2022 BIG 12 Football Conference Season Preview & Best Bets: Baylor claw their way to the top

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Jason Radowitz

NCAAF · 2 weeks ago

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Sports handicapper, video analyst and college football contributor for Pickswise.

The BIG 12 isn’t going to look the same in a couple of years with many colleges changing conferences. But for those who don’t exactly like change, you’ve got another full year of normal BIG 12 Football.

On July 7, the 2022 BIG 12 preseason poll was released. Baylor earned first place with 365 points after getting 17 first-place votes. Oklahoma came in second with 354 points and 12 first-place votes. In third was Oklahoma State, as they added nine first-place votes and 342 points.

Most believe it’ll be those three teams fighting it out for the BIG 12 Championship. Last season, Baylor held off Oklahoma in a 21-16 win for the 2021 Big 12 Championship. Will history repeat itself? Here’s our season preview for the BIG 12, which includes our best bets.

Read our College Football National Championship preview, including a +8000 longshot

Big 12 winner odds

Although Baylor received the most votes in the 2022 BIG 12 Preseason Poll, Oklahoma (+200), Texas (+280), and Oklahoma State (+550) have higher odds via DraftKings than Baylor (+650).

In the bottom portion of the league, DraftKings has TCU and Kansas State at +1200 odds to win the BIG 12. Meanwhile, Iowa State is sitting at +1600. After that, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Kansas have odds of +3000 or higher to win the BIG 12.

Oklahoma lost head coach Lincoln Riley to USC and hired former associate head coach of the Clemson Tigers, Brent Venables, for the head coaching position this season. This is Venables’ first head coaching job in college football. While his team looks great on paper, we’re going to have to see how Venables does with more responsibilities in a new university.

Oklahoma’s roster deserves recognition, but Texas at +280 doesn’t. In Steve Sarkisian’s first season as head coach with Texas, the Longhorns went 5-7 and didn’t even make a bowl game. The signing of Arch Manning will help Texas in the future, but it won’t be this season.

Again, Oklahoma State and Baylor should probably be ahead of Texas with their odds to win the BIG 12 to start the season.

BIG 12 best bet: Baylor Bears +650

The Baylor Bears are looking to repeat in the BIG 12 this season. Under head coach Dave Aranda, the Baylor Bears quickly climbed up the rankings in the BIG 12 and won the conference championship in his second year as head coach.

Former starting quarterback, Gerry Bohanon, left Baylor for South Florida after he had lost the starting job this season to Blake Shapen. Shapen played in the biggest games for Baylor while Bohanon was injured through the final games of the season.

Baylor also lost their top three receivers from last season. But that just leaves an opportunity for other receivers to get their chance. The pass protection was spectacular last season and that shouldn’t change this year with Connor Galvin and Jacob Gall still sticking around.

The offense isn’t going to put up a ton of points, but that isn’t how Baylor plays anyway. They’re a defensive-minded team with Aranda. Baylor, like most teams, lost a lot of talent on the defensive end but as long as the new guys continue to follow the game plans, Baylor will be completely fine defensively. Aranda is all about takeaways and Baylor was one of the best teams in the country at doing it. Plus, the pass rush is always outstanding, with so many different blitzes to keep offensives off-balanced. I love Baylor at +650.

Get our Heisman Trophy best bets for the upcoming season

BIG 12 longshot bet: Iowa State Cyclones +1600

Are we just going to forget about the 2020 Iowa State Cyclones? The Cyclones didn’t perform up to expectations last season but they’re led by head coach Matt Campbell, who probably could’ve gone elsewhere than stay at Iowa State. He believes in his team and has a ton of passion for his team. He doesn’t go unnoticed.

Brock Purdy’s gone at quarterback and Breece Hall isn’t going to be around at running back. But that might be a good thing. We get to watch Hunter Dekkers, who has studied behind Purdy for two seasons before getting a crack at starting.

Those quarterbacks that study behind veterans for multiple years are usually more ready than a freshman playing in his first season. Dekkers still has Xavier Hutchinson, who added 83 catches last year. They’ll get some production out of this offense.

On the defensive end, there’s a ton of doubt from the public. Iowa State lost a whole bunch of prospects coming into this season. But this team is built for defense. Defense is this team’s identity. They’ve got great coaches on that side of the ball and should be able to get the defense rocking again this year.

I’m not going to lose all hope in Iowa State. At +1600, there’s plenty of value here as a longshot.

Read our Pac-12 conference preview, which includes a couple of best bets

At Pickswise we offer free expert College Football Picks and College Football Predictions for all games in the Power Five conferences and the top 25 teams outside of Power five, including our College Football Parlay picks each week.

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