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Vegas odds for the Big 12 Championship in 2021

I regularly get these odds emailed to me, which are generally pretty interesting. Vegas is still the standard for handicapping future outcomes as they are the most heavily incentivized to do it well.

Here’s how they have the Big 12 right now:

Big 12 – Odds to Win Conference
Oklahoma 5/7
Texas 11/4
Iowa State 7/2
Oklahoma State 10/1
TCU 14/1
West Virginia 22/1
Kansas State 28/1
Baylor 50/1
Texas Tech 50/1
Kansas 150/1

Some thoughts from me, who just power ranked the teams in the league after summarizing the state of each program after spring practices.

Big 12 spring check ins

Check them all out here! And take this listing as a sort of power ranking. Oklahoma Sooners TCU Horned Frogs Iowa State Cyclones Texas Longhorns Kansas State Wildcats Oklahoma State Cowboys West Virginia Mountaineers Texas Tech Red Raiders Baylor Bears Kansas Jayhawks
-Oklahoma is an easy favorite

They’ve won it six times in a row and look potentially improved from a year ago as a result of returning their starting quarterback for the first time since 2018 and getting their defense fixed up with Alex Grinch.

-The ranking of Texas here relates to talent

I had Texas behind Iowa State and TCU in my power ranking but they have a larger beta and higher upside than either of those two teams because of the sheer talent level.

TCU actually has a fair amount of talent, more than you’d think from Vegas’ handicapping here, but it’s hard to beat Texas for sheer number of players with NFL measurables unless you’re Oklahoma. I know the common refrain from many Big 12 readers will be, “so what? This is always true of Texas but they always waste the talent!”

Yes, yes they do. But will they always? Probably not. Will it change in 2021? Vegas doesn’t want to give you too easy of a chance by betting yes.

As I’ve said (though perhaps not in anything published outside of, if you tell me Texas won the Big 12 in 2021 I’ll respond, “Hudson Card must have had one heck of a year.” This is possible though, very possible. It’s also possible Casey Thompson will hold him off for some period of time, maybe the whole season (I very much doubt either) or 200-ish pound Card gets injured playing behind an offensive line which won’t specialize in pass protection. There’s a lot which can go right for Texas and a lot which can go wrong. If you assume a hot/cold performance at quarterback, great Bijan season, and strong defense you end up with a team which hovers right around the edge of making the Big 12 title game.

It’ll probably be hard to find seasons in the future where Oklahoma and Texas aren’t the two most likely teams to win the title in the preseason.

-TCU is the value bet

People aren’t eager to give away their hard-earned cash betting on Max Duggan and the TCU offense to propel the Frogs to the Big 12 title game and then to victory. I understand.

The Frogs have one of the best space force units in the league though, which is where your upside comes from, and the infrastructure has been taking lumps for years culminating in this upcoming season when they’ll finally have experience at quarterback and offensive line. People don’t want to bet on Gary Patterson defeating Oklahoma for the first time, which he’d almost surely have to do in order for the Frogs to capture the Big 12 title, but because of this hesitation the value is good.

-There’s real nuance in Kansas State being below West Virginia and Oklahoma State

Man are the Wildcats always underrated. You can bet on K-State on the cheap every year.

Here’s the trick though, if you were betting on order of finish I think this would be a fantastic bet. The chances of K-State finishing below all the teams with better odds is pretty bad, imo. However, can the best likely version of the 2021 Wildcats win the Big 12 Championship? I dunno, that’s a different question.

Doing so would probably require beating Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma and Chris Klieman is technically undefeated in that matchup, but K-State’s lack of top line talent means while they may overachieve their preseason ranking it’ll be a struggle to breakthrough to the top.

I think you’d like to see some portal additions to the Wildcats to make this bet and then also get some assurances of Skylar Thompson’s readiness and whether Felix Anudike or Khalid Duke are ready to make a big leap in rushing the edge.

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