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BIG 12 CONFERENCE


SOUTH




Written by Mike Rose from BetWWTS


BAYLOR BEARS O:8 D:4

Head coach Guy Morriss and his Baylor Bears won their first road game in 24 tries when they beat SMU. In addition they picked up their first BIG 12 Win ever when they embarrassed Iowa State. The Bears were really close to going bowling this year, and it would have been their first since 1993, if it wasn?t for a few close overtime losses. Coach Morriss?s winning reputation follows him from Kentucky where he turned around the Kentucky Wildcats. The 12 starters coming back from last season?s team are mainly from the offensive unit which will help them cream the 21.5 points per game they averaged last year. Offensive coordinator Lee Hays and senior quarter back Shawn Bell have some great personnel to work with in the wide receiving units and the best offensive line in years. Defensively it doesn?t look so good however with a number of key people gone this year. Special team kickers P Daniel Sepulveda (Ray Guy Winner) and K Ryan Havens are back this year but they are missing a return man. The Bears lose too much defensively, so odds are they won?t go bowling. A mediocre season is expected but you can bet Head Coach Morriss will continue to push the limits and do a great job in Waco.

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OKLAHOMA SOONERS O:5 D:9

Panic was the feeling for everybody down in Norman, after Oklahoma started the season with a 2-3 record and was punished by Texas. Luckily head coach Stoops turned things around and they won six of the last seven games finishing in style. Many are predicting the Sooners will be headed to the desert come January as they return 14 starters from last year. Nine of those starters are on the defensive end and that should help improve the 23 points per game they permitted last season, possibly shaving a good 10 points off that average. Some say they have the best back seven in NCAA college football. They are also expected to pick things up offensively with quarter back Rhett Bomar who is in his second year and has already proven strength throwing the ball and running it. Running back Adrian Peterson returns and he will be looking stay injury free and carry the pigskin a lot more. But he will have to be careful as he will be running behind a very inexperienced front wall that will need some time to mature. The wide receiving unit will benefit from QB Rhett Bomar?s confidence and experience and the offense is expected to get better in 2006. The schedule for Oklahoma is not a bad one. Three of four of their non-conference games are at home and their only trip away is Autzen where the ducks play very well. All the BIG 12 major teams are at home except for Texas which is a neutral site. You can bet the Sooners will be very good defensively this year and odds are they are BCS Bowl bound.

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OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS O:9 D:5

In 2005 the Oklahoma State Cowboys were a disaster. They finished last in the BIG 12 South last year and were crushed by almost every team in the conference. However with 14 starters coming back this year head coach Mike Gundy will have some talent and experience to work with and things are looking better. 9 of those 14 starters go to the offense and should work well in the second year of the new system. Quarter back Bobby Reid should have much more confidence, which will show in his play, knowing that the job is exclusively his. Returning from his 960+ yard performance of last year is running back Mike Hamilton, and being the next 1000-yard rusher is not out of the question. The offensive line has better talent and depth than last year and the wide receiving units are expected to improve on their numbers dramatically. The offense will improve on their 20 points per game it averaged last year and so will the defense as they were embarrassed with a 31 points per game average and 418 yards per game average. The cowboys are still a young team but definitely improved from a year ago. An appearance at a bowl game may not be in the cards for the Cowboys but you can bet the team will play their hearts out for coach Gundy as he will expect nothing less from them

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TEXAS A & M AGGIES O:7 D:7

Head coach Dennis Franchione has a record of 16-19 SU and Aggies patrons are starting to get just a little irritated. With 14 starters coming back, including quarter back Stephen McGee a Bowl appearance might be in the cards for the Aggies. McGee almost lead the Aggies to a huge upset over Texas last year in the regular season finale. Running back Courtney Lewis also returns for his senior finale but he will have to share the pigskin with TB Jorvorskie Lane who hurt opponents last year with his big body. Texas A&M is sporting one of the biggest and badest front walls in the BIG 12. The Aggies should have a great running game in 2006 as well as looking solid defensively with their front 7. Justin Warren returns as middle linebacker to anchor the line backing unit and the front wall looks massive. The secondary was not so hot last year but had some time to work on things in the off-season and you can bet they?ll have some aces up their sleeves. The main reason the Aggies couldn?t achieve the six game minimum were injuries, lots of them. The non-conference opponents this year are pushovers and they get to play every one of those games in Texas. Only 1 of their 4 BIG 12 road games is a challenge. The Aggies should have an impact in the BIG 12 this year and you can bet head coach Franchione is looking to get to another Bowl game this year.

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TEXAS LONGHORNS O:6 D:7

The NCAA National Championship was in the cards for the Texas Longhorns and head coach Mack Brown in 2005. They won a number of big games and crushed opponents outscoring them by 33 point per game average and a total of 50 points per game average offensively. Their defense allowed a ridiculously low 16 points per game average and had the best special teams unit in college football. First team All American quarter back Vince Young was lost to the NFL this year but 13 others are back for another dose. None of the QBs have ever made a pass at the collegiate level so it is expected that the scoring will drop for the Longhorns. To compensate, the Longhorns return one of the best offensive lines in NCAA college football and a running back unit drenched with talent. The running game will be a great option until the new field general finds his sweet spot. 2005 was good defensively as they only gave up 303 yards per game and had an outstanding DEF yards per point average of 18.4. Lots of recruits are coming in on the defensive end along with 7 returning players. Both kickers are gone this year but the 2002 #4 punter in the nation, K Greg Johnson, will be picking up with the Longhorns what he left at Vandy. The Longhorns have won at least 9 games every season that Mack Brown has been coaching dating back 7 years. The schedule is not as tough as it should be for the National Champion. A BCS bowl appearance is possible as long as they take care of Oklahoma and Ohio State.

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TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS O:8 D:5

The only team in the BIG 12 to have 11 straight winning seasons, are, in fact the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Head coach Mike Leach has lead this squad to their highest win total. Offense and Texas Tech have been synonymous ever since Coach Leach took over, but what?s remarkable is that their defense is pretty solid as well, having only allowed a shade below 19 points per game this past year. They return 13 players with 8 of them on the offensive end including sophomore quarter back Graham Harrell. Traditionally, quarter backs put into the Leach system have succeeded, and Harrell is expected to as well. The loss of Taurean Henderson and his receiving talents out of the backfield will hurt the ground game for the Red Raiders. Texas Tech has one of the best wide receiving units in NCAA football, with Filani, Hicks, Johnson and Amendola who collectively put up some amazing numbers last season. There is no reason they can?t put up great numbers this year as well, especially with an offensive line that is better than average, by NCAA standards, blocking for them. Only 5 return from the defense but there are several important players coming back from injuries. The front seven look great but the secondary has lost several players from last season?s unit that permitted only 180 yards per game. No changes in the special teams and that should help their numbers. The Red Raiders are looking for their first BIG 12 Championship this coming 2006 season. They have lost some key players and their schedule is not easy, nonetheless, if they play well on the road, they can win 10 games and a championship. In a worst case scenario, they will probably be in a bowl game on New Years day.

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