When quick-moving offenses meet slow-reacting defenses, expect plenty of points.
Las Vegas oddsmakers see Texas at Texas Tech as the highest-scoring game in college football this weekend. The over/under for total points is 81½.
Of the other 55 games on the board, only a couple from the Pac-12 are in the same area code, with Oregon-Southern Cal at 78½ and Washington-California at 77.
Texas is a 3½-point road favorite because its defense is slightly better, and there is some concern about the bruised shoulder of Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Not only that, but the Longhorns have routinely handled the Red Raiders in Lubbock, winning the past three, five of the past six and nine of the past 13.
On the flip side, Texas has been awful on the road under Charlie Strong, 1-8 both straight up and against the spread in its past nine trips. Tech is 4-1 ATS in its past five home games.
With the Raiders 126th in total defense and the Horns’ 112th, it would be fun to have an over/under on passing yards for Mahomes and rushing yards for D’Onta Foreman.
Provided Mahomes doesn’t get knocked out of the game (Breckyn Hager, are you listening?), let’s put the passing number right at 500 for Mahomes and the rushing yards at 210 for Foreman.
The pick: Texas Tech 45, Texas 42. The Red Raiders, 4-4 overall, lead the Big 12 with a 6-2 ATS record. The Longhorns are 5-3. Worth noting: This is the Raiders’ final home game, quite possibly Mahomes’ last hurrah in Lubbock, and almost a must-win if they are to make a bowl. Tech finishes at Oklahoma State, at Iowa State and vs. Baylor in Arlington. Think Texas needs this one badly? Tech needs it worse.
Big 12 look: Kansas State (-2½) over Oklahoma State. The Wildcats won’t win the league title, but they’ll help decide it by knocking the Cowboys out of the race. Oklahoma State is coming off a huge thumping of West Virginia, but Oklahoma is the only team in this conference capable of consistent high-level performances.
The nation: Five underdogs to consider against the spread. Nebraska (+17) over Ohio State: The Cornhuskers nearly won at Wisconsin last week, and they can at least hang with the Buckeyes, whose offense has regressed over the past month. … LSU (+7½) over Alabama: Doubtful anyone will beat Bama, but the Tide is long overdue for a scare. … Cal (+17) over Washington: Testy back-to-back road games for the unbeaten Huskies, this one sandwiched between Utah and USC. … Oregon (+17) over USC: The Ducks can’t be that dreadful, can they? … Northwestern (+7) over Wisconsin: Written off early, the Wildcats are 3-1 in their past four, with only a 24-20 loss at Ohio State interrupting their run.