The betting markets claim that the Texas Longhorns are back for real this time

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Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) looks for a receiver during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against TCU on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Stephen Spillman)

The Texas Longhorns have become familiar with the preseason hype machine leading up to each football season. Year after year, they find themselves facing varying levels of expectations that don’t always translate into success on the football field.

However, even the staunchest critics of Texas might find it hard to deny that this time, there’s a distinct difference in the air.

For starters, the Longhorns have secured the top position in this year’s Big 12 preseason poll. This achievement holds special significance as it’s the first time they’ve earned such a distinction since the conference did away with divisions back in 2011. This achievement is even more notable considering that the Big 12 now comprises a hefty 14 teams, underscoring its significance.

The betting markets are aligned with this sentiment, projecting Texas as the favorite to clinch the Big 12 title, which would be the team’s first crown since 2005. At FanDuel Sportsbook, Texas holds +100 odds to emerge as the Big 12 champion, indicating a 50% implied probability.

Surveying the landscape of Texas’ key competitors within the conference, a noticeable drop-off from the top contenders becomes evident. Oklahoma trails with odds of +420, followed by last year’s league victor, Kansas State, with odds of +550. No other team features odds better than 11/1 according to FanDuel.

Considering the landscape, it might be a prudent strategy for bettors to place their bets on Texas at +100 to secure the Big 12 victory. The team’s chances of at least reaching the Big 12 championship game in Arlington appear promising. At that point, bettors could potentially hedge their bets, as Texas would likely be a minus-odds favorite to win the final game.

Nonetheless, there are numerous avenues to capitalize on Texas’ potential. The Longhorns have a win total of 9.5 games, with the over favored at -140 and the under offered at +114. In 11 out of their 12 games, Texas is projected to be the favored side, the exception being a road clash against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Texas’ quarterback, Quinn Ewers, holds odds of +1200 to claim the Heisman Trophy, trailing only last year’s victor, Caleb Williams (+500), and Jayden Daniels (+1000) within the broader scope of college football. 

In his debut collegiate season last year, Ewers threw for 2,177 yards and 15 touchdowns. FanDuel has introduced season-long passing prop bets of 26.5 touchdowns and 2,900.5 yards for Ewers in 2023.

Ewers’ primary target in the passing game, Xavier Worthy, starts the year as a contender for an award, as well. The Fred Biletnikoff Award, recognizing the top receiver in college football annually, sees Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. leading with +200 odds to secure the honor.

Worthy is tied for the second-best odds in this category, according to the latest FanDuel odds. His odds of +1200 to win the award translate to a potential payout of $1,200 on a $100 bet. Worthy’s performance last season included 60 receptions for 760 yards and nine touchdowns, earning him a second-team All-Big 12 selection in 2022 by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.

Looking at the grandest aspirations, Texas stands as a legitimate contender for a College Football Playoff (CFP) berth and even a potential national championship. Their odds of making the CFP are listed at +320, positioning them sixth behind Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama and USC.

As of early August, Texas holds odds of 25/1 to win the national championship.

Texas is back, indeed.

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