Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns Expert Picks with Odds and Betting Predictions
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns, Saturday Oct. 14, 3:30 p.m. ET
This game gets the attention here and in the media generally because of the reputation and the history. It has been a great spectacle and a greater rivalry over the years. In recent years, though, it has been a letdown. And while there are some reasons for hope this year, the last week has dulled things somewhat.
Instead of looking to embarrass a new coach, Oklahoma has to figure out what the heck happened last week and how they can avoid it happening again. The Sooners were favored by 31 against Iowa State - a team that Texas had beaten by 10 the week before. And when the dust settled the Cyclones had scored the last two touchdowns to shock the world and win by seven points.
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Some of the explanation for what happened is simply that college football is crazy. There is more to it than that, though. And this is the first adversity that new head coach Lincoln Riley has faced with the team, so we can't be sure what to expect. A big part of our job here is to figure out what happened, whether it will happen again, and what it means for this game.
Oklahoma vs. Texas Betting Storylines
Baker Mayfield has nothing to apologize for. He is completing almost 75 percent of his passes this year, and he has looked like the game has slowed down so much for him at this point in his career that it's almost unfair. Against Iowa State he completed 24 of 33 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns. That is something a team can certainly work with. It's the defense that has been the issue. It isn't the type that has been totally horrible - it's more of a slow bleed. With each passing game they have become more of a concern, to the point that they allowed 38 points against an Iowa State offense that isn't exactly dynamic. It's not as simple as saying that this unit is beyond hope, though. Against Ohio State the defense contained J.T. Barrett very well, and that set the tone of the game, so they do have something to work with. Texas has found something that can work reasonably well with Sam Ehlinger at quarterback, and Oklahoma's ability to gameplan for him will determine how this game turns out. That Iowa State game doesn't give us a lot of reason for confidence. Iowa State had to start Kyle Kempt at QB after starter Jacob Park couldn't go. Kempt is a senior who spent the first two years of his career at Oregon State and had thrown two passes total before this game. He completed 18 of 24 attempts for 343 yards and three touchdowns without a pick. That would qualify as a massacre from any QB, never mind one as inexperienced for this one on a pretty bad team.
In the eyes of many, the season ended for Texas as soon as they lost to Maryland in their opener. Since then, though, the impact of Tom Herman has quietly been evident. They have won three of four since, and the lone loss was in overtime against USC. They haven't exactly dominated powerful competition over that stretch, but wins are wins, and they are taking care of business in a way that we aren't used to seeing Texas do in recent years. Most striking has been that they showed absolutely no fear travelling to play a highly-ranked and very-heavily-hyped USC team as 17-point underdogs. That's a swagger that a team like this should have, but lately Mack Brown and Charlie Strong had robbed the school of that. It will certainly come in handy here.
Oklahoma vs. Texas Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with OU favored by 7.5 points, and that has since moved to eight . Oklahoma has drawn a small majority of the action in the game, so the line movement makes sense. We aren't likely to see a major swing barring a news development. The total opened at 62.5 and has slid up slightly to 64.5 in early action.
The Sooners are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games overall and 7-0 ATS in their last seven against teams with winning records. They have bounced back well from past setbacks - they are 26-11 ATS in their last 37 games following a straight up loss. The Longhorns are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral-site games. They are just 1-3-1 ATS in their last five conference games, though.
Oklahoma vs. Texas Predictions and Picks
I respect what Texas is doing and am bullish about their future. But I think Oklahoma is going to be angry, and I expect them to build off of what happened last week. The line is smaller than it would have been without the loss by a significant margin, so the value is here. The Sooners are the pick.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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