Vegas odds for the Big 12 Championship in 2021

Ian Boyd

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I regularly get these betonline.ag odds emailed to me, which are generally pretty interesting. Vegas is still the standard for handicapping future outcomes as they are the most heavily incentivized to do it well.

Here's how they have the Big 12 right now:

Big 12 - Odds to Win Conference
Oklahoma 5/7
Texas 11/4
Iowa State 7/2
Oklahoma State 10/1
TCU 14/1
West Virginia 22/1
Kansas State 28/1
Baylor 50/1
Texas Tech 50/1
Kansas 150/1


Some thoughts from me, who just power ranked the teams in the league after summarizing the state of each program after spring practices.


-Oklahoma is an easy favorite

They've won it six times in a row and look potentially improved from a year ago as a result of returning their starting quarterback for the first time since 2018 and getting their defense fixed up with Alex Grinch.

-The ranking of Texas here relates to talent

I had Texas behind Iowa State and TCU in my power ranking but they have a larger beta and higher upside than either of those two teams because of the sheer talent level.

TCU actually has a fair amount of talent, more than you'd think from Vegas' handicapping here, but it's hard to beat Texas for sheer number of players with NFL measurables unless you're Oklahoma. I know the common refrain from many Big 12 readers will be, "so what? This is always true of Texas but they always waste the talent!"

Yes, yes they do. But will they always? Probably not. Will it change in 2021? Vegas doesn't want to give you too easy of a chance by betting yes.

As I've said (though perhaps not in anything published outside of Twitter.com), if you tell me Texas won the Big 12 in 2021 I'll respond, "Hudson Card must have had one heck of a year." This is possible though, very possible. It's also possible Casey Thompson will hold him off for some period of time, maybe the whole season (I very much doubt either) or 200-ish pound Card gets injured playing behind an offensive line which won't specialize in pass protection. There's a lot which can go right for Texas and a lot which can go wrong. If you assume a hot/cold performance at quarterback, great Bijan season, and strong defense you end up with a team which hovers right around the edge of making the Big 12 title game.

It'll probably be hard to find seasons in the future where Oklahoma and Texas aren't the two most likely teams to win the title in the preseason.

-TCU is the value bet

People aren't eager to give away their hard-earned cash betting on Max Duggan and the TCU offense to propel the Frogs to the Big 12 title game and then to victory. I understand.

The Frogs have one of the best space force units in the league though, which is where your upside comes from, and the infrastructure has been taking lumps for years culminating in this upcoming season when they'll finally have experience at quarterback and offensive line. People don't want to bet on Gary Patterson defeating Oklahoma for the first time, which he'd almost surely have to do in order for the Frogs to capture the Big 12 title, but because of this hesitation the value is good.

-There's real nuance in Kansas State being below West Virginia and Oklahoma State

Man are the Wildcats always underrated. You can bet on K-State on the cheap every year.

Here's the trick though, if you were betting on order of finish I think this would be a fantastic bet. The chances of K-State finishing below all the teams with better odds is pretty bad, imo. However, can the best likely version of the 2021 Wildcats win the Big 12 Championship? I dunno, that's a different question.

Doing so would probably require beating Lincoln Riley's Oklahoma and Chris Klieman is technically undefeated in that matchup, but K-State's lack of top line talent means while they may overachieve their preseason ranking it'll be a struggle to breakthrough to the top.

I think you'd like to see some portal additions to the Wildcats to make this bet and then also get some assurances of Skylar Thompson's readiness and whether Felix Anudike or Khalid Duke are ready to make a big leap in rushing the edge.
 

Ian Boyd

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OU at .7 to 1 and
Texas at 2.75 to 1 and
ISU at 3.5 to 1.

That is interesting. Odds favor Texas by 20%+ vs ISU.
GDI why are we always so high on these lists
Texas often has more nfl athletes on the roster than these other teams.

Just look at last season where texas had what, 5 upcoming draft picks in the lineup? And nearly beat Iowa state but suit themselves in the foot, nearly beat TCU but shots themselves in the foot.

The sense in Vegas is texas is close and are about to start figuring it out. Also that the competition just isn’t there.
 

bHero

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Texas often has more nfl athletes on the roster than these other teams.

Just look at last season where texas had what, 5 upcoming draft picks in the lineup? And nearly beat Iowa state but suit themselves in the foot, nearly beat TCU but shots themselves in the foot.

The sense in Vegas is texas is close and are about to start figuring it out. Also that the competition just isn’t there.
I tend to agree with Vegas. The draft has proven that Texas has struggled the last several years developing talent. Texas Homer summarizes the draft impact a bit below. The obvious implication here is that if we can have consistent scheme year over year, on both sides of the ball, and better coaching and development, that wins will naturally rise as talent reaches it's potential.

On top of that, our OC is a QB coach, and our DC is an OLB. Those 2 positions are respectively the biggest question mark on each side of the ball (IMO), and each will be coached by guys who have long track records of making NFL players. Seems like a great fit to help answer our questions and maximize the roster.

 

Ian Boyd

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I tend to agree with Vegas. The draft has proven that Texas has struggled the last several years developing talent. Texas Homer summarizes the draft impact a bit below. The obvious implication here is that if we can have consistent scheme year over year, on both sides of the ball, and better coaching and development, that wins will naturally rise as talent reaches it's potential.

On top of that, our OC is a QB coach, and our DC is an OLB. Those 2 positions are respectively the biggest question mark on each side of the ball (IMO), and each will be coached by guys who have long track records of making NFL players. Seems like a great fit to help answer our questions and maximize the roster.

OC is technically an OL coach, which doesn't really hurt your argument.
 

bHero

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OC is technically an OL coach, which doesn't really hurt your argument.
Seems to help a bit, I was being dumb. The HC is a QB coach, the OC is an OL coach. Really does seem like we're got the right priorities working on this team for the first time in years. Herman loved to talk about alignment, but really he was just preaching consistency. Alignment is a loftier ideal that starts with the HC, filters to the staff and then the players. Herman's staff wasn't aligned with the roster or the league. Seems obvious looking back, but Herman compromised in several areas of his staff where Sark has found better fits. And if the staff isn't aligned that's 100% on the coach.

The only long-term concerns I have now is at WR and S coaches, just because WR has been a snakebit position and the coach is an unknown given the Covid year, and Gideon is relatively new (on his 6th year coaching, 3rd year P5). But they both come with strong endorsements, even if some see them as compromises.
 

ttaghorn

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Good read, but Vegas has a history of heavy following of a team, only to take everyone's money at the end of the year. They want you to bet the heavy favorite, just like all the other games in Vegas, they only take a small amount from all betters. I hope they are wrong about Texas. We will know just how good we will be around Oct. 15th.
 

Ian Boyd

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Good read, but Vegas has a history of heavy following of a team, only to take everyone's money at the end of the year. They want you to bet the heavy favorite, just like all the other games in Vegas, they only take a small amount from all betters. I hope they are wrong about Texas. We will know just how good we will be around Oct. 15th.
They're pretty high on Texas, in my estimation.
 
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