Free College Football Picks: Texas Tech at Oklahoma Odds and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 10/24/2013
Before the season started the likely storyline for this game seemed clear. It seemed like we would quite likely see an undefeated team trying to stay that way against a feisty-but-flawed opponent. What few could possibly have imagined, though, is that the unbeaten squad would be Texas Tech or that Oklahoma would be reeling after a sound beating by the mess that is masquerading as Texas these days. The Red Raiders are one of the bigger surprises of the season to this point, but this is by far the biggest test they have faced so far. Oklahoma is dealing with far more injuries than would be ideal, but even with that they still have a major advantage in experience, depth and skill. Up to this point, though, that kind of thing hasn’t seemed to bother Texas Tech at all.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma Betting Storylines
If this was a normal situation we would start the analysis by looking at the quarterbacks, and we would dwell on the fact that Oklahoma is starting a junior while Texas Tech is likely to start their backup — and a freshman backup at that. It should be a mismatch, but for a number of reasons it hasn’t worked out that way. For starters, while Blake Bell entered the season with some minor Heisman hype, he has only been adequate. His yards per attempt have been an underwhelming 5.1 over his last three games, and he has three picks and just two scores over that time. He was a liability against Texas, and he has generally not been very good. On the other side, Kliff Kingsbury has shown a remarkable ability to transform incredibly raw freshmen into fearless pass-hurling supermen. Starter Baker Mayfield has averaged nearly 300 yards per game in five starts. Davis Webb took over full-time two games back when Mayfield was hurt, and he has averaged 439 yards and 2.5 touchdowns with just 0.5 picks per game — and against respectable opponents in Iowa State and West Virginia. When he was playing, Kingsbury was always accused of having inflated numbers because he was a system QB. While that may be true, he is even better at designing and implementing a system than playing in one.
Where things get interesting is that Oklahoma has allowed the fewest passing yards in the country — just 149.7 per game. It will truly be strength against strength here. While Oklahoma should have an edge, some concern can be raised after looking back at the Texas game. Case McCoy isn’t a quarterback I have much respect for on the field, but he threw 59- and 38-yard TD passes en route to the win. While the big play through the air is far from a staple for Texas, it is what Texas Tech is looking for on pretty much every snap. That leaves Oklahoma vulnerable and makes things more interesting than they could otherwise be. Of course, Oklahoma held Jake Heaps and Kansas to just 16 yards or passing last week — but that’s Kansas, so they hardly count.
If Oklahoma has their way then what will determine the outcome of this game is their ability to move the ball on the ground. Texas Tech is a respectable 26th in the country at defending the run, but Oklahoma’s power offense runs for almost 230 yards per game and is far more proficient on the ground than Texas Tech has experienced in an opponent. The better Oklahoma can run, the more they can keep the ball out of the hands of Texas Tech — and out of the air. How you handicap this game, then, has a lot to do with how you expect Oklahoma to be able to run.
The older players on the Red Raiders are not going to be intimidated by the surroundings or the pressure of the atmosphere. In 2011 Oklahoma had won 39 straight games at home, and they were favored by 29 against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders threw for more than 450 yards and won, 41-38. That win was actually far more lopsided than it seemed — Texas Tech was up 41-24 before Oklahoma launched a late, desperate comeback attempt.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma College Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with the line as high as eight points, with Oklahoma favored at home. A small majority of bets have come in on Texas Tech, but that has led to a notably significant swing — the line has dropped through the key number of seven points and can now be found at 6.5 in many places. The total sits at 59.
Texas Tech has gone “over” the total in six of their last seven conference games and their last three games overall. The Sooners have not covered a spread in their last four games in October. The home team is 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings.
Free College Football Picks: Texas Tech at Oklahoma Predictions
This line move is a significant one in my eyes. If the Sooners had been giving up more than a touchdown then I would have been very tempted to gamble on Texas Tech. Less than a touchdown makes the Sooners the pick, though. I have a lot of respect for Kingsbury, and he will have some tricks up his sleeves for this one. Oklahoma’s pass defense is formidable, though, and their ability to run the ball will allow them to slow down the tempo of the game. Oklahoma will win and cover in a game that should be very interesting to watch.
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