Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Rhule
Baylor 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +200000
- To win the Big 12: +6000
- To reach Big 12 title game: +1675
- Win Total: 5.5 (over -135, under +105)
All lines taken from 5Dimes on Aug 2. Always shop for the best line.
Baylor 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 7.8
Bet To Watch
Baylor Over 5.5 Wins (-135)
My love for Matt Rhule followed him from Temple down to Waco, but 2017 was the worst time to have any money on the Bears. Baylor played some of the most horrific football in FBS memory, accumulating 25 turnovers lost in an 1-11 season. What amazed me was that most of those turnovers happened in the opponents’ green zone, making it easy to put up points against the Bears.
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Entering 2018, the advanced stats give us a lot of reasons to like Baylor. Second-Order Win Total is a good indicator of what a team’s true record should have been, and Baylor notched one of the highest in FBS at 2.1. That means the Bears played more like a 3-9 team than a 1-11 squad.
The Bears are fourth overall in returning production this season. That includes Charlie Brewer, who stabilized the quarterback play during the last four games of 2017 (7.7 yards per attempt, 11-4 TD/INT ratio). We’re expecting big numbers in 2018 — he’s listed at 200-1 to win the Heisman.
And if you haven’t already heard, Tennessee transfer Jalen Hurd will be a big part of this offense. Hurd wants to catch passes, and Baylor is happy to give him that opportunity. He’s 300-1 to win the Heisman, but that he’s listed at all is notable.
The defense should also make big improvements this year. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow runs a “complicated and multiple” 3-4 scheme that could take a year to install. In his first year at Temple (2014), the Owls gave up 29.8 points per game. In 2015, the Owls allowed only 17.5 points per game. Similar improvement is expected in Year 2 of Baylor.
I posted an article earlier about the Baylor over 5.5, and I am still a believer. The schedule should begin with four straight wins before a trip to Oklahoma, which Baylor had on the ropes in 2017.
What else you need to know about Baylor
Baylor outgained Kansas State, West Virginia and Texas Tech in three losses last year. The Texas Tech game specifically stands out for the Red Raiders’ plus-3 turnover margin. While no Game of the Year line has been posted, look to back Baylor in a revenge spot.