Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#151 Oklahoma State vs.
#152 Baylor
Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Eric P.

The Baylor Bears play host to the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday afternoon in a crucial Big 12 matchup from McLane Stadium. These two last met in the Big 12 Championship last fall, with the Bears coming away with the win in dramatic fashion in the final seconds. The Cowboys are unbeaten this season as they hit the road for this one, while the Bears are coming in fresh off a win in their own Big 12 opener. This has been an even series over the years, with Baylor having a slight edge, winning six of the last ten matchups between the two teams. In what is expected to be a close one again, this is a matchup fans won't want to miss.

Cowboys Eyeing Revenge

After losing in the Big 12 Championship last season, Oklahoma State will want nothing more than to avenge that loss and open up Big 12 play with a win in this one. The Cowboys are undefeated on the season but considering the lack of quality in their opponents, Saturday will be their first test. Having to go on the road to Waco to take on their first quality opponent is far from ideal, while the Cowboys know that grabbing the win is crucial towards making a return trip to the conference finale. Oklahoma State has performed well on the road over the last few seasons and the hope is that can be the case yet again in this one.

There are two injuries for Oklahoma State to keep an eye on as they hit the weekend. Jaden Bray (arm) is probable for the weekend, which will mark his first appearance of the season. He'll be a much-needed addition, especially with Blaine Green (wrist) questionable for the weekend at receiver.

Oklahoma State has one of football's best offenses and with the amount of experience building within this group over the last few years, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that they can score points in a hurry. The Cowboys rank eighth nationally in total offense and ninth in passing yards per game, while they are ranked tops nationally in scoring. The lack of a running game shouldn't be a concern given all the talent at their disposal. Spencer Sanders (10 touchdowns) is elite under center and given the talent at wide receiver, Baylor could have trouble keeping pace.

Defensively, the Cowboys will want to focus on stopping the run and if they can keep Baylor from controlling the game on the ground, they'll have a chance in this one. One issue this season has been Oklahoma State's inability to force turnovers, though Baylor has been struggling to take care of the ball. Mason Cobb (24 tackles, 2 sacks) is the leader in the middle of the field and with an athletic secondary, winning in the air is a key for this group.

Baylor's Confidence Continues To Build

For the Bears, expectations are high for this group, especially coming off of winning a Big 12 title just a season ago. Last week, they were able to take down Iowa State on the road, though they'll be happy to return home to the friendly confines of McLane Stadium. Their only loss came on the road to BYU, in overtime, showing how challenging their schedule has been so far. While the Cowboys could struggle early in their first big game of the season, the Bears are no stranger to the bright lights. Adding in confidence from winning the December matchup last season, this group should be riding high coming into Saturday.

Baylor only has one injury to worry about and much like their opponent, it comes on the offensive end as well. Taye McWilliams (undisclosed) is doubtful for Saturday at running back, having also missed the last two games. Other backs have taken control of the backfield since he started missing time, as his absence shouldn't cause too much of a problem.

Baylor's offense has become one-dimensional this season, with a strong emphasis on the ground game. They rank 26th nationally in rushing yards per game but without the aerial attack to match, concerns remain about what might happen if Oklahoma State shuts them down on the ground. Richard Reese (5.7 yards per carry, 6 touchdowns) has been elite, while QB Blake Shapen (7 touchdowns, 1 interception) has earned more and more trust as the season has progressed. Questions remain surrounding the wide receiver core, with Saturday looking like a game for this group to break out.

Defensively, the Bears have one of the country's top run defenses, though it might not be worth much in this one. The Cowboys have an elite passing attack, though with that area being one in which Baylor has struggled to defend, it might not matter. The Bears were able to slow down BYU's passing game pretty well and will need to match that energy in this one. Everything starts with Al Walcott (23 tackles) directing the defense from the back, at his safety position. With the Cowboys looking to move the ball through the air, it'll be on Walcott to keep the secondary sharp.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Oklahoma State's offense is one of the best in the country and there's no doubt that'll be the story in this matchup. The Cowboys have experience up and down their sideline and even though they'll be going on the road, they score far too many points to be taken down by Baylor. The Bears struggled in each of the last two weeks, both on the road, and with Oklahoma State having not played last week, that rest will be instrumental towards them finding success in this one. Additionally, according to covers.com, Oklahoma State is 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 conference games and 8-0 ATS in their last eight road games against a team with a winning home record.

Prediction: Oklahoma State (+2.5)

Full-Game Total Pick

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While the Cowboys have an offense that's known for putting up points, the fact that they'll be on the road in this one means a slight slowdown for this group. Baylor will want to focus on establishing the ground game and by controlling the clock and taking the air out of the ball, scoring will be driven down in this one. Additionally, according to covers.com, the under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between the two teams at Baylor and 4-1 in the last five meetings overall. For Baylor, the under is 7-1 in their last eight games against a team with a winning record, as well as being 5-1 in their last six games following a straight-up win.

Prediction: Under 55
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Written By Eric Ploch , "Eric P."

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years. After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. James is now an integral part of our team here at StatSalt and has also been a very successful sports bettor over the years. Be sure and follow him daily.