The No. 16 Baylor Bears host the Oklahoma State Cowboys in their Big 12 opener on Saturday, September 24th. The Bears have won three of the last four meetings, including a 45-35 road win last season.
Baylor (3-0) has faced its usual trio of cupcakes to start the season and opened 3-0 while beating Northwestern State, SMU and Rice all by 27 points or more. The Bears are coming off a 38-10 road win at Rice last Friday.
Oklahoma State (2-1) bounced back from its devastating loss to Central Michigan with a 45-38 home victory over Pittsburgh last week. Mason Rudolph had a career game with 540 passing yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Kickoff inside McLane Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 EST Saturday night with FOX providing the television coverage. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have pegged Baylor as a 7.5-point favorite over Oklahoma State with a total set of 76 points.
My Early Lean: Baylor -7.5
I believe that Baylor is way undervalued right now because it has opened the season by going 0-3 ATS. However, they have barely favored to cover the spread in all three games.
They beat Northwestern State 55-7 as 50-point favorites (2-point loss), SMU 40-13 as 34.5-point favorites (7.5-point loss) and Rice 38-10 as 33.5-point favorites (5.5-point loss). They easily could have covered against both Northwestern State and Rice had they kept their foot on the gas.
Now the Bears are only laying 7.5-points here against an Oklahoma State team that clearly has its issues this season. And Baylor really hasn’t missed a beat with Jim Grobe as the offense is averaging 44.3 points and 557.3 yards per game, while the defense is only giving up 10.0 points and 249.3 yards per game. The Bears are outscoring opponents by 34.3 points per game and outgaining them by 308 yards per game.
Sure, Oklahoma State got screwed against Central Michigan, but the fact that was even a game is concerning. The Cowboys really deserved to lose because they were outgained 338 to 418, or by 80 total yards. They went 1-for-11 on 3rd downs, and only gaining 338 yards against Central Michigan is not very good.
The Bears have had the Cowboys’ number in recent years, winning three of the last four meetings. The last two really haven’t even been close. Baylor won 49-28 at home in 2014 while outgaining Oklahoma State 579 to 397 for the game. Then Baylor led by double-digits the entire second half on the road last year and won 45-35. That game wasn’t even as close as the final score because the Bears outgained the Cowboys 700 to 441, or by 259 total yards.
McLane Stadium has been a very tough place for Big 12 opponents. Indeed, the Bears are 17-3 in their last 20 conference home games. They lost their final two home games last year, but they were battling injuries and missing starting QB Seth Russell in losses to both Oklahoma and Texas.
Russell certainly looks like his old self this season as he has thrown for 761 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. KD Cannon is a beast, catching 24 balls for 352 yards and four scores. Plus, the Bears have three different running backs with at least 200 yards rushing in JaMycal Hasty (237 yards, 2 TD), Terrence Williams (232, 3 TD) and Shock Linwood (213).
Oklahoma State is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games a road underdog of 7.5 to 10 points.
Oklahoma State is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games a road underdog of 7.5 to 10 points. Baylor is 16-4 ATS in its last 20 home games after gaining 525 or more total yards in its previous game. Plays on a home team (BAYLOR) – after gaining 575 or more total yards/game over their last two games, with five defensive starters returning are 34-8 (81%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Bears are 27-11 ATS in their last 38 home games.