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Baylor vs. Oklahoma predictions, pick and latest odds ahead of this Saturday's hug showdown in the Big 12. Alex Kirshner gives us his pick for this one

Baylor vs. Oklahoma Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Baylor Bears

Spread: Oklahoma -6

Total: 63

Game time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: FOX

Baylor vs. Oklahoma odds

Baylor vs. Oklahoma Prediction

The Oklahoma Sooners have conducted a masterful high-wire act to this point in 2021. Their consensus preseason Heisman Trophy favorite QB, Spencer Rattler, had a bad first half of the year and got benched for a true freshman. Their vaunted offensive line, the best in college football over the last few years according to a bunch of neutral observers, has taken noticeable steps backward. Their infamous defense has remained infamous, getting gashed not just against talented but flawed teams like Texas but even, for a while a few weeks ago, the likes of Kansas. Yet the Sooners are 9-0, a near lock to at least play for the Big 12 championship, and in control of their own College Football Playoff destiny after missing out in 2020.

I think there’s a good chance –– not quite 50/50, but close to it –– that the magic carpet ride runs into turbulence at Baylor in Week 11. The Bears are imperfect and took a tough loss to a sub-.500 TCU team last weekend, which just about knocks them out of conference contention. Their defense hasn’t played nearly up to either the program’s recent standard or those of their head coach, Dave Aranda, previously a well-regarded coordinator at Wisconsin and LSU. But their offense is one of the best in the country and perfectly capable of putting another dent in the OU defense. I like Baylor’s chances to stay within a touchdown and maybe win outright.

The Baylor offense has been a pretty consistent bet this season. Only one opponent, Oklahoma State, has kept the Bears off schedule with any regularity. By expected points added, they’ve produced a positive result every game except in that Week 5 loss, according to GameOnPaper.com. They’ve managed at least 28 points in every game but that one and have been one of the most dominant running teams in the country behind tailback Abram Smith and an underrated line. Oklahoma State has an elite defense this year, but no evidence has emerged to suggest that anything less than an elite defense can slow down Baylor much.

Enter Oklahoma’s defense, which is mediocre to be charitable and a lot worse than that to be honest. The Sooners have allowed some of the Big Ten’s drearier offenses to have some of their best outings of the season, including the likes of Kansas, Kansas State, and ex-Big 12 mate Nebraska. They let up 35 to a Tulane team that turned out to be terrible. Oklahoma has held up pretty well against the run, which in theory should be useful against Baylor’s biggest strength (Smith), but it’s worth questioning whether OU can handle both Smith and QB Gerry Bohannon at the same time. The Sooners have not posted positive EPA figures in both rush defense and pass defense simultaneously since they beat West Virginia 16-13 in Week 4, per Game On Paper. If a team has a well-rounded offense, it’ll find some way to move the ball on OU. If you have one of the Big 12’s best runners and one of its best passers, there’s no reason you can’t score well into the 30s against Alex Grinch’s porous defense.

Now that wunderkind Caleb Williams is installed at quarterback, Oklahoma’s offense is best taken as a threat to explode in any game. The Sooners have barely missed a beat since he replaced Rattler at halftime of a dramatic win over Texas a month ago, and I wouldn’t expect that Baylor will slow him down a ton. But I think the Bears can slow him down enough to keep it close against an OU defense that might be even more overmatched than Baylor against Williams.

If you think Oklahomas has been living undefeated on borrowed time –– or if you just look at OU’s weaknesses and Baylor’s strength –– there’s enough reason to look at this game and see a straight-up win for the underdog. As such, anything near a touchdown feels like too many points not to take the home team in Waco.

Baylor vs. Oklahoma Pick

Article Author


Alex Kirshner covers college football for the Moon Crew newsletter. He is a co-author of The Sinful Seven: Sci-Fi Western Legends of the NCAA, and he lives in Washington, D.C.


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