Regular Season Win Totals Pick: Texas Tech UDR 6.5

Texas Tech UDR 6.5 @ +105

I realize football is a team sport, but Texas Tech’s hopes in 2016 really do rest on the shoulders of one player: QB Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes was an overlooked recruit who turned superstar helming Kliff Kingsbury’s high-octane offense. Mahomes really is the juice that makes the Tech offense go. If you doubt me…just compare Tech’s 4-8 season in 2014 without Mahomes, to Tech’s 7 win season in2015 season with him.

In 2016, Tech will need Mahomes Houdini-like mobility and passing arm even more than it did last season. This year, Tech loses its best rusher in DeAndre Washington (1,492 Yards and 14 TDs) and its best Receiver Jakeem Grant (1,268 Yards and 10 TDs). In addition, Tech will be revamping its OL. Tech had better hope Mahomes stays healthy. If he gets injured, the bottom will fall out.

Tech’s defense in 2015 was absolutely horrendous. It could be even worse this year considering how departures on the DL have created depth issues. The key question for the Tech defense will be whether new transfers Ondre Pipkins (Michigan) and Kolin Hill (Notre Dame) can make an immediate impact. I’m wagering that they won’t – and that Techs defense will be just as bad – if not worse – than last season.

The key for Tech’s season is to get off to a fast start. Kliff Kingsbury’s teams have faded in each of his three seasons at Tech going only 6-12 over the second half of the regular season. This pattern should continue due to acute depth issues on the OL and DL that will become a major factor as the season wears on.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the schedule:

L -@ Az State
W -La Tech
W -Kansas
T – @ Kansas State
T – West Virginia
L – Oklahoma
L – Texas
L – @Oklahoma State
T – @Iowa State
T – Baylor

3 Wins, 5 Losses, 4 Toss Ups

Key Game to hit this wager: @ Arizona State. Tech is not built to last an entire season, and I fully expect them to fade in the latter half of the year. But if the Red Raiders roll into Tempe and beat the Sun Devils, they will likely be 4-0 going into the “Toss Up” stretch of games against Kansas State and West Virginia.

Freebie: Baylor. Baylor torched Tech last season but I have the Bears listed as a “Toss up” game simply because of the chaos surrounding the Bears program. If Briles were returning this year, this game would likely be a rout. Tech could pick up an upset here if Baylor turns out to be a head case.

Landmine: @Iowa State. Tech is not a 2nd half of the season kind of team. Iowa State is tough at home. If Tech is depleted by the end of the season, the Cyclones could pick up a win.

Special Note: This wager is difficult to find at most books. I finally found it at Circus Circus which partners with the MGM Grand.