The Oklahoma Sooners enter 2017 as two-time defending champions of the Big 12, and despite the head coaching change, they're big favorites to make it three in a row.
However, unlike the previous two seasons, OU will have to win an extra game this year as the Big 12 brings back a conference championship game, matching the top two teams in the final regular season standings.
With a few weeks to go before the opening weekend, the Sooners top the odds to win the Big 12 championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com at a price of -120 (wager $120 to win $100). Last year OU won the Big 12 as a -140 favorite.
The Sooners return 16 starters this season, led by Heisman candidate quarterback Baker Mayfield (+750 on the Heisman Trophy odds) and the entire offensive line. But they must replace running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, wide receiver Dede Westbrook and head coach Bob Stoops, who unexpectedly stepped down this spring.
Oklahoma will also play at Baylor, at Kansas State and at Oklahoma State as well as take on Texas in Dallas.
Those OSU Cowboys sit as the second choice on the board at +300. Oklahoma State returns most of its key skill position players, led by QB Mason Rudolph (+2000 on the Heisman board), running back Justice Hill (1,142 rushing yards as a freshman last season) and wide receiver James Washington (1,380 yards receiving last year). And it hosts the Bedlam showdown with OU in Stillwater.
Texas, for its first season under new head coach Tom Herman, is the third pick at +500. The Longhorns, almost unbelievably, have missed a bowl the last two seasons but return 17 starters for this year.
Kansas State, with 14 starters back from a team that went 6-3 in the Big 12 last year, is getting +600 odds. TCU, also with 17 returning starters, follows at +1200, while West Virginia, with only eight starters back, is at +2000.
Rounding out the board is Baylor, trying to play its way out of a hole under new coach Matt Ruhle, is listed at +3300, with Texas Tech at +5000 and Iowa State at +10000. And if anybody is interested in throwing some money into the wind, Kansas can be had at +50000.
For more on Big 12 odds, check out the OddsShark Big 12 2017 Season Betting Preview.