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Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire)

With last week’s loss to Baylor, the Oklahoma Sooners need a ton of help to make the College Football Playoffs this season. With a game lead over the Bears and a matchup against Oklahoma State next week, however, the Sooners control their own destiny inside the Big 12.

In one of three Big 12 games this week with conference championship implications, oddsmakers have the Sooners favored by 3.5 points to beat Iowa State at home Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a win as a 1-point underdog on the road against Kansas State keeps Baylor’s championship hopes alive. Oklahoma State, a 10-point favorite at Texas Tech, remains in control of its fate with a win.

In other conference action, West Virginia lays 3 points at home against Texas, and TCU is a massive three-touchdown favorite against Kansas.

Here’s a look at Saturday’s Big 12 betting card:

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Iowa State (6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1 SU, 4-6 ATS)

Earlier this season, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley looked like a genius when he benched Spencer Rattler for Caleb Williams. But with his offense struggling against Baylor, he benched Williams for Rattler. Had Rattler shined, Riley would have known who to start this week against the Big 12’s second-best defense.

But Rattler struggled as well in the 27-14 loss.

Baylor’s defense deserves the lion’s share of the credit, but the Bears run game also played a significant role. Baylor rushed for 297 yards against the Sooners, helping control the clock for over 35 minutes. It is hard to get an offense on track if it is not on the field very much.

While Iowa State’s run game is just the sixth-best in the conference (168.5 yards/game), it has an excellent running back in Breece Hall. Hall has run for 100+ yards in six of his last eight games. In two games against the Sooners last season, he ran for 218 yards and four touchdowns.

Brock Purdy could take some pressure off Hall by getting the passing game on track, like he did last week when he threw for 356 yards against Texas Tech. Purdy, though, is not a consistent quarterback. In two regular-season career games against the Sooners, he completed 31 of 54 passes for 536 yards and five touchdowns. In last season’s Big 12 title game, he tossed three interceptions.

Analysis: Oklahoma will be looking for redemption, but Iowa State has the personnel to work the same strategy as Baylor — play solid defense and run the ball.

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Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV

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Texas Longhorns (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (4-6 SU, 5-4-1 ATS)

A promising 4-1 start has turned into a disappointing 4-6 season for Texas. Before a season-ending elbow injury, Bijan Robinson did his part with five 100+ yard games in a row and 1,127 yards on the season. But Casey Thompson has been wildly inconsistent in the passing game. Against Texas Tech he completed 78.3 percent of his passes for 303 yards and five touchdowns. Since then, he has completed 60+ percent of his passes just twice.

While he had five touchdowns against Oklahoma and six against Kansas, Texas lost both games.

West Virginia has had some offensive issues as well. The Mountaineers have struggled to run the ball (worst in the Big 12). As for their passing game, Jarret Doege is a capable quarterback but has turnover issues. He’s thrown an interception in seven games this season and had multiple picks in three.

Their defense kept them in a few games, but it is hard to win when you struggle to hold onto the ball (West Virginia is second to last in the conference in turnovers lost).

Analysis: This one could come down to the quarterback who has the best day, but since West Virginia has the better overall defense, the Mountaineers have the edge.

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Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX

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Kansas Jayhawks (2-8 SU, 2-8 ATS) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (4-6 SU, 2-7-1 ATS)

Kansas travels to Forth Worth on an emotional high after winning its first conference game on the road since 2008 in Austin last weekend. Of course, playing a dreadful Texas defense helped. But if the Jayhawks are lucky, they may get some help from a TCU’s own dreadful defense this weekend.

The TCU offense, however, is not dreadful. It overcame an excellent Baylor defense in the Horned Frogs’ first game without Gary Patterson. But they came back down to Earth the following week against Oklahoma State. It should not be too hard for the offense to look good this week against the Jayhawks defense, one of the worst in the country.

Analysis: Kansas has been playing better in recent weeks, while TCU is on the verge of falling apart. It is hard to get behind the Jayhawks to win outright, but the 21 points they are catching on oddsboards are enticing.

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Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS

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Baylor Bears (8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (7-3 SU, 6-3-1 ATS)

The Bears lost control of their season when they dropped a stunner to TCU a couple of weeks ago. But with last weekend’s win over Oklahoma, a door is open for them to get into the Big 12 title game. They need a little help to get there, and they have to take care of business, first by beating Kansas State.

The Wildcats have struggled on offense this season (second-worst in the Big 12 in total offense). But their defense has kept them competitive —  it’s been tough to move the ball on or score against (third-best and fourth-best). Their pass rush is second-best in the Big 12, and they average six tackles for a loss per game.

Analysis: Limiting lackluster offenses like West Virginia, Kansas, and TCU is one thing—slowing down Baylor and the fourth-best rushing game in the country is another. From a statistical perspective, the Bears defense does not look as good as Kansas State’s, but it is certainly good enough to control the Wildcats offense.

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Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX

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Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-1 SU, 8-2 ATS) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-4 SU, 5-4-1 ATS)

Everything has gone right for Mike Gundy’s Cowboys since their one loss, 24-21 to Iowa State in October. They dominated Kansas on both sides of the ball and played well enough to beat a good West Virginia team. Last week, their offense went off against TCU for 63 points and 682 yards, 447 on the ground.

Texas Tech has a solid offense, but its defense will not have an answer for the Cowboys offense. The Red Raiders offense is the third-best in the Big 12 averaging 440.6 yards per game and fourth-best in scoring at 33.6 points per game. Their offensive line will be put to the test against the Oklahoma State defense, which leads the nation in sacks and is third in the country in tackles for a loss.

Analysis: Texas Tech’s offense will keep the Red Raiders in the game early on, but the Oklahoma State defense and run game will take control in the second half.

About the Author
Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver

Senior Writer
Travis Pulver is a senior writer for Gaming Today and a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, Pulver's love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.

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