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Pick with Analysis
Both of these teams are reeling coming off two straight, very tough losses. Baylor was on the edge of the Top 25 before losing to West Virginia 70-63 and TCU last weekend in a very disappointing effort at home. Texas is no longer ranked either (in Coaches/AP polls) after a 48-45 loss to West Virginia and their most recent crumbling against Oklahoma. After looking at those games, it's almost like their offense got tired against West Virginia because they scored so much and couldn't get things going in the next game. They each scored 21 points in the game following their battle with the Mountaineers.
Texas still finds themselves as sizable favorites in their third straight Big 12 home game. When they faced off last year, Baylor's offense was outgained in the yardage department, but was still able to win 48-24 covering as 1.5-point favorites. That made it the second straight win for Baylor in this meeting after Texas had a handle in the series throughout the last decade. This should be a very high scoring game as each team has quality offenses with terrible defenses. Baylor scores 47.6 points per game while giving up 41.6. Texas is in the same line scoring 42.5 points per game and allowing 32.5.
The Longhorns attack is led by quarterback David Ash. In six games he has 1,389 yards, 11 TDs, three INTs and a completion percentage close to 72 percent. Those are great numbers, but he only managed 113 yards on 44.8% passing for zero touchdowns and two interceptions against the Sooners. Things will be much easier for him against the Bears. In last year's game, Texas's downfall was Case McCoy's four interceptions. That won't be the case this weekend as Ash takes better care of the ball. Ash's main targets are wide receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley who have combined for 47 receptions, 605 yards and seven touchdowns. Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray will split carries out of the backfield with Malcolm Brown still out with an ankle injury. Bergeron is the TD hawk with nine on the season. Those two finished with only 17 yards on 12 carries against Oklahoma.
Baylor's offense will hope to get back on track after getting beat up by the Horned Frogs. Nick Florence has great numbers this year like Ash, but his four interceptions against TCU was one of the main reasons they lost that game. Through five games Florence has managed 1,874 yards and 18 touchdowns. The problem lies in his nine interceptions which don't look good, as he may be too much of a gunslinger. Wide receiver Terrance Williams catches so many deep balls it's ridiculous. With just 37 receptions on the year, he already has 830 yards and eight TDs. That's 22.4 yards per catch for him. He and two other Bears WRs have TDs of at least 65 yards. Running back Jarred Salubi is having a good season with 357 yards and two TDs. He actually finished with 5.1 yards per carry against TCU, but wasn't used much because they were down big the entire second half.
The path to this game for both teams couldn't be any similar. They both lost shootouts to WVA and then both were outclassed their last time out. This is the time of year where you start to look ahead to see what teams need to do to become bowl eligible. The rest of the way for both of these teams is far from a cake walk, adding to the importance of this one.
You often see us refer to our college football model. It's simply a mathematical model that takes into account several important factors and spits out a predicted final score. We never rely solely on the model. The basis of our selections are methods we have used for close to 30 years and those methods work just as well today as they did 30 years ago. The model is something we have been using for only the last 7 years and it's only been the last 4 years where we have really refined the model. Make no mistake, the model can be deadly accurate. We certainly pay attention to it and while we won't make a play solely on the model, we WILL get off a play when the model differs significantly from our tried and true methods.
A significant difference between our model and other methods is what we have here. The foundation of our approach, the methods we have used for decades tell us that this game between Baylor and Texas has all the makings of a back and forth, wild affair where the last team with the ball likely comes out on top. That would have us on Baylor plus the very generous spot of +11. The model sees a similar type game, only it has Texas pulling away and eventually winning by anywhere from 22 to 27 points.
When you factor in the double revenge motive for Texas, never having lost 3 straight to Baylor and coming off a humiliating, national TV home loss to rival Oklahoma, we lean towards the models prediction. For now, we'll call this one a weak opinion as a result of the line move. You could have had -9.5 earlier in the week and it would have to drop down to the other side of -10 before we'd consider this one as a real play. So for now, an opinion only, Texas -11.
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