All those who dawn burnt orange on college football Saturdays are dying that this is finally the year they can proclaim, “Texas is back!” And there is some reason to believe that for once, as the Longhorns are the second favorites to win the Big 12 conference behind, you guessed it, Oklahoma.
But is the hype around Texas overblown, and can the Longhorns live up to lofty expectations? Plus, with all the turnover in Norman surrounding a new head coach and quarterback, is there value in a dark horse contender in the Big 12? Of course, you can't forget about the defending conference champs in Baylor, either.
Here’s our 2022 Big Ten college football betting preview.
Big 12 odds 2022
|Team||Odds||Win total O/U|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of August 12, 2022.
Favorites to win the Big 12 in 2022
Not many programs can watch the head coach abruptly bolt for another job, then watch several key players transfer out and still be the favorites to win the conference. But that’s precisely the case with Oklahoma.
Lincoln Riley left the Sooners high-and-dry for the sunny skies and top job at USC, only to be followed by starting quarterback Caleb Williams. Enter long-time Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who gets his first head coaching gig. His enthusiasm and energy have already rejuvenated a program that felt wronged by Riley.
Venables quickly went to work hiring Jeff Lebby away from Mississippi. Why is this a big move? He also got Lebby’s quarterback from his time at UCF – Dillon Gabriel. The senior QB totaled 8,038 yards, with 70 touchdowns to just 14 interceptions during his time at UCF. That should play well in the high-octane Big 12.
And it’s not like Riley left the cupboards bare in Norman. There is a lot of talent left on this roster, the recruiting class is solid, and Venables did a good job in the transfer portal. If he can mesh it all together, Oklahoma can return to the top of the Big 12 after a one-year absence.
If you are here to see if I’ll say, “Texas is back,” hold your horses, or Longhorns.
The hype around this team might be a little much heading into the 2022 campaign. Can this team win the Big 12 if some things fall their way? Yes, but should they have the second-best odds to win the conference at +280? I’m not so sure.
Remember, this team had a lot of issues last season. Things fell apart after blowing a 21-point lead to Oklahoma, which turned into a six-game losing streak that included a loss to Kansas at home.
The defense was a big part of that problem. The unit ranked 99th in scoring defense and 101st in defensive efficiency and returns just four starters this season. Significant improvements on that side of the ball are needed if they want to make a real run at the conference title. On top of that, consistent play at quarterback and the offensive line are a must.
That said, if things click for QB Quinn Ewers, watch out. This could be one of the better offenses in the Big 12 and the entire country. That’s because the Longhorns also might currently have the most electrifying college football player in running back Bijan Robinson. But he can't do it on his own.
Oklahoma State (+550)
It’s a little puzzling to see the Pokes as the third favorite to win the Big 12 this season. Yes, they basically came within a yard of being conference champs last year and had an impressive comeback win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. However, his team is dealing with a lot of turnover, and several questions need to be answered heading into this season.
Oklahoma State had several impressive wins last season. Still, those dubs were fueled by a defense that ranked fifth nationally in total yards and ninth in scoring, surrendering just 18.1 points per game in what is notably a high-scoring conference.
Now, the Cowboys not only have to replace seven starters on that defense but the mastermind behind it, as defensive coordinator Jim Knowles left for the same job at Ohio State.
Even though returning quarterback Spencer Sanders received a lot of praise last season from the avid college football observer, his play leaves something to be desired. Sanders completed 62% of his passes with just 7.2 yards per attempt and also threw 12 interceptions to go along with his 20 touchdowns.
If you have faith Sanders can be better this season without his top receiver and running back, then you might like Ok-State’s chances a little more. Personally, I am approaching this young team with a little more caution.
Not Texas. Not Oklahoma. Not Oklahoma State. But it’s Baylor who is the defending Big 12 Champion. So, it’s a little funny to see the Bears with the fourth-best odds to win the conference.
That is probably because starter quarterback Gerry Bohanon left via the transfer portal. They also lost some key pieces of their elite defense to the NFL Draft, including safety Jalen Pitre.
However, Bohanon entered the transfer portal because he lost his job during spring camp to sophomore Blake Shapen, who has the potential to be an upgrade at the position. More importantly, this is the deepest and arguably most talented team in the Big 12 in the trenches. The offensive line returns four starters and the defensive line will be a force, led by All-Big 12 nose tackle Siaki Ika.
If Sharpen can bring together this offense and some playmakers step up, there is no reason to think this team can’t defend its Big 12 title. For my money, they're the biggest threat to Oklahoma to do so.
Sleeper to win the Big 12 in 2022
Kansas State (+1,200)
At +1,200 to win the Big 12, the Kansas State Wildcats stick out like a sore thumb. Head coach Chris Klieman enters his fourth year in the Little Apple with two 8-win seasons and bowl victories under his belt.
Now he wants to start competing for conference titles, and he’s got game changers on both sides of the ball to lead them there.
On offense, it all starts with running back Deuce Vaughn. While Texas’ Bijan Robinson gets all the hype when it comes to Big 12 running backs, the gap between him and Vaughn is not that big. Vaughn totaled nearly 1,900 yards last season with 22 touchdowns.
On defense, star defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah might be the best pass rusher in the Big 12 and leads a strong defensive front.
Whether or not the Wildcats can win the Big 12 all comes down to if transfer quarterback Adrian Martinez can meld with Klieman’s offense and tap his full potential. This also means limiting the turnovers, which was a big problem at Nebraska.
But if he can figure it out and they find some playmakers in the secondary, with Vaughn leading the way, the Wildcats will be a dangerous team.
Pick to win the Big 12: Oklahoma (+200)
It’s really tempting to go with Baylor to repeat at their current odds or go with our sleeper pick Kansas State. But in the end, despite all the staff and roster turnover, Oklahoma still has the most talented team in the Big 12.
Even though there will be some growing pains with that much change, it’s hard to see more than a couple of slip-ups on this schedule. Expect the Sooners to be back in the Big 12 Championship Game, where you certainly won’t get them at +200 on the moneyline in that contest.
Big 12 2022 best bets
Best ATS bet: Texas (Fade)
The hype around Texas is massive heading into this season, and bettors will have a chance to take advantage of that.
If things fall the right way for Steve Sarkisian in his second year, the Longhorns could have one of the most dangerous offenses in college football. But it feels like the potential is there for Texas year after year, and it just hasn’t paid off as those in Austin would have hoped.
Texas had double-digit leads against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor last year. They couldn’t hold on to the lead in any of those games, thanks to a defense that couldn’t get stops when they needed them.
The defense struggled everywhere. The Longhorns surrendered 31.3 points per game, gave up over 200 yards on the ground, and ranked 102nd in defensive explosiveness. While Sark has brought in a staff to address those issues, the personnel may not be there yet.
Giving up big plays and points usually doesn’t equate to covering spreads. Particularly spreads that could be inflated because a very publicly backed team is getting so much hype.
Best Over/Under bet: TCU (Overs)
It’s hard to believe the Gary Patterson era at TCU has ended after 21 seasons, but many around the program felt it was time for a change in Fort Worth. In comes Sonny Dykes from SMU to take over the Horned Frogs, a team that could be in a bunch of classic Big 12 shootouts this season.
While Patterson is out, quarterback Max Duggan and his big arm return, and he should thrive in Dykes’ Air Raid offense. Also coming back are his top three wideouts in Quentin Johnson, Taye Barber, and Derius Davis. And even though top back Zach Evans transferred to Mississippi, his backup Kendre Miller and his 7.5 yards per carry are set to carry the load for the Horned Frogs backfield.
This offense should be able to put up some points, but the real reason to love TCU as an Over bet is a defense that fell off a cliff in 2021. Dykes has already made some good moves to fix this unit. Still, it’s hard to see how much this defense will be anything special in 2022, as they ranked 118th in scoring, 119th in total defense, 116th in defensive efficiency, and 128th in defensive explosiveness last season.
This Horned Frogs team should have us jumping for Overs in 2022.
Best win total bet: Kansas State Over 6.5
It’s no surprise our sleeper team is also our favorite win total bet. Kansas State has been pegged with a win total of 6.5, and that number looks nearly a whole win too low.
Facing South Dakota, Missouri, and Tulane to begin the season, the Wildcats should be 3-0 heading into their matchup in Norman against Oklahoma.
K-State should also have a sizeable edge in three more conference games. This means they should need just one win among their remaining five toss-up games to surpass this number.
This team is strong in the trenches, and with Deuce Vaughn running wild, seven wins looks like the floor. If Klieman can cut down Adrian Martinez’s turnovers, eight to nine wins are definitely on the table.
Best 2022 Big 12 props
Bijan Robison to win the Heisman Trophy (+4,000)
Bijan Robinson can make a case for being the best player in college football and is one of the most exciting college running back to watch since Reggie Bush. He was among the betting favorites to win the Heisman Trophy in 2021 and rushed for over 100 in six of his first seven games before his season was cut short due to injury.
However, Robinson still managed 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns while also hailing in 26 passes for another 295 yards and four scores. The offensive line should be strong once again, and if Texas can get a little more consistent play from the QB position, it could open things up for Robinson even more.
A huge season could be on tap.
Baylor more regular season wins than Michigan State (-120)
This is a fun prop. Some analysts expect regression from Baylor this season, but as noted, this team will be one of the better teams in the trenches in the Big 12.
On top of that, the schedule plays out pretty well for the Bears. Baylor has a chance to be 7-1 or even 8-0 heading into a matchup against Oklahoma. The schedule is tough down the stretch, but they should be on a path to nine wins or more.
On the other hand, Michigan State has a brutal three-week stretch in the middle of their season where they host Ohio State and Wisconsin, then visit rival Michigan. Trips to Washington and Penn State won’t be easy, while Minnesota won’t be a cakewalk. There are far more question marks on the Spartans' schedule.
Big 12 2022 Stat to know
Oklahoma had won six straight Big 12 conference championships, including four consecutive conference title games before last season.
Big 12 2022 Preview FAQs
Oklahoma is the odds-on favorite to win the Big 12 in 2022, followed by Texas and Oklahoma State.
Baylor won the 2021 Big 12 Championship Game, beating Oklahoma State 21-16.
Oklahoma has dominated the conference with 14 Big 12 championships, followed by Baylor and Texas with three.