The upcoming Big 12 football season will be unlike any other. The conference will boast a record 14 members in 2023 with four new schools joining the fray — BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. This year’s expanded roster will be a one-time billing, however, as flagship members Oklahoma and Texas enter their final year in the league before departing for the SEC.
The conference will abandon the round-robin format it has used since 2011, when its membership decreased to 10 teams following the departures of Colorado and Nebraska. In other words, not all paths to the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington, Texas, will be equal. That means oddsmakers have to factor strength of schedule into their decisions.
Caesars Sportsbook already released odds for the 2023 Big 12 Championship, and it’s no surprise that the league’s two biggest brands — the Sooners and Longhorns — lead the pack ahead of their final rodeo in the conference they’ve called home for 27 years. While Oklahoma rattled off six straight Big 12 titles from 2015-21, Texas has not won the league since 2009, and neither has been to Arlington over the past two years.
Here is the current Big 12 pecking order courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook, along with some analysis in a conference that is no stranger to parity.
Best bet — Kansas State (+500): Last year Kansas State won its first outright Big 12 championship since 2003. With the parity at play in the Big 12, it’s hard to ignore the value the defending champs bring to the table compared to betting favorites Texas and Oklahoma. K-State has veterans returning on both sides of the football, including its entire starting offensive. That bodes well for quarterback Will Howard as he looks to build off a breakout campaign. He’ll be…