Big 12 Football Betting Easy Pick’ems: Weekend Of August 31

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Wofford at Baylor (-29.5)

Let’s be honest – I’m not going to pretend to know anything about this game. Last year I called Baylor the best team incapable of beating anybody. That is, I did until they thumped K-State and killed the team’s national championship aspirations. Baylor’s defense will be improved, the run game returns, quarterback play appears to be solid again, and Wofford is an FCS program that went 3-4 on the road last year. I don’t care that the Terriers are ranked fifth in the preseason this year. Prediction: Baylor 45, Wofford 20 (Under)

*edit: I just went back and looked at Wofford’s schedule last year. Their three losses were 9-17 against Georgia Southern, 7-24 against Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, and 7-14 in the playoffs against national champion North Dakota State. I’m bumping up the total score for Wofford, and predicting Baylor does not cover.

North Dakota State at Kansas State (-13)

This is an interesting game to handicap. North Dakota has won two straight national championships and returns 18 starters. K-State went 11-2 last year, but the defense had a ton of turnover and must break in a new quarterback. Even trickier for Vegas, the Wildcats have recently become notorious for coming out flat in their first game against lower-level competition. Will Bill Snyder fail to win by at least two touchdowns? Jake Waters throws for two, John Hubert has one, and Tramaine Thompson returns a punt for six. Add in a couple Jack Cantele field goals, and the team demonstrates it’s ready to score points this year. Unfortunately, defensive lapses make the game closer than fans would prefer. Prediction: K-State 34, North Dakota State 17 (Over)

Northern Iowa at Iowa State (-9.5)

Before you scoff, know this – Iowa State won this game by a single point, triumphing 20-19 in 2011. Northern Iowa took the game in 2007. These teams will play each other tough, regardless of the division they play in. The Panthers start the season ranked #16 and opened 2012 at #12 Wisconsin, falling by just 21-26. I’ll be honest – Iowa State could be the team I know the least about this year. I do know that Paul Rhodes is a genius, five linemen have more than 15 games of starting experience, and Sam Richardson could be the most dynamic quarterback on campus since… Seneca Wallace? Okay, now I’m getting ahead of myself. The point is, the offense will be improved, but I look at what the Cyclones lost at linebacker and actually feel bad for Iowa State fans this year. Iowa State will score points this year, but Northern Iowa will score points on the Cyclones. Prediction: Iowa State 33, Northern Iowa 27 (Under)

William & Mary at West Virginia (-33.5)

The cream puff of the year doesn’t get more than this line (albeit William & Mary took Maryland to the wire last year, 7-6). Prediction: West Virginia 44, William & Mary 10 (Over)

Texas Tech (-5.5) at SMU

This is a great match up – one of the most underrated of the weekend. June Jones has been almost a miracle worker with the job he’s done at Southern Methodist, and the Mustangs have finished with a winning record three of the past four seasons. That statement would have been insane a decade ago. While not even close to returning to the powerhouse the team was three decades ago, SMU is formidable. Tech is starting a freshman quarterback. Their coach, Kliff Kingsbury, is making his head coaching debut. The thing to keep an eye on is depth – temperatures could be in the triple digits and neither team is very deep. Exhaustion, cramping, and other issues could come into play. The line has also been dropping – it originally stood at a touchdown – and Vegas is a little uncomfortable about Tech’s true freshman throwing against SMU’s very veteran secondary. Ah shoot, Kingsbury’s implementing a new Air Raid offense and didn’t do too bad as Johnny Manziel’s coach last year. Texas Tech is capable of losing to anyone and beating most teams, but plays up to its potential here. Prediction: Texas Tech 34, SMU 21 (Over)

And now, for your easy pick’em of the week, the one you can bet the farm on because it can’t go wrong:

New Mexico State at Texas (-42)

New Mexico State is one of the five worst programs in the nation. While Texas is ranked in the top 15, it has a top five squad in terms of talent. Mack Brown is coaching for his job this year, and won’t let up on anyone, no matter how much they plead for mercy. The Longhorns open the 2013 season with a statement. Prediction: Texas 63, New Mexico State 10 (Over)