College football picks, odds for Big 12 in Week 8: Trust the defenses in Iowa State at Oklahoma State

For the first time since the beginning of October, the entire Big 12 is scheduled to play. Even though a lot has happened in the past month — namely, Oklahoma and Texas sliding in the wrong direction — it feels as though we haven’t really seen these teams play. That’s because we haven’t. Built-in open weeks and COVID-19-related postponements have reduced the number of games. And with the conference taking an overall step back — five teams are at .500 or worse — a lot of national attention has been elsewhere. 

That can change in Week 8. The matchup between Iowa State and Oklahoma State is one of four games on Saturday between ranked teams. The Cyclones and Cowboys have Big 12 Championship Game aspirations, too, so this is a midseason clash that carries major ramifications. Both teams know a window this open doesn’t come along often. 

It’s not the only big game, though. Oklahoma and Texas are in action, and Texas Tech plays host in a desperation game. There’s a lot to get to, so here are your best bets for all things Big 12 in Week 8. Odds via William Hill Sportsbook

No. 17 Iowa State at No. 6 Oklahoma State (-3.5): The big question for this game is whether starting quarterback Spencer Sanders, who’s been out since the season opener against Tulsa, will play. Coach Mike Gundy dropped a nugget on his teleconference that he might play Sanders and Shane Illingworth. That’s to give the Cyclones defense more to think about. Speaking of defenses, both of them are salty, even if the Cowboys are the only ones to show it statistically. Iowa State loves to grind things out with running back Breece Hall while hitting tight end Charlie Kolar underneath. Oklahoma State’s aggressive defense will be up to the challenge. You might have to sweat this under a bit, but this really could be the antithesis of a typical Big 12 game. Pick: Under 52

Kansas at No. 20 Kansas State (-20): Fun fact: Kansas has covered only once so far — last week vs. West Virginia. And it was because Pooka Williams returned a garbage time kickoff for a touchdown. Well, Williams has opted out of the rest of the season. While he wasn’t the team’s leading back, he is its best playmaker. If the Mountaineers’ dysfunctional offense can put points on the board against the Jayhawks, the Wildcats shouldn’t have that much trouble, either. A well-coached K-State takes care of business by three scores. Pick: Kansas State -20 

Oklahoma at TCU (+6.5): This is probably the Big 12’s best coaching matchup of the weekend. Coaches Lincoln Riley and Gary Patterson know how to exploit opposing weaknesses as well as anyone. Expect the Sooners to hit TCU’s defense with a steady dose of tight end Austin Stogner over the middle. Don’t be surprised if TCU quarterback Max Duggan makes some big plays with his legs. Oklahoma’s fourth-quarter woes would give me pause from taking a strong stance on the spread, but the total is right at the points per game given up by the Sooners and Frogs. Since this game is under 60, banging the over feels right. Pick: Over 59.5

Baylor at Texas (-9): If there’s one Big 12 game I’d stay away from, it’s this one. Texas is 0-3 against the spread in Big 12 play, but its back is against the wall here. The “Eyes of Texas” brouhaha has been a story, but quarterback Sam Ehlinger sent a message this week when he said this team has to be about football right now. Baylor, on the other hand, has played two whole games and the offense was putrid against West Virginia. Texas’ defense has also had a hard time getting off the field and the penalties have been debilitating. This is a gut-check game for the Horns, but they haven’t played well enough to believe they’ll win by double digits. Pick: Baylor +9

West Virginia at Texas Tech (+3.5): The Mountaineers have a good defense. Some of that has been the competition, but the Mountaineers have about four or five real dudes on that side of the ball. And if there’s one thing that travels well, it’s defense. The question is whether West Virginia’s offense can get it together. A glance at their record doesn’t show how hard this team has to work to get points on the board. Outside of the running game, the offense mostly trips over itself. That was a problem at Oklahoma State and it could be a problem again here. West Virginia has won its last three in Lubbock, but that streak is in danger. The Red Raiders are 1-3, but they’ve played a little better than their record indicates. Turning to Henry Colombi at quarterback gives this offense some much-needed stability. Pick: Texas Tech +3.5

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 8, and which SEC team will pull off a shocking upset? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,100 in profit over the past four-plus seasons — and find out.

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