College Football Picks for Big 12 Championship: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma Predictions
by Robert Ferringo - 12/4/2010
How about one for the road?
Two of the most accomplished and revered programs in college football history are going to line up this weekend for one last tussle as conference rivals. No. 13 Nebraska and No. 9 Oklahoma have been doing battle since 1912, from the 1971 Game of the Century to the Big Eight to the Big 12, and this will be the last matchup before the Huskers bolt to the Big Ten Conference next year.
Fittingly, such a meaningful and unforgettable rivalry will end with a championship on the line. Oklahoma and Nebraska will meet at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Cowboys Stadium to battle for the Big 12 Championship. The winner will leave with a trip to a BCS bowl game and a sense of nice-to-know-you accomplishment.
Nebraska leads the all-time series 44-38-3 and they won the last meeting, a 10-3 slugfest last November, as a four-point underdog. That win snapped a four-game losing streak in the series and helped propel the Huskers to last year’s Big 12 Championship Game. They lost that game in heartbreaking style, 13-12, losing on the final play of the game against Texas.
Nebraska has fallen just twice this year, losing 9-6 at Texas A&M two weeks ago and falling 20-13 at home to Texas in October. They were the preseason favorites to win the conference crown and they will again rely on their long-time weapons – a pulverizing running game and punishing defense – to carry them through this one.
Oklahoma didn’t wrap up a trip to Texas until last week. They went on the road and upset in-state rival Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Game, giving the Sooners three straight wins both straight up and against the spread. Their season started with national title expectations, but seemed to fizzle during the middle of Big 12 play with losses to Missouri and Texas A&M.
However, this team is playing its best football at the right time. They have scored 43 points or more in five of their last seven games and their No. 4-rated passing game is one of the most lethal weapons in the nation. Oklahoma’s No. 64-ranked defense leaves a little something to be desired. But they are still good enough to go out and get stops when they need to.
The drama this week surrounds Nebraska freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez. The team’s leading passer and scorer has been dealing with ankle issues all week and didn’t practice until Thursday. No matter what the reports between now and then say: he is playing.
Nebraska vs. Oklahoma Big 12 Championship Game Betting Odds
Oklahoma is a solid favorite in this game, laying out 4.5 points to Nebraska, according to college football odds. The number opened at 4.0 but has been bet off that key number. I’m guessing the movement had a lot to do with the iffy status of Martinez, but I also don’t expect to see a buy-back down to 4.0. The total is firm at 54.0.
Nebraska vs. Oklahoma Betting Trends
Home team is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 meetings.
‘Under’ is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings.
Favorite is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
Sooners are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Sooners are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
Sooners are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Cornhuskers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog.
Cornhuskers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in December.
Cornhuskers are 22-46-2 ATS in their last 70 games after a win of more than 20 points.
Cornhuskers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a win.
Nebraska vs. Oklahoma College Football Picks for Big 12 Championship Game
This one is a clash of the titans, and if I’m betting on this one I am betting on the ‘under’. Last year’s Texas team was just as electrifying on offense as this Sooners squad and Nebraska held them to just 13 points. There were just 25 points scored in last year’s title game and just 13 points scored last year when Nebraska and Oklahoma squared off.
The two teams combined for 92 points last week and both went ‘over’ the total in their respective games. Big 12 ball is a lot of fun-and-gun. But with a title on the line I expect both teams to play things a little safer.
Also, both defenses have combined to allow a combined average of just 34 points per game in their last three and just an average of 39 combined points overall this season.
Only three of the last 15 meetings have seen more than 55 combined points scored and there are several key trends here pointing toward a lower scoring contest. Let’s look for an old-fashioned slugfest here and for this one to play in the 40s.
Robert Ferringo is a writer and a professional sports handicapper for Doc’s Sports. You can sign up for his college football and NFL picks and get more information here.
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