The 2017 Texas Bowl will feature an old-school Big 12 matchup between the Texas Longhorns and Missouri Tigers. Game time is set for 9:00 EST on Wednesday, December 27 at NRG Stadium in Houston. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Oddsmakers view Missouri as 1.5-point favorites in this game. The over/under is set at 60 points. Click here for a full list of bowl game betting odds and links to game previews.

Texas Bowl Odds: Texas vs Missouri Line

The Longhorns endured a topsy-turvy season in Tom Herman’s first year in Austin. Despite competitive games with the likes of USC, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, Texas couldn’t quite pull off a signature win to put them back in the national headlines. They also lost games to in-state rivals TCU and Texas Tech.

Nevertheless, the Longhorns managed to finish the season 6-6, going 5-4 in Big 12 play. At season’s end, the Longhorns still don’t have clarity at the quarterback position between Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele. However, the Texas defense made massive strides over the course of the season, which should create some hope heading into next year.

For Missouri, 2017 was a season of two halves. The Tigers began the season 1-5, only to win their last six games to finish the season 7-5 and 4-4 inside the SEC. Of course, it’s worth pointing out that none of the teams Missouri beat this season are going to a bowl game. 

Regardless, a 7-5 season is a significant improvement over last year’s 4-8 record. A three-win improvement was enough to get head coach Barry Odom a two-year contract extension, which is well-deserved after leading the Tigers back to a bowl game after a two-year hiatus.

Obviously, these two schools have a lot of history with one another. Texas has dominated the series, although Missouri won the most recent meeting between these teams in 2011 before the Tigers left the Big 12 for the SEC.

Texas Bowl Free Pick Against the Spread: Texas +1.5

I’m not buying Missouri’s six-game winning streak to end the season. In fairness, Missouri quarterback Drew Lock had a record-breaking season with 43 touchdown passes, helping make the Tigers one of the best offensive teams in the country. But I’m still going to side with the better defensive team in this game, and that’s Texas.

Over their last six games, the Tigers mastered the art of scoring points against bad defenses. But when they played quality defensive teams early in the season, Missouri’s offense wasn’t all that impressive. For instance, the Tigers scored 13 points against South Carolina, three points against Purdue, and 14 against Auburn. I think the Texas defense is good enough to keep the Tigers under wraps.

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The Texas defense showed consistent improvement over the course of the season, and the Longhorns performed quite well against many of the better teams on their schedule. Only two teams eclipsed 30 points against Texas this season, and the last time it happened was early October. After facing potent offensive teams like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech, they’ll be prepared to face Missouri’s offense. I’d be surprised if the Tigers get anywhere close to 30 points in this game.

Obviously, that still gives the Texas offense a good amount of work to do in order to win this game. But even without knowing who will play quarterback, I think the Longhorns will have a good game against the Missouri defense. On the season, the Tigers gave up nearly 32 points per game, and that’s after beating up on weaker teams late in the season. Texas should have enough talent to move the ball against the Tigers.

Honestly, I’ve been far more impressed with Texas this season than Missouri. The Longhorns played a tougher schedule and beat three bowl teams this season, whereas the Tigers lucked into a bowl game with an easy schedule. Texas is more deserving of a bowl game and better prepared to beat a quality team than Missouri. That gives me confidence that the Longhorns will win this year’s Texas Bowl.