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Betting The Big 12

Beat The Bookie: Our Week One Picks

Matt Zemek from Today’s U joins us as we make our first picks of the season!



Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas - Flickr - Michael Koukoullis
Flickr - Michael Koukoullis

It’s time to settle this! We here at the LGG all like to think we’re pretty dialed into the college football scene, but we can have some pretty varying thoughts about just how good a team is, or who’s going to beat who. So, who’s the most accurate? We’re going to find out, and cross our fingers this doesn’t go horribly wrong!

A little reminder how it works: We each make five picks against the spread, aka the betting line. One of those picks must involve a Big 12 game, for obvious reasons. That’s it. That’s the rules.

There is a slight change this year, and we’re really excited about it. Each week we will have a guest picker. Then, at the end of the season, we’ll see how everyone did. Our guest this week is Matt Zemek from Today’s U! If you aren’t following them on Twitter and checking in on what they are doing over there, you need to. They are doing big things.

***** Guest Picker *****

Matt Zemek, Today’s U

Notre Dame -3.5 (vs Texas)
Houston +11.5 (vs Oklahoma)
North Carolina +2.5 (vs Georgia)
LSU -10.5 (vs Wisconsin)
West Virginia -10 (vs Missouri)

Oklahoma will score in bunches, but Greg Ward will give the Sooners’ defense a lot of problems. The fact that this game is in Houston will give the Cougars extra juice, but Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine are supremely dependable players who won’t make many missteps in this game — not enough to lose, at any rate. Oklahoma showed a lot of backbone last season, and while Clemson was clearly better in the Orange Bowl, the Sooners were ravaged by injuries in that game. In week one, they should be ready — ready enough, at least on offense — to escape Tom Herman’s Heroes with a win. The Cougars will have to settle for covering in Vegas.


On to our picks! Last season I went 42-22-1, good for a 65% win average. I’ll definitely take it. That will pay the juice and then some. Robert Spradley averaged over a 55% win total last season, so keep an eye on him as well. How everyone else on the team does, well, we’ll find out…

Chris Ross

Ohio State -28 (vs Bowling Green)
UL Lafayette +20 (vs Boise State)
Florida -36.5 (vs Umass)
Stanford -13 (vs K-State)
Temple -14.5 (vs Army)

Opening week is always tough. What’s offseason hype and what’s not? We just don’t know yet. That said, sorry Wildcats, I just don’t think you’re ready for what you’ll find in Palo Alto. Bill Snyder has built a legacy on doing more with less, but when a team has ample time to prepare, the Wildcats can struggle.  Hopefully I’m wrong, and they can keep it close, but I see the Tree winning by a couple of touchdowns, so I’ll lay the 13 points.

Cameron Jourdan

Alabama -11.5 (vs USC)
Clemson -7.5 (at Auburn)
UCLA +3 (at Texas A&M)
Colorado State +8.5 (at Colorado)
Oklahoma -11.5 (at Houston)

The mayor of Houston may be upset when his team is down by two or three touchdowns at halftime. The Sooners are just bigger, stronger and faster than the Cougars, and have something to prove after the second half shellacking in the Orange Bowl vs. Clemson last year. Houston is a very good team, but the Sooners are on a mission, and Greg Ward Jr. is no Baker Mayfield.

Zachary Reed

West Virginia -10 (vs Missouri)
Clemson -7.5 (at Auburn)
Ohio State -28 (vs Bowling Green)
Florida State -4 (vs Ole Miss)
Houston +11.5 (vs Oklahoma)

Houston brings back a lot of talent, including their quarterback Greg Ward, Jr., and I don’t think enough is being made about the talent Oklahoma lost on defense. Perine and Mixon will have trouble finding holes early on with two new starters and four underclassmen on the Oklahoma offensive line, and Houston, behind Ward and company, will keep the game close. I think Oklahoma wins, but that’s a lot of points to be giving a very good Houston team.

Derek Morton

Oklahoma -11.5 (vs Houston)
Clemson -7.5 (at Auburn)
UCLA +3 (at A&M)
Northwestern -6 (vs W.Michigan)
Alabama -10 (vs USC)

Oklahoma is more experienced than people think up front in my opinion. Houston is good but I see OU by two touchdowns. UCLA takes Kyle field and I do not see Trevor Knight doing anything special and I like Josh Rose, UCLA wins straight up. Alabama seems to always show up early vs ranked opponents with USC trotting out an inexperienced QB, tide rolls.

Robert Spradley

UCLA +3 (at Texas A&M)
Clemson -7.5 (at Auburn)
LSU -11 (vs Wisconsin)
BYU -1 (at Arizona)
Houston +11.5 (vs Oklahoma)

Texas A&M fans will be loud as usual, but that won’t be enough to stop UCLA on a late drive. In the battle of Tigers, Clemson is clearly head and shoulders above Auburn. Wisconsin is a proud program, but this year’s version of the LSU Tigers promises to be a sledgehammer to the gut. BYU’s Taysom Hill makes all the difference in a very close game against Arizona. Houston is more than good enough to keep this game close, though I suspect the Sooners walk away with a win.

Ryan Evans

Ole Miss +4 (at Florida State)
Notre Dame -3.5 (at Texas)
Clemson -7.5 (at Auburn)
Oklahoma -11.5 (vs Houston)
BYU -1 (vs Arizona)

All my picks come from teams playing road games, or at least deep within enemy territory, as is the case for OU playing in Houston. If I were betting real money here, I’d be licking my chops at Notre Dame as only 3.5 point favorites. Does Vegas not remember this game was 38-3 last year? Or that the Irish were a total of two field goals away from a perfect regular season? I know Texas will be improved, but last time I watched this Longhorn team for a full four quarters, they lost to Texas Tech at home. Notre Dame is no Texas Tech. If the Horns manage to solve their quarterback woes, I’ll be a believer in this team’s big time potential. But since the head coach doesn’t even seem to know who he wants to play under center on Saturday, I’ll take the Irish.