2023 Big 12 season preview: How to bet Baylor and Texas Tech win totals

The middle of the Big 12 is loaded with quality teams, but how will they perform relative to expectations. Our betting expert breaks down Baylor and Texas Tech's win totals for 2023!
Oct 1, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Blake Shapen (12) rolls out to pass against
Oct 1, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Blake Shapen (12) rolls out to pass against / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 has become a much more parity driven league over the past few years, with two surprise winners in 2021 and 2022, including Baylor, who is the subject of our win totals article as part of our Big 12 season preview.

The Bears followed up a dream 2021 campaign with a four game losing streak to cap of 2022 and a 6-7 record. The team had a difficult schedule and despite putting up a strong statistical profile, struggled to put together wins. The team will hope to bounce back in 2023 with eight home games and a strong group of running backs to play off of returning quarterback Blake Shapen.

Meanwhile, Texas Tech enjoyed a surprising season in 2022, smashing expectations despite starting three different quarterbacks throughout the year. First year head coach Joey McGuire preached an aggressive style of play that featured the most fourth down attempts in the country with offensive coordinator Zach Kittley heading up that side of the ball.

Texas Tech won four of its seven regular season games by one score, will that hold up in 2023 amidst heightened expectations?

Here are a pair of win totals I'm eyeing in the Big 12.

Baylor OVER 6.5 Wins (-150)

For what it's worth, if you want to play something less pricey, there are 7's win -125 available at DraftKings Sportsbook, but to ensure a win on 7, this is worth it.

The Bears couldn't get out of its own way in 2023, succumbing to some poor late game variance and a defense that came back to earth after a magical 2022 season.

While many question if Blake Shapen is long for Baylor, the track record is still pretty good despite a 6-7 record as the team graded out 25th in success rate and 51st in yards per play. Shapen may not be one of the best quarterbacks in the entire country, but he led an above average unit that had an elite run game.

The Bears return both Richard Reese, who ran for nearly 1,000 yards as a freshman and Qualan Jones, who averaged five yards per carry last season. The run game should be elite again after the Bears bolstered an already strong offensive line with two of the best transfers in the country in brothers Clark and Campbell Barrington.

The defense was the issue for the Bears in 2022, 87th in success rate and unable to get into the backfield, ranking 105th in tackles for loss. Overall, the team checked in 95th in points allowed per drive and was 74th in EPA/Play.

Head coach Dave Aranda, who was a defensive coordinator at Wisconsin and LSU, will hope that the likes of transfer Byron Vaughns can jump start the pass rush that brings back it's top two tacklers.

Maybe Baylor doesn't reach top 15 levels like it did in 2022, but could it get back inside the top 50?

That may be all that's necessary after the team was snakebit by injuries and poor late game luck last season. The schedule gives the Bears a runway, getting the good end of the Big 12 round robin format that gives them eight total home games.

While the team has to play Utah in non conference play and Texas to start Big 12 play, both of those are at home. The team will need to go to Kansas State and TCU in back-to-back weeks in November, but the Bears also only have to play at UCF and at Cincinnati besides that.

It's tough to find "easy" Big 12 schedules, but this is as manageable as you can ask for. The team will have five very likely wins (Texas State, Long Island, Iowa State, Houston, Virginia) with another two short spread games on the road in UCF and Cincinnati. If the team can win one of those that's six, meaning the Bears have to win a home game against Texas Tech, Utah, Texas or at K-State and TCU to get over this number.

I'll take my chances with the talent on hand.

Texas Tech UNDER 7.5 Wins (-120)

The Red Raiders were able to squeak out wins and now enter with far high expectations in 2023. After being projected as an unlikely bowl team, TTU is expected to match the same output as last year.

While the talent is in place for Texas Tech that brings back 80% of its offensive production, it wasn't an elite group on that side of the ball. The team put up points due mostly in part to the tempo it played at, running the most plays in college football during the regular season. The offensive line was abysmal last season, outside the top 100 in sacks and tackles for loss allowed and were middling in numbers such as success rate and points per drive.

While I believe in what McGuire is doing in Lubbock, I can't trust a team to win eight games that won four of them by one score last year. Texas Tech ranked inside the top 25 in red zone touchdown percentage on offense and defense, and won more than half its games by one score on the most fourth down attempts in the country. The truth of the matter is that the variance tends to even itself out.

Texas Tech's defense did a great job at getting in the backfield last season, sacking the quarterback 29 times (39th in the nation) and generating 83 tackles for loss (19th). However, the team lost top 10 pick Tyree Wilson.

The record looks nice for Texas Tech, but this is a team that benefitted from some good fortune, but really was just middling on btoh side of the ball, ranking 72nd on EPA/Play on offense and 62nd on defense.

The schedule doesn't do the Red Raiders many favors either, starting with a Week 1 road trip to Wyoming before facing a ranked team in Oregon a week later. The team plays at Baylor, new comer BYU who may bolster a decisive home field advantage, No. 1 offense in the Big 12 last year Kansas and conference favorite Texas while also hosting Kansas State, TCU and UCF.

The schedule features way too may coin flips to trust a team that was expected to win five or six a year ago to win eight.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.