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2021 Season

Week 4 Picks – Big 12 Play Is Underway

Oklahoma vs West Virginia, Oklahoma State vs Kansas State, Texas vs Texas Tech, Kansas vs Duke, Baylor vs Iowa State and the TCU-SMU rivalry…it’s going to be a good day of football, here’s my picks!

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Jarrick Bernard-Converse of the Oklahoma State Cowboys tackles Harry Trotter of the Kansas State Wildcats - Getty Images - Peter Aiken
Getty Images - Peter Aiken

Technically, Big 12 play kicked off last week, but now we are really getting into the meat of conference play with four conference games this week. Picks always get harder in conference play too as what we’ve seen so far might not translate against tougher competition.

So how this works is Phillip Slavin, Daniel Alexander and myself make our picks each week on the Ten12 Podcast. My picks are below, but for Daniel’s picks, who is a professional picker, and Phillip’s picks, who is definitely not a professional, you’re going to have to listen to the podcast.

Although, I might have to change that line about Phillip not being a professional after he went 8-0 in Big 12 play last week and 9-1 overall. With that performance, Phillip took the lead at 18-8 on the season. I managed to go 5-5 after a 0-4 start, and I’m 15-11 on the season.

Also, last week, we put out Twitter polls out with the early lines of each game asking which side of the line you are on. Twitter went 7-1, which is pretty dang good. So, I will keep including Twitter’s pick below along with the percentage of the vote. Be sure to give us a follow at @the_LGG to vote in next week’s polls.


Picks are representative of where the line was at the time of posting the polls to Twitter (Monday morning), and at the time of recording the weekly Ten12 Podcast picks episode (Wednesday Night).


SMU AT TCU

Betting Lines: TCU -9.5 | O/U 65.5
Twitter Pick: TCU -10 (64.6%)
My Pick: TCU -9

The SMU offense has been racking up yards and touchdowns under quarterback Tanner Mordecai, and could give the TCU defense some problems. However, TCU has had an extra week to prepare for this offense, and while the defense might be tested, the Horned Frogs offense probably won’t be. SMU is giving up over 300 passing yards a game, and Max Duggan is more than capable of capitalizing.

This series is typically not close, either. Outside of SMU’s win in 2019, TCU won the previous five matchups by an average of 30 points. I was able to make my pick when the line was at TCU -9, but the consensus has moved half a point.


TEXAS TECH AT TEXAS

Betting Lines: TEX -9 | O/U 62
Twitter Pick: TTU +10 (63.7%)
My Pick: Texas -7.5

This is one of the harder games to pick this week, and the line movement has reflected that, but I will get into that in a minute. I admit, Texas Tech has been more impressive that I expected them to be this year. Texas on the other hand…well, I haven’t forgotten the Arkansas game.

The Longhorns made Casey Thompson the starter last week, and his performance was serviceable against Rice. He went 15-18 for 164 yards and two touchdowns, but did throw a pick. The Texas Tech defense will be a tougher test, though.

Cue Texas Tech defense jokes, but this isn’t the same “defense” as years past. The front seven is legit. They haven’t allowed a team to run for more than 80 yards.

Now, while the Red Raider defense is improved, Texas is likely to break through that number. Texas Tech hasn’t faced anyone with the caliber of lines in Austin. Texas is averaging 245 yards on the ground, and with questions at the quarterback position, they will look to establish the run on Saturday.

The other question mark in this one…what do we see out of Tyler Shough? The Oregon transfer showed what he was capable of against Houston, but he had a disappointing performance against SFA. He rebounded last week, but this will be the toughest defense he’s faced.

Like I said at the top, this one is tough to pick.

Now let’s talk about the line. It has been all over the place this week. It opened at Texas -13. By Monday, when the Twitter poll came out, it had been bet down to Texas -10. That’s a decent amount of movement by itself, but by Wednesday it was at Texas -7.5. That’s where I took it, but now it’s back up to Texas -9.

In the podcast, if it was still a 10-point spread, I would take Texas Tech. But since it had been bet down so much, I thought that it had created some value on Texas, That is my pick, but at 9, I would stay away from this one.


14 IOWA STATE AT BAYLOR

Betting Lines: ISU -7 | O/U 47.5
Twitter Pick: ISU -7 (79%)
My Pick: ISU -6.5

This is another difficult matchup to pick. If Iowa State wins, then it’s typically by a touchdown or more. In their last three wins in the series, they have a 10-point average margin of victory. However, they have only won three of the last five. In fact, the series is very close. Baylor has the slight edge at 10-9.

This year’s matchup features two of the better quarterbacks in the conference. Brock Purdy entered this season with high expectations for Iowa State, but he’s not off to the smoothest start. Although, it’s not October yet, either. On the other side, Gerry Bohanon is quietly putting together some solid performances. He’s completing passes, putting up yards and touchdowns, but most importantly, he hasn’t thrown a pick.

Can Baylor keep it rolling against the Cyclones? Well, Iowa State is a big step up in competition. Baylor hasn’t seen anything close to Iowa State’s defense. Texas State’s 98th-ranked defense is the best defense Baylor has faced to date. Currently, Iowa State’s defense is the top-ranked defense in the country.

On the flip side of the ball, Baylor’s defense isn’t UNLV’s, and the last time they went up against a solid defense, turnovers cost them the game. We should learn a decent amount about both squads in this one, but for now, I’m going to pick the Cyclones to cover.


KANSAS AT DUKE

Betting Lines: Duke -16 | O/U 57
Twitter Pick: Duke -15.5 (67%)
My Pick: Duke -16

On the plus side, Kansas has a win. That’s about all you can say about this team right now. They managed to pull out the season opening win, but even then, they struggled against a team they were a 3-score favorite against. About the only thing Kansas is doing well, aside from the play of Jason Bean, is turnovers. The Jayhawks are on the right side of the turnover margin. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t really mattered much.

Quarterback Jason Bean is fun to watch, but he’s not going to be able to go out and single-handedly compete with Duke. That’s not saying Duke is some great team — they aren’t — but Kansas is just that bad.

Kansas is 0-3 against the spread, so I’m with Twitter on this one.


25 KANSAS STATE AT OKLAHOMA STATE

Betting Lines: OKST -6 | O/U 46.5
Twitter Pick: KSU +7 (74.1%)
My Pick: KSU +6

The Wildcats come into this game 3-0, but still adjusting to the loss of Skylar Thompson. In what is becoming an uncomfortable trend in the Big 12, Will Howard was serviceable last week against Nevada in a solid win over the Wolfpack. He finished with 123 yards passing, 56 yards rushing and three total touchdowns without committing any turnovers.

Oklahoma State is coming off a win against Boise State, but aside from some social media karma about a clean locker room, there isn’t much to feel good about. A blown call, or rather, a whistle blown too early, let the Cowboys escape the blue turf with the win, but it wasn’t pretty. If it wasn’t for a rally right before the half, the Pokes were on the verge of getting blown out.

It’s evident that the Cowboy’s offensive line is struggling. They were able to get a push and find success rushing between the tackles, but that’s it. They were unable to get to the edge against Boise State, and pass protection just isn’t there.

I would be tempted to take Kansas State straight up, let alone getting nearly a touchdown.


WEST VIRGINIA AT 4 OKLAHOMA

Betting Lines: OU -17 | O/U 56
Twitter Pick: WVU +16.5 (73.5%)
My Pick: OU -17

Since their loss in the season opener, the Mountaineers have rebounded nicely and picked up a big win over 15th-ranked Virginia Tech last week. There is no rest for the weary though, as they have to turn right around after the rivalry and head to Norman.

The Sooners are undefeated and still the favorite to win the conference, but they haven’t been as dominant as expected. In fact, they are just 1-2 against the spread as Spencer Rattler is having difficulty living up to the standard set by Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts.

Still, if you’re asking me to pick one of these quarterback to lead my team, I’m taking Rattler over Jarret Doege every time.

Doege had a decent performance against the Hokies, but he did throw a pick. While Rattler is also turnover prone — and the WVU front seven is underrated — WVU won’t be able to afford mistakes to the same degree that the Sooners can overcome them.

The Sooners are favored by 17 over the Mountaineers, which feels like a big number for Big 12 play. It’s the biggest conference spread of the week. However, West Virginia has never beat Oklahoma since joining the Big 12, and the Sooner’s average margin of victory over those eight games is 17.5 points. The margin is also growing. In the last four meetings, the average margin of victory is nearly 25 points. I’m going to take the Sooners.


NON-BIG 12 PICK
UMASS AT 17 COASTAL CAROLINA

Betting Lines: CC -36 | O/U 65
My Pick: CC -36

This pick is really simple. One, I’m on the CC train until it derails. They hit a bump last week, but that just makes a cover this week all the more likely. Two, UMass is really bad.


UNDERDOG PICK
MISSOURI AT BOSTON COLLEGE

Betting Lines: MIZ -1.5 | O/U 58
My Pick: Boston College

There are a couple of things that I look for when making this pick. One, I like home teams. This is at Boston College, so check. Two, I like close spreads. It doesn’t get closer than 1.5 points, so check. Three, I like a team that performs well against the spread, or betting against a team that doesn’t. Missouri is 0-3 against the number. So check, check and check.