Big 12 football picks: West Virginia-Oklahoma, Kansas-Texas

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October 18th, 2019

As the dust settles from last week’s Red River Showdown, the Big 12 resumes play with two big matchups (both games Saturday). A slip-up for Texas against Kansas put the Longhorns in serious danger to miss the Big 12 Championship Game. Meanwhile, Oklahoma once again is a heavy favorite at home against a West Virginia squad that got beat at home last weekend by Iowa State.

West Virginia at #5 Oklahoma (-33), noon ET, FOX

West Virginia
+33 (-110)
O 62.5 (-110)
-33 (-110)
U 62.5 (-110)
This number is the highest spread of the season for the Big 12 co-leaders. It is also the fifth time this year the Sooners have been favored by three touchdowns or more. Off a 34-27 win over Texas that was not really close until a late rally by the Longhorns, Oklahoma will have a much easier time scoring against West Virginia, but slow starts have been a recent concern. The Sooners only scored ten points in the first half last week and only one touchdown in the opening 20 minutes the week before against Kansas.

Thankfully for coach Lincoln Riley and company, they will host a West Virginia team that is, well, not very good. The West Virginia defense ranks 87th in rushing yards allowed and 94th in scoring defense. The Mountaineers offense isn’t any better and ranks in the bottom 20 nationally in total yards per game. That bodes well for the top offense in the nation.

It appears quarterback Austin Kendall will get the start for the Mountaineers, after he was knocked out of the game last week with a chest injury. Even though Kendall might want revenge on the program that tried to block his transfer to West Virginia, the improved Sooners defense will be too much for him. Oklahoma will score 50 points for the fourth straight time against the Mountaineers in an easy win.

Pick: Oklahoma -33

Kansas at #15 Texas (-21.5), 7 p.m. ET, Longhorn Network

+21.5 (-110)
O 62 (-110)
-21.5 (-110)
U 62 (-110)
Texas has faced two very good teams this season, and twice the Longhorns have come close but come up empty. They now get to turn their sights to a Kansas team that is not nearly on the level of Oklahoma or LSU. Texas’ two wins in conference have been by a combined 17 points, so 21.5 is a tricky number.

However, this is not going to be like Texas’ other games in conference. Kansas is not good enough at anything offensively to be able to give the questionable Longhorns’ defense problems. The defense showed improvement last week, too, and Kansas will be a much easier assignment. The Jayhawks’ defense isn’t great, but it is first in the Big 12 in red-zone defense, with 17 touchdowns and five field goals allowed on 29 opponent trips inside the 20-yard line.

Kansas has forced only one turnover against an FBS team this year, which should give Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger plenty of confidence to sling the ball around. His arm should give the Longhorns a solid lead, and the running game should be able to lock things down.

Kansas has failed to cover the spread in 37 of its last 55 games away from home.

Pick: Texas -21.5

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