It’s been quite a turnaround for Baylor after finishing with one win in 2017. Now, the Bears are tied with Oklahoma at the top of the Big 12 standings and have a reasonable shot to remain undefeated until that matchup in November. Their next test is Texas Tech, opening as -11 point home favorites with an over/under of 58.
Baylor’s win in this matchup last year kind of completed the turnaround as it got the Bears back to a bowl game. In the 35-24 win, they ran 15 more plays via Charlie Brewer and a consistent ground game.
Baylor already has two impressive wins on the slate against Iowa State and K State, while Texas Tech has been a bit harder to read. The Red Raiders couldn’t do anything in back-to-back losses to Arizona and Oklahoma, but then showed up in a big way last week, beating Oklahoma State 45-35.
While they didn’t go full Air Raid in that win, quarterback Jett Duffey was impressive in his first start, throwing for 424 yards and four touchdowns, while the ground game averaged 4.6 yards per carry.
Maybe better for the offense is that he adds an athletic element, at least more than Alan Bowman did. The other part to the offense is that the rushing attack is having more success, averaging 5.1 yards per carry as a team.
Armand Shyne, SaRodorick Thompson and Ta’Zhawn Henry all have at least 38 carries and 185 yards. Their ability to run the ball was key in the win against OK State even though Duffey made the headlines. The question is if they can keep it up because so far, inconsistency has been the main issue.
It also doesn’t help that Tech will be on the road against a viable defense that’s allowing 106.6 rushing yards per contest. The Bears are undefeated because their defense contained both ISU and KSU.
To cover and have a chance at an upset, the Red Raiders will need to repeat what they did last game. The same goes for the defensive side because while their overall numbers don’t look great, they held OK State to seven points in the first half and a dominant rushing attack to just 3.9 yards per carry.
Repeating that effort on the road will be difficult, especially against a Baylor offense that has been slightly better at every level.
Charlie Brewer should be good to go and that’s all that matters. He’s completing 65.5% of his passes on 8.5 yards per attempt for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. Given the defenses he has faced the last two games, those are great numbers.
He and top receiver Denzel Mims have had great rapport resulting in 29 receptions, 438 yards and five touchdowns. The ground game has been just as good with John Lovett leading the way at 7.6 yards per carry.
As a team, they’re averaging a stout 5.8 ypc which is a number not many in the country hold.
There were some doubts about Baylor after barely beating Rice, but those are no longer. Prior to last week, not many would’ve backed them to win by double digits and then they won 31-12 at Kansas State. They clearly have the ability to win big and doing so in this game will likely fall to what the defense can do against Duffey and company.
The Red Raiders have failed to cover in their last four road games and are 1-5 ATS in their last six on grass.
The Bears have covered in their last five against a team with a winning record. The over is 7-2 in the last nine meetings between these schools and the favorite is 13-6 ATS in the last 19.
Our Pick – Baylor -10