it's good, it may be worth taking a flyer on them to win the Big 12 at +5000.

Prediction: Team Total Under 5.5

West Virginia (2021 Record: 6-7)

Jarrett Doege went to Western Kentucky, which has left the Mountaineers with…

Former 5-star QB JT Daniels. Daniels wasn’t able to find his home at USC or Georgia, but will he finally find it on the country roads headed to Morgantown?

"Country Roads…Take me home…to the place…I BELONG"

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Graham Harrell as OC in the Ol Texas Tech Air Raid will look good with JT Daniels at the helm. The Mountaineers are primed to break out after an up-and-down, relatively mediocre past few seasons. Last year the offense averaged only 25 points a game and this will change as the offensive line will be veteran-laden. Tony Mathis Jr and Justin Johnson are capable of filling in for Leddie Brown at RB, but ultimately, they’re not as necessary in the Air Raid, as QB play will be paramount to the Neers’ success.

The defense from last year was good, but not great. What's also an issue is that they’ll only return 39% of their production last year. Is this the weak point for West Virginia? Well, not so fast, HC Neal Brown has brought in some formidable transfers to keep the defense solid.

The schedule is of course going to be tough in the Big 12. For non-conference, they’ll open the season with the Backyard Brawl at Pittsburgh. I actually think that, not only do they cover, they get the win as 7-point underdogs. They’ll then tally 2 wins against Kansas and Towson. From there, it’s up to the Mountaineers to scrape together 3 wins to get over the team total of 5.5.  Are there 3 wins somewhere in the next 9? Virginia Tech? Texas? Baylor? Texas Tech? TCU? Iowa St? Oklahoma? K-State? OkSt?

I think there are.

Prediction: Team Total Over 5.5 wins

Kansas Jayhawks (2021 Record 2-10)

Kansas is Kansas, but they’re on the rise. Jalon Daniels is no slouch of a QB. They return 78% of their offensive production and they’ll get outstanding RB Ky Thomas from Minnesota from the transfer portal. Defensively, reinforcements have also been added through the portal which should help.

Schedule wise, they’ll open up against Tennessee Tech and hopefully get things started on the right foot. That means we need 2 more wins somewhere on the schedule to get over 2.5. They’ll need one big 12 upset and either a win against Houston or Duke. I think they do it.

Prediction: Team Total Over 2.5
Postseason Awards
  • MVP: Deuce Vaughn
  • Big 12 Champion: Texas Longhorns
  • The +EV Pick: TCU Horned Frogs. They have a shot to take home the title if things go their way.

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