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2013 Cotton Bowl Picks: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M Betting Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 12/12/2012

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Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel

A traditional Big 12 rivalry will be renewed in this season’s AT&T Cotton Bowl when the Oklahoma Sooners clash with the Texas A&M Aggies at Cowboys Stadium on Friday, Jan.4. This potential ‘instant classic’ between two of the most prolific offenses in the nation is slated to kick off at 8 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.

Oklahoma came into this season with serious national title expectations, but they crashed and burned early in the year with a stunning 24-19 loss to then-No.15 Kansas State as a 15.5-point home favorite. The Sooners only other loss this season came at the hands of No.1 Notre Dame as 10.5-point favorites at home to finish 10-2 straight up. They did not fare so well against the spread this season with a 6-6 record overall.

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Texas A&M’s first year in the SEC was certainly a memorable one that was capped off with the biggest upset of the season in college football: a 29-24 shocker over then-No.1 Alabama as a 13.5-point road underdog. Overall, the Aggies went 6-2 SU in their first SEC-West campaign and 10-2 SU (7-5 ATS) overall.

Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M Betting Storylines

Before the season started, this was supposed to be head coach Bob Stoop’s return to the top of the college world and quarterback Landry Jones’ run to a Heisman Trophy. While it is hard to call a 10-win season a failure, both Stoops and Jones fell well short of these lofty expectations. Nonetheless, they still bring a very high-powered offensive attack into this showdown with an average of 40.3 points a game. Landry threw for 3,989 yards and 29 touchdowns while completing a very respectable 65.5 percent of his throws.

The Oklahoma defense remained solid for most of the season, but it took on water down the stretch by giving up 34 points to Baylor, 49 points to West Virginia and 48 points in a thrilling overtime victory over in-state rival Oklahoma State. Overall, it is ranked 43rd in the country in points allowed by giving up an average of 24.2 points a game.

The Aggies started the season with a 20-17 loss to Florida as one-point home underdogs but turned that disappointing setback into a five-game winning streak before coming up just short in a five-point loss to LSU. All the while the legend of Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel began to grow week after week. Everyone in the nation knew who Johnny Football was after the freshman quarterback led his team to that legendary victory over the Crimson Tide. Manziel went on to win the Heisman Trophy behind opening-day odds too high to calculate.

Fueled by Manziel’s 3,419 passing yards and 24 touchdown throws combined with another 1,181 yards and 19 scores on the ground, Texas A&M has been able to average 44.8 points a game this season, which is the third-highest total in the country. The Aggies’ defense did its part all year long by holding teams to an average of just 22.5 points a game.

Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M Cotton Bowl Betting Odds and Trends

BetOnline Pointspread: Texas A&M -4.5
Bet Online Total Line: 72

The Sooners are 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral-site games but just 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a SU win. The total has gone “over” in four of their last five games played in January.

The Aggies are 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl games and 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games played at a neutral site. The total has stayed “under” in five of their last seven neutral-site games.

Head-to-head, Oklahoma has won eight of the last nine meetings SU, including a 41-25 victory last season as a 13.5-point home favorite. The Sooners have a slight 5-4 edge ATS over the last nine games and the total stayed under the last two times they met.

2013 Cotton Bowl Picks: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M Predictions

If you look over the past trends for both teams as well as the head-to-head matchups, they certainly paint a bright picture for Oklahoma. However, you can pretty much throw all of them out the window in this matchup. Texas A&M has already proven it can stand up to and beat the best teams in the country, while the Sooners have to question how another BCS title run slipped away. This will be a great, hard-fought contest that will undoubtedly go down to the wire, but count on one more sterling performance by Johnny Football this season to help deliver a heavily-coveted victory over the Sooners that covers the 4.5-point spread.

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