One of the things I like to do before a season starts is look up prop bets for my teams. Not because I bet, but because it’s a good indication of what Vegas thinks is going to happen and what people will think will happen. And they have brilliant mathematicians with all their algorithms and such.
Well, when you’re a team that finishes in the bottom half of the Big 12, you don’t get prop bets. All you get is National Championship odds (1000/1), Big 12 championship odds (30/1), and Heisman odds (Alan Bowman, 80/1). So how am I supposed to know what are the prop bets for the win total, or rushing leader, or turnover margin?
Luckily, myself and Kyle Jacobson have been paid enough attention to sports gambling to determine what some of these odds might be. So today, we’re going to list the odds we’ve created and pick what side we would bet.
How we’re going to do this is I’m going to list a number for each prop bet, and you have to guess if we’re going to go over or under that mark (otherwise known as O/U). For example, if I say the sack total is 25.5, you have to guess if Tech will have less then (under) or more than (over) 25.5 sacks. Makes sense? Alright, let’s begin:
O/U 4250.5 yards for leading passer:
Kyle – UNDER: I’ve got a few reasons for going under here. First is Alan Bowman’s health. Obviously I really hope he doesn’t get injured this season, but even if he plays the full schedule, 4,250 yards is no joke. If he misses a game or two it becomes that much more difficult.
Second, I think Yost will emphasize running the ball more than Kingsbury did, so that may cut into the total passing yards. Third, I’m not sure who the go-to wide receiver is on this year’s team. Granted, we weren’t sure who that would be last season and Antoine Wesley emerged big time. I hope that happens again this year, but without knowing who that breakout receiver is, I’ll take the under.
Mike – OVER: I know that Matt Wells attack will be more balanced than what we’re used too. But if you look at his teams at Utah State, the passing became more and more valuable. In his best year last year, the passer had 3,500+ yards. Yes that’s under 4,250, but you don’t throw the ball as much when you’re ahead.
Bowman is the most talented quarterback Wells has likely coached. And although I’m going to love more emphasis on the running game, the Red Raiders are going to be playing from behind for a decent part of the season. That’s going to lead to more pass plays. I think Bowman goes over, but not by much.
O/U 550.5 yards for leading rusher:
Kyle – OVER: As noted in the last answer, I’m curious to see just how often Yost runs the ball. By all accounts right now, grad transfer Armand Shyne, sophomore Ta’Zhawn Henry, and redshirt freshman Sarodorick Thompson will split carries fairly evenly. But I think eventually one will emerge as the lead back for this offense. And when he does, eclipsing 550 yards for the season should be very doable.
Mike – UNDER: There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s going to more emphasis on the running game. The problem is, I don’t know if there’s going to be a runner over 550 yards. Bowman will surely be a gunslinger, and all these running backs are different in their own ways.
Henry is your speedster. Thompson is your bulldozer. Shyne seems like a guy who can get tough yards. If I had to be on one going over 550 yards, I’m picking Henry, but I don’t feel good enough to bet the over.
O/U 1,250.5 yards for leading receiver:
Kyle – UNDER: As I’ve referenced a couple times, there is no clear primary target in this group of receivers. Not yet, anyway. We know Vasher has the talent, but can he consistently be that guy every single game?
Couple that with the sentiments from Coach Wells that make it sound like he will rotate receivers a lot, and I’m not sure any one guy will be on the field enough to eclipse 1,250 yards.
Mike – UNDER: I think Texas Tech will have a real solid receiving core, but I don’t think anyone will pass that 1,250 yard mark similar to what Coutee, Grant and Wesley did (Giles got really close too). There’s going to be constant rotation and I haven’t quite seen anyone yet that I think can consistently hit 100+ yards a game.
Vasher will have a good year, but I just don’t see his breakaway speed enough to hit that mark. A lot of the slot receivers aren’t burner, and they’re young in a new offense. I don’t know enough about RJ Turner to bet he’ll go over 1,250. So therefore, I’ll pick the under.
O/U 32.5 points allowed per game:
Kyle – UNDER: Texas Tech gave up 31.1 last season. With all the coaching changes and new quarterbacks in the Big 12 this year, I could see a scenario in which the usual high octane offenses featured in this conference take a step back.
And while Tech lost some key defenders, they also return a decent amount so I could see them taking a small step forward, especially if Keith Patterson proves to be a better defensive coordinator than David Gibbs.
Mike – UNDER: I think the defense will struggle a tad more than people think because of the new system and more aggressive play. I don’t think it will be 2015 bad, but it’ll be closer to what we’ve seen the past couple years.
That being said, the offense looks like it’s a little bit down this season, and perhaps a bigger emphasis on the run game with Sam Ehlinger and Jalen Hurts the main faces in the conference at quarterback. So since the clock will run down more and the lack of explosive offense, I’ll actually pick the under here.
O/U 25.5 sacks:
Kyle – OVER: Maybe I’m just a little high on this defense, but I think they’ll be able to get after the quarterback better than they did last season when they totaled 25.5 sacks. Eli Howard returning is a big part of this guess for me, as I expect a big year out of him.
I’m also intrigued by Patterson’s use of a hybrid linebacker/defensive end to rush the passer. If he can find the right guys to fill that spot, we could see a nice improvement in this department
Mike – OVER: When I was researching the 3-3-5 defensive and how Patterson uses his defense, I noticed that there was more emphasis on the blitz and getting into the backfield. 25.5 sacks comes to just over two sacks a game.
And even though Texas Tech has flirted around or below that mark recently, I think the Red Raiders can reach that mark with the new defense and lack of quarterback experience. I’ll pick the over here.
O/U -3.5 turnover margin:
Kyle – OVER (-4 or greater): This was a little confusing, so by “over”, I mean that the turnover margin on the season will be better than -3.5, meaning Texas Tech will have at least four more takeaways than they have turnovers. Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson’s defense has a clear cut identity in wanting to take the ball away from opposing offenses.
In fact, at Utah State last year they averaged better than a -1 turnover margin per game. Combine that with Alan Bowman being pretty good at taking care of the ball, and I think we’ll see a good turnover margin this season.
Mike – UNDER (-3 or less): New offense means it’s more likely to make a mistake. Miscommunication and not enough knowledge on how the offense is run can lead to turnovers. Although there’s still going to be a ton of great plays, there’s going to be some mistakes.
Besides, how many Big 12 games did Bowman even play? He’s going through the Big 12 schedule for basically the first team and is bound to make some mistakes. Not only that, but with the defense being put into place, they’re going to get quite as many turnovers as the final product will. I’ll go under for now.
O/U 4.5 All-Big 12 selections (First and second team only):
Kyle – OVER: With as many veterans as you have on the offensive line, I feel good about having two there. Jack Anderson seems like a lock if he stays healthy, and I could see Terrence Steele or Travis Bruffy working their way in the mix too.
Surprisingly to some, you’ve got a few good candidates on the defensive side of the ball as well; Adrian Frye, Jordyn Brooks, Broderick Washington, and Eli Howard. I think an offensive skill player will breakout in David Yost’s offense and put up the kind of numbers to be all-conference as well.
Mike – UNDER: Over the past few years, Texas Tech hasn’t reached more than four players on these list. I don’t think that will change this year. Although there will be a lot of candidates, I find it tough seeing five or more players for a team I think finishes below .500 in Big 12 play.
Jack Anderson I think is a lock. I also would bet money that Jordyn Brooks makes an All-Big 12 team too. Adrian Frye was a first team player last year, but I think that had a lot to with turnovers. Also, switching to safety could hurt this chances this year, so I don’t fell comfortable picking him.
After that I have to start to think. I think Texas Tech can get two of Alan Bowman, TJ Vasher, Terrence Steele, Broderick Washington, DeMarcus Fields, Eli Howard. I could see two of these players on the list, but not more than that.
O/U 1.5 players drafted:
Kyle – UNDER: Honestly this one is difficult because it’s hard to get a read on what NFL GMs and scouts are thinking sometimes. We all thought Antoine Wesley and Dakota Allen were mid-round guys last year, and instead they went undrafted and in the 7th round, respectively. I think Jordyn Brooks is very likely to be drafted, but anyone else seems like too much of a reach at this point to bank on a second guy being drafted.
Mike – UNDER: Last year, Texas Tech had one player get drafted, and two the year before that. Then one went in 2016 and three went in 2015. Basically, it goes back and forth. This is a tough line for me. One player I feel confident being drafted is Jack Anderson. The question will be if he decides to go pro. I know he loves Tech and I believe his family is good financially, so he’s not automatic to leave.
Out of the others that could be drafted, Vasher (if he has a Coutee/Wesley like season), Brooks (highlighted why last week), Washington and Frye (RS-SO so he can leave). To me, there’s way too many question marks to see more than one player getting drafted, so I’m picking the under.
O/U 1.5 Big 12 home wins:
Kyle – OVER: Texas Tech has not beaten a Big 12 team not named Kansas at Jones AT&T Stadium since 2015. This is one measure of success that absolutely must change under Coach Wells.
With the conference’s two toughest teams, Oklahoma and Texas, being road games this year, Tech has some seemingly manageable Big 12 home games on the schedule: Oklahoma State, TCU, Iowa State, and Kansas State. Each team has question marks in certain areas, and while I’m not expecting three or four wins from this stretch, I think two is doable.
Mike – OVER: The only Big 12 team the Red Raiders have beaten at home the past three years is Kansas. Now wonder home ticket sales are so down this year and I’m getting bombarded with ticket emails. Another reason why ticket sales are down; an easy home schedule.
The Big 12 home games this year are teams with big question marks. Sure, Iowa State is will likely be ranked in the preseason and will be tough, but TCU has a mystery surrounding their offense, Oklahoma State is trying to build their team back up, and Kansas State doesn’t have Bill Snyder. Plus we should’ve beaten them the past two years. No way Tech doesn’t win at least two of those games, right? Right?!
O/U 5.5 wins:
Kyle – OVER: I’m not confident it will be by much (I’m thinking 6 or 7), but will take the over. Montana State, UTEP, and Kansas should good to take to the bank. Arizona and West Virginia seem like pretty winnable road games. Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma State seem winnable at home. All that considered, I expect this team to be bowl eligible.
Mike – OVER:
When I look at schedules, typically I don’t think “Okay, they’ll win here, lose here, etc”. What I do instead is predict smaller records within stretches and combine them all together. So I have the Red Raiders winning the first three games, even the tough one in Tucson. I’ll follow that up with a loss to Oklahoma.
Then, in the stretch where Tech is home for OKST, visiting Baylor and home for Iowa State, I have them going 1-2 in that stretch. After a win at Kansas, I have Texas Tech going 2-1 in a stretch that features at West Virginia, home for TCU and home for Kansas State. Finally, I have Texas Tech (finally) losing in Austin.
Adding up all those records, I have the Red Raiders going 6-6, so I’m picking the over. The difference maker was that Arizona game, where I was on the fence. Yes, it’s on the road, but Arizona was questionable last year and the Kevin Sumlin
train helicopter crashed a few years ago.