Texas coach Charlie Strong laughed on Monday about being a two-touchdown underdog. Baylor “deserved every bit of it,” he said.
College administrators are loathe to acknowledge gambling even exists, much less talk about the point spread or line movements during the week. But Big 12 officials keep tabs on line movements and have contacts in Las Vegas if anything seems suspect.
The Longhorns haven’t been considered this big an underdog at Royal-Memorial Stadium in the last 20 years. They started the week as 14-point underdogs, and then the line jumped to 16 and even inched up to 17 briefly.
As of Friday, oddsmakers now believe that No. 7 Baylor will win by only 15 points in Saturday’s 2:30 matchup. The line can move during the week because of key injuries or suspensions. Usually, the line moves either way depending on the size of bets being placed.
“Somebody said we’re a 14-point underdog,” Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said with a laugh. “I’ll give ’em 21 points. If it was up to me, I don’t know if I can even show up to the game. I’ll waive the white flag. I surrender.”
Over the last 20 years, the biggest point spread that proved dead wrong was the 1996 Big 12 championship. The Longhorns were 20-point underdogs to No. 3 Nebraska. Thanks to Priest Holmes, James Brown and “Roll Left,” coach John Mackovic’s group shocked the Huskers and won 37-27.
The Horns also stuck it to the Huskers again in 1998 when they were 16-point underdogs in Lincoln. Mack Brown’s team won 20-16 as running back Ricky Williams received a standing ovation from the red-clad crowd.
Texas has been 16-point underdogs two other times in the last two decades, including last year’s game against Baylor in Waco. UT was also a 14-point underdog in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon.
Biggest point spreads in last 20 years
Sept. 19, 1998, at No. 5 Kansas State (KSU by 23). Texas lost, 48-7
Dec. 7, 1996, vs. No. 3 Nebraska (Nebraska by 20). Texas won, 37-27
Nov. 28, 1997, at No. 15 Texas A&M (A&M by 16). Texas lost, 27-16
Oct. 31, 1998, at No. 7 Nebraska (Nebraska by 16). Texas won, 20-16
Dec. 7, 2013, at No. 9 Baylor (Baylor by 16). Texas lost, 30-10
Saturday, vs. No. 7 Baylor (Baylor by 15). Kickoff at 2:30 p.m.
Dec. 30, 2013, vs. No. 10 Oregon (Oregon by 1). Texas lost, 30-7
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