Big 12 conference action heats up Saturday as the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) visit the Baylor Bears (3-1, 3-1) in a key Week 4 matchup. The Cowboys remained unbeaten with a lopsided 63-7 victory over the FCS Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions as massive 54.5-point chalk. Meanwhile, the Bears opened their conference schedule by knocking off Iowa State 31-24 as 2.5-point road underdogs.
Oklahoma State vs Baylor Opening Odds
On the heels of their upset victory over the Cyclones, the Baylor Bears have gained momentum at the sportsbooks, where they have climbed to 2.5-point home favorites since opening as slim 1-point chalk. The total has been on the decline since opening at 56, dipping to its current position at 54.5.
Saturday afternoon’s matchup will mark the third meeting between these rivals since October 2021. The teams split their two meetings last season, capped by the Bears’ 21-16 upset victory in the Big 12 championship game as 7-point road underdogs. Overall, Baylor has taken seven of 11 from the Cowboys, including four of five on home turf.
The Cowboys have emerged as the highest-scoring team in the nation during their 3-0 start, averaging 51.7 points per game. However, they have seen the OVER pay out just twice in their first three games and six times in their past 13 overall.
Cowboys Scoring Early And Often
The Cowboys scored at will in last week’s date with Arkansas-Pine Bluff, compiling a 49-7 lead by halftime and coasting the rest of the way. That fast start featured touchdowns resulting from a blocked punt and a blocked field-goal attempt. However, the team also gave up the ball on a fumble and an interception, the latter which the Golden Lions converted into their lone score of the game.
Apart from spotting Arizona State a brief 3-0 lead in their 34-17 win in Week 2, the Cowboys have not trailed this season. Plenty of credit must go to quarterback Spencer Sanders, who has connected on 10 touchdown passes against just one pick while adding three scoring runs.
Dominic Richardson has spearheaded the Cowboys’ ground attack. The junior rusher was used sparingly in last week’s win over the Golden Lions after compiling 131 yards and rushing for his second score of the season in the team’s Week 2 win over Arizona State.
Bears Benefit From Early-Season Loss To BYU
Chastened by a 26-20 double-overtime road loss to BYU in Week 2, the Bears responded with a steady performance in last week’s victory over Iowa State. Baylor seized the momentum by scoring first and successfully stymied the Cyclones’ bid to set the pace with a pair of second-quarter scores that gave them a lead they would not relinquish.
The Bears’ business-like approach comes in stark contrast to their date with BYU in which they struggled to contain a scrappy Cougars offense that took advantage of the limited opportunities they were provided.
The BYU defense also caused headaches for Blake Shapen, racking up four sacks and allowing the Bears signal-caller to complete just one pass the rest of the way after Baylor tied the game in the second quarter.
Oklahoma State: Keys To Win
Now faced with their toughest opponent so far this season, the Cowboys must prove their early-season scoring explosion is no fluke. That means doing a better job of setting the tone, something that they struggled to do against Arizona State. The Cowboys also need Spencer Sanders to shake off his historical struggles vs Baylor – he has thrown 10 picks and only five touchdown passes over four career appearances against the Bears.
Baylor: Keys To Win
The challenge facing the Bears is to maintain the momentum gained from last week’s win at Iowa State. Shapen’s ability to lead the offense to scores in each of their first three possessions set the Cyclones back on their heels, while a pair of timely interceptions after recess sealed the win. However, the Bears can’t afford to underestimate a Cowboys pass defense that has piled up nine sacks and four picks to date.