Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Odds, Picks: Bet the Underdog In High-Stakes Big 12 Battle
Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Isreal Isuman-Hundley & Spencer Sanders (Oklahoma State)
- Oklahoma State hits the road to go to Waco on Saturday to take on the Baylor Bears in an important Big 12 showdown.
- The Bears enter as short underdogs, but we see betting value on the road favorites in this one.
- Check out Mike McNamara's full betting guide and pick for Oklahoma State vs. Baylor below.
Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Odds
This Saturday's matchup between Oklahoma State and Baylor is big for a number of different reasons, yet it feels like it's flying a little bit under the radar on the national level.
That certainly won't be the case in Waco however, as the Baylor faithful will be out in large numbers for the Bears' Big 12 home opener.
This is a matchup of last year's Big 12 Championship game, which was literally decided by a couple of inches. Oklahoma State running back Dezmon Jackson came up just short of the pylon on fourth down, allowing Baylor to claim the conference title.
The Cowboys have certainly not forgotten about just how close they were a year ago, and revenge will be on their minds as they hit the road for the first time this season.
Both teams look different from 2021, but many key playmakers on both sides of the ball have returned.
Oklahoma State has opened the year vastly different than it did a season ago on the offensive side of the ball.
Injuries really hit the Pokes' offense last season, to the point where Mike Gundy had to play walk-ons at receiver for a couple of early games. The Cowboys' defense kept the team afloat, and as the offense got healthier, it improved.
Spencer Sanders and company have come out of the gates hot in 2022. The senior from Denton, TX is playing the best football of his life, and has grasped complete control of the offense.
Sanders has thrown for over 900 yards and 10 touchdowns in just three games, and has also found the end zone three times with his legs.
Turnovers have often plagued him in prior seasons, but with an improved offensive line, Sanders looks a lot more comfortable in the pocket and is making better decisions.
Wide receiver Braydon Johnson is also back after missing all of last year due to injury, and Brennan Presley and John Paul Richardson have emerged as two other very reliable targets.
It's not easy to replace the likes of Malcolm Rodriguez, Tanner McCalister and Kolby Harvell-Peel from a defense that was top-five in the country a year ago.
Toss in the fact that defensive coordinator Jim Knowles took the cash and left for Ohio State, and there were many questions as to what this defensive unit would look like in 2022.
Fortunately for the Pokes, Gundy made a really good hire in bringing in former Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason to run the defense.
The Cowboys also returned a loaded defensive line group led by Brock Martin and Collin Oliver.
As a result, OSU should remain stout against the run this year, and should be able to generate plenty of pass rush with the defensive ends on its roster.
If there is a weakness on this defense, it would be in the secondary, where the Cowboys lost a ton of talent to the pros and transfer portal.
Jason Taylor II is an experienced returnee, and Jabbar Muhammad has stepped into one of the starting cornerback slots.
It's still unknown whether or not this group can hold up against an Air Raid offense, but Blake Shapen and Baylor don't throw it deep all that much.
Speaking of Shapen, the sophomore won the starting quarterback job in the offseason after taking over for Gerry Bohanon late last year. Shapen struggled a little bit in the Bears' road loss to BYU in Week 2, but he responded very nicely last week in Ames.
Jeff Grimes is an elite offensive coordinator and has done a really good job in his first two seasons in Waco.
Last week, in the victory over Iowa State, Grimes used a heavy dose of play action, which allowed Shapen to connect with Gavin Holmes and Hal Presley down the field.
In what should be a physical game Saturday, I think the Bears will really miss the running back duo of Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner from a year ago. Both backs were elite at the point of contact, and Richard Reese is still a bit of a work in progress.
Dave Aranda is an elite defensive mind, and it has shown thus far in his tenure as the head man. Baylor lost plenty of pros from last year's roster, but this group is still really good, particularly in the trenches.
Baylor enters this one ranked fifth nationally in Defensive Rush Success, and Siaki Ika is a big reason for that. The junior is a stalwart at nose tackle and can clog the middle with the best of them.
Expect Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn to look to counter this with a heavy dosage of passes early in the game, knowing that's where the Bears' defense could be a bit more vulnerable.
Lastly, a huge key for this defense will be whether or not it can contain Sanders' scrambling ability when things break down. Sanders was not able to use his legs all that much when the teams met last December, but he will definitely look to run it when he can on Saturday.
Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Oklahoma State and Baylor match up statistically:
Oklahoma State Offense vs. Baylor Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Baylor Offense vs. Oklahoma State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||5||80|
|Seconds per Play||20.5 (3)||27.1 (78)|
|Rush Rate||47.3% (102)||61.2% (21)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Betting Pick
Going back to the offseason, I've been higher on Oklahoma State than the market. The Pokes were my preseason pick to win the Big 12, and last week, I wrote on why I believe there is value on this team at 100/1 for a national title future.
There is no doubt this will be one of the most difficult games for Oklahoma State all season — against a good Baylor team in a hostile environment.
It's worth noting that Gundy and his staff had two weeks to prepare for this game with the bye week. Meanwhile, Baylor had to play a really physical game against a stingy Iowa State group.
I am a firm believer in the improvement of the Cowboys' offense, and I expect the Pokes to be able to put up plenty of points in this one.
On the other side of the ball, I just don't see any big-play threats on the Baylor offense that will be able to take advantage of a youthful Cowboys secondary.
Give me Oklahoma State to head to Waco and leave with a victory, getting a small piece of revenge from last year's Big 12 Championship in the process.