Texas Football Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Bet the Longhorns as Big 12 Days Wind Down
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Roschon Johnson.
The time is coming when Texas and the Big 12 will no longer be synonymous. The Longhorns and fellow Big 12 competitor Oklahoma are set to leave the conference in favor of the SEC beginning in 2025.
But until then, we can break down Texas’ typical Big 12 schedule full of history and rivalries.
Collin Wilson does just that below and shares his favorite bet for the Longhorns’ season up to this point.
Texas Longhorns Odds & Analysis
Which part of past Texas football is an actionable item in 2021? That’s the great mystery of the offseason as Steve Sarkisian takes over as head coach with an excellent hire of Pete Kwiatkowski as defensive coordinator.
The latest Alamo Bowl showed the type of talent the Longhorns have on the roster. Casey Thompson was electric at quarterback with four touchdowns, as Bijan Robinson emulated a Tecmo Super Bowl game with 183 yards on just 10 carries.
Two plays for Texas' Bijan Robinson's second TD 🔥 pic.twitter.com/wwnRePHkWL
— ESPN (@espn) December 30, 2020
Talent has never been the question at Texas, but plenty of other factors played a part at the end of the Tom Herman era. Player development was called out by recruits, boosters wanted Urban Meyer, and Herman’s coaching style was high on emotions.
Herman, now an analyst with the Chicago Bears, was known for straight-up wins as an underdog and straight-up losses as a favorite.
The Longhorns consistently started each season with numerous injuries, a result of over-demanding physical practices. There’s no question that establishing a new culture is the mission objective for Sarkisian, who has been kind to the bankroll of investors.
The Longhorns will look to replicate the 2020 offensive success of Alabama whether Thompson or Hudson Card is under center.
Defensively, the hiring of Kwiatkowski is similar to that of Grinch at Oklahoma from three years prior. Texas will throw multiple looks from three- and four-down defenses, as Kwiatkowski is known for having two nose tackles on the line during the same play.
One silent hire by Sarkisian is that of Terry Joseph as the defensive passing game coordinator, who will dictate coverage. Formerly of Notre Dame, Joseph’s pass defense was on full display in a cover against Sark’s Crimson Tide offense in the College Football Playoff semifinal. Those concepts that kept Alabama within the spread and led the Irish to a complete shutdown of North Carolina now reside in Austin.
Texas returns just 53% per transfer portal and returning players, but the key metric is Finishing Drives. The Longhorns were 13th in Points Per Opportunity and 22nd in Havoc allowed on offense. Sark will look to retain those numbers while amping up the Success Rate.
The defense finished top-25 in Havoc, but a Success Rate of 71st is the first order of business against a pass-happy Big 12.
There’s plenty of room for optimism in Austin, as a case could be made that the floor is six wins and a bowl versus a ceiling of College Football Playoff and a dark horse Heisman contender in Thompson.
A win total set at 7.7 is just short of the market at 8. The true odds on a conference title are 9-1, where most of the market resides. While a Thompson 100-1 would be needed to get my Heisman attention, the real value may lie in a season opener against Louisiana.
Our Action Network power ratings project the Longhorns at -10 with a current number at -9.5. This number opened widely at -16.5 and has taken nothing but Ragin’ Cajuns money.
With the highest number of returning experience coming back to Lafayette, Billy Napier’s squad is sure to be the underdog on everyone’s betting ticket.
Personally, this may be the last time to get Texas at value before we see the Sark and Kwiatkowski plan. I’ll be monitoring the Week 1 line for a further drop to buy into the Longhorns program.