Von Hagen likes Cyclones to return to Big 12 CG (-130)

Iowa St. TE Charlie Kolar is one of five Cyclones who garnered first-team All Big-12 honors in 2020 and are returning in 2021.

As sports betting continues to gain popularity across the country, sportsbooks are offering more options to their customers.

DraftKings currently has a market available specifically related to the Big 12 title game, where bettors are able to place a wager on which team reaches the contest.

Oklahoma is a heavy -450 favorite to appear in the game, which is understandable since the Sooners have won the last six conference titles. They are led by an explosive offense that is headlined by the Heisman Trophy favorite (Spencer Rattler).

While -450 might end up looking like a cheap price in the end, I am eyeing the second favorite to reach the Big 12 championship. Iowa State is currently listed at -130 to play in the title game, putting them ahead of Texas (+290), Oklahoma State (+380) and TCU (+550).

The Cyclones are coming off possibly the best season in school history and they return nearly everyone from that team. Head coach Matt Campbell has 19 of his 22 starters back for a season brimming with high expectations.

Iowa State finished ninth in the final rankings last season and now it has a realistic shot at a College Football Playoff berth. The Cyclones averaged 32.9 points per game and have all their key weapons back on offense. Quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall are both legitimate Heisman Trophy contenders.

BetOnline has Hall at 25/1 and Purdy at 28/1 to win the most coveted individual award in the sport. They are playing behind an offensive line that’s ranked fourth in the country in Phil Steele’s National Unit Rankings. Iowa State led the Big 12 with 6.8 yards per snap in conference games last season.

The Cyclones did not have many things to clean up offensively, but they did bring in transfer placekicker Andrew Mevis. He was a First Team All-Patriot League performer with Fordham in 2019, connecting on 15 of his 20 field goal attempts.

Defensively, Iowa State returns plenty of experience and depth. Linebacker Mike Rose is expected to be one of the best defensive players in the conference and defensive end Will McDonald had 10.5 sacks last season. The Cyclones held teams to 21.4 PPG in 2020.

I love the way the schedule is set up for Iowa State as well. The Cyclones are only projected to be underdogs in one game—they are listed as 7.5-point ‘dogs at Oklahoma on Nov. 20. A loss in that game should not be a big deal, because I am expecting the Sooners to be the other team in the conference championship.

The real contenders for knocking out Iowa State are Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU. However, the Cyclones are hosting all three of those teams this season, which is going to be a massive advantage in the race for second place in the conference.

BetOnline lists Iowa State at -7.5 against Texas on Nov. 6 in a game that could decide the Sooners’ opponent in December. The Cyclones have won the past three games in the series and the Longhorns are dealing with plenty of turnover. This should be a spot where experience alone is going to get the job done.

Iowa State has the best roster among the second tier of teams in the Big 12 and the schedule is aligned perfectly as far as those teams are concerned. DraftKings is offering a relatively cheap price on the experienced Cyclones to make another appearance in the conference title game.

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