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Baylor vs. Oklahoma State

Betting Line: Oklahoma State -8 o/u 73

11/6/10

The Big XII South is quite crowded. Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Oklahoma are all in with a shot to take the division. The Cowboys and Bears will meet on Saturday in a game where much is at stake. The winner will control their destiny going forward. Nobody expected either team to be in contention this late in the year. The team that stays in contention will be the one that makes the fewest amount of mistakes. Both offenses know how to get points on the board so we can expect a high scoring event. Oklahoma State will host this game as a rock solid 7 point favorite.

HC Art Briles has his Bears playing superbly in his third year on the job. Baylor knows what it feels like to be an underdog. They've played the role for many years, and they played it once again last week when they down Texas for the first time since 1997. The Longhorns were solidly favored at home, but Baylor gave them everything they wanted in a 30-22 win. QB Robert Griffin rushed for a TD and passed for 216 yards and 2 more TDs. He also broke the Baylor TD career number at 39, with 20 of the coming this year. He also has 7 rushing TDs this year. The sophomore is clearly a star in the making. His team will depend on his play to win, and he doesn't let them down very much. We can expect him to have a huge game against what is a very suspect Cowboys defense.

Junior Brandon Wulsen has been solid for the Cowboys, but he is INT prone. In his past 5 games he has thrown 7 INTs. On the year he has 2,567 yards and 23 TDs. If he slips up the Cowboys can get production from work horse RB Kendall Hall. The senior has carried the ball 189 times for 1,174 yards and 12 TDs. Perhaps his game of the year of the year came in a 51-41 loss to Nebraska. He had 201 yards and 2 TDs in that game. Justin Blacmon is the top WR for the Cowboys. The speedy sophomore has caught 62 passes for 1,112 yards and a whopping 14 TDs. There are many different ways for this team to score, and they will be rearing to go in front of an adoring home field crowd.

Neither team plays particularly well on defense, but Baylor is the better of the two. They do a good job of pressuring opposing QBs and they own 7 sacks in the past 3 games. They are allowing too many yards per game at an average of 390. Texas Tech lit them up for 635 yards, and TCU picked up 558 yards. They will have to mix things up in the secondary and force Wulsen into bad passes. Oklahoma State is such a powerful offensive team that the Bears can only hope to contain them, not stop them. 

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They say the best defense is a good offense, and that must be what HC Mike Gundy is thinking. His Cowboys defense is downright putrid. They are giving up 406 yards per game on average. They have had some success against the run, but just about every team they have played lit them up through the air. The Bears can run and pass so this defense will have its hands full. If the Cowboys hope to win it is pivotal that they come up with 2-3 big stops on defense. The same goes for the Baylor defense. The defense that can get key stops will bolster their team to victory.

Poor old Baylor. They just can't get any respect. They are 7-2 on the year, they just came off a win over a team that has always whipped them in Texas, and yet here they are a sizeable 7.5 to 8 point underdog once again. Now, sure, the schedule Baylor has played thus far hasn't exactly been the strongest. We all know something is wrong with Texas, and hey, Baylor was blown away 45-10 when they faced TCU, but some credit needs to be given here.

7-2 is 7-2 any way you slice it. You have to be "good" to be 7-2 in a college football season. Other than the TCU game, this team has risen to the occasion week after week. They needed the offense to step up and go toe to toe with Kansas State and they did just that winning 47-42. They needed both sides of the ball to come up big last week in Texas and once again, they did.

Oklahoma State is certainly no pushover at 7-1, and they did manage to hang 41 points on Nebraska in a losing effort, but their schedule is also nothing to write home about. There is nothing in the performance of these two teams that would suggest that Baylor can't compete here, and even win straight up. They can go toe to toe in an offensive shootout and, unlike Okie State, can play a little defense as well.

The biggest worry we have here is a hangover effect. A let down after a huge win over Texas. Perhaps a little complacency after already accomplishing their goal of qualifying for a Bowl Game. But hey, Baylor sits on top of the Big 12 South division standings folks. That doesn't happen very often. All involved realize that something special could be brewing. Do you believe in destiny? We do. Baylor +8

 

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