Texas vs. Baylor Betting Odds & Pick: Back the Bears After Long Break (Saturday, Oct. 24)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: John Lovett.
Texas vs. Baylor Odds
|Texas Odds||-10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Baylor Odds||+10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-420/+310 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||61.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
The Texas Longhorns had two weeks to try and stomach their quadruple overtime loss to rival Oklahoma. Starting off 2-2 is not what coach Tom Herman had in mind heading into the season, but the Longhorns must refocus because the Big 12 is wide open at the moment. They’ll try to rise above .500 as they host in-state rival Baylor on Saturday.
The Baylor Bears now have had three games postponed due to COVID-19. It’s been 21 days since their last game against West Virginia, so coach Dave Aranda has had plenty of time to prepare for Texas, but the 1-1 Bears will need to shake off plenty of rust, too.
The biggest piece of the Bears’ offense returned for the 2020 season, as Charlie Brewer’s back at the helm of the offense. Brewer had a phenomenal 2019, throwing for 8.1 yards per attempt and 21 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. In his two starts this season, he hasn’t been very efficient, throwing for only 6.0 yards per attempt, including two picks against West Virginia.
Baylor returns three starters on the offensive line that allowed the most sacks in the Big 12 last year. The Bears also lost their top two receivers in Denzel Mims and Jalen Hurd the year prior.
Brewer hasn’t had a stable receiving corps to throw to this season, but that shouldn’t be an issue against the Longhorns’ horrific pass defense.
The backfield is by far the deepest position Baylor has. John Lovett appears to be the feature back in 2020. Lovett posted an impressive 2019, carrying the ball at a crazy 6.4 yards per carry, which led Baylor to a rank of 26th in rushing success rate. With inexperience at the receiver position, I expect Baylor to focus more on the ground game Saturday.
Aranda has a major rebuilding project on defense. The Bears lost 73% of their defensive production last year, including All-Americans James Lynch at defensive end and Grayland Arnold at safety. They do, however, get back linebacker Terrel Bernard, who led the team with 112 tackles last year.
Other than Bernard, Baylor will have to replace starters at just about every position. So far, though, it’s been solid against both the run and the pass, allowing only 4.9 yards per pass attempt and 3.7 yards per carry.
Baylor’s defensive calling card in 2019 was limiting explosive plays, as it ranked inside the top 30 in both defensive passing and rushing explosiveness. Although they’ve had a lot of turnover, Aranda seems to have the Bears defense playing as they did in 2019.
The offense hasn’t been an issue for Texas this year. Sam Ehlinger has been putting the offense on his back this season, throwing for over 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns in the Longhorns’ first four games. The issue for Texas offensively is Ehlinger has had to do it all and isn’t getting much help.
So far this season, he’s its leading rusher, running for over 242 yards due to Texas rolling with a committee in its backfield.
Ehlinger also had to deal with losing his top targets — Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson — to the NFL. He’s developed a nice connection with Joshua Moore and Jordan Whittington, who have stepped in nicely. However, Jordan Whittington is out for Saturday with a knee injury, which is a huge blow for the Longhorn offense.
Texas will once again have to play through Ehlinger to find success against Baylor.
Although Texas’ defense has given up a ton of yards and points, it’s actually been fairly efficient. The Longhorns are allowing only 3.7 yards per carry on the ground and 6.2 yards per pass attempt.
The reason their run defense has been stellar is because they boast an elite defensive line. With all four starters back, the Longhorns rank ninth in Defensive Line Yards and 14th in Stuff Rate, so they may force Baylor to throw the ball more than they want on Saturday.
Texas is loaded at the safety position with Caden Sterns and BJ Foster. However, Sterns is questionable to play against Baylor. Texas will also be down two linebackers on Saturday, so it will a little short-handed.
Betting Analysis & Pick
With over three weeks of rest and preparation, I think Baylor will come out firing on Saturday. With Texas down a couple of key players, I think Brewer and the Bears’ offense should find a way keep pace with Ehlinger.
Tom Herman has an incredible ATS record as an underdog, but his record as a home favorite isn’t great.
I only have Texas as -4.91 favorites, so I think there’s some value on Baylor to cover in Austin on Saturday.
Pick: Baylor +10.5 (down to +9)