Oklahoma State Cowboys Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
This team is not perfect. Far from it, in fact. But Mike Gundy clearly likes to have fun, and increasingly he is making his team a whole lot of fun to watch. They go for the big play. They pass like crazy. They take risks. They probably aren't as good as a team like LSU, but they are always fun to watch while LSU often makes you want to poke your own eyes out to end the suffering. What they need to do, though, is find a way to be both fun and successful. They have a bit of an opportunity. Their rivals in Norman are a better team, but with a shocking late coaching change to deal with they could be vulnerable. This may be the best look at glory that the Cowboys have had.
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2016 in a Nutshell
We'll start with the good. They had nice wins against Pitt, Texas and West Virginia, and they absolutely humiliated a pretty good Colorado team in their bowl game. Then comes the bad, but predictable to an extent - they lost at both Baylor and Oklahoma and perhaps weren't as close as they ideally would have been in either game. And finally the truly frustrating - they lost a stunner at home to Central Michigan, but the outcome was marred by an officiating decision that was later admitted to be a mistake. Ultimately it didn't mean much because they lost two more games, but the difference between nine regular-season wins and 10 is psychologically massive.
Key Additions and Departures
The team got a good break up front on offense. Left tackle Victor Salako is gone and left a pretty big hole in what is otherwise a solid line. To replace him, though, they got Aaron Cochran as a transfer from Cal - a guy who has already started 16 games. They lost some key depth at running back and will likely rely on a true freshman as at least a backup. That would be more of a concern for a team that isn't so dependent on the passing game. And on that front the news is very good. Mason Rudolph is back at the helm, and James Washington has a chance to be one of the top receivers in the country this year. Heck, he already is - he has 11 100-yard games to his credit in two years. And they get more help, too. Marcell Ateman missed all of last year with a foot injury, but he's back and he's dangerous, and Tyron Johnson is a former five-star recruit who has transferred in from LSU - a truly awful place for a receiver to be over the last few years.
The defense is a different story. It's been a long time since this defense was any good, and they have a lot of change to deal with. Two linemen are gone as are three members of the secondary. This is the fifth year under the same defensive coordinator, so there are plenty of questions, and the guys who have to step up aren't exactly blue bloods. All in all it's tough to expect massive improvement - or, really, much more than we have seen the last few years. And that's not good.
The recruiting class is just barely within the Top 40. Not surprisingly, the best two players are both receivers - if I wanted to show off my skills I'd want to play in a system like this, too.
Oklahoma State Cowboys Schedule Analysis
There are three types of games on this schedule. Eight of the 12 regular-season games are very likely wins - if they aren't then the Cowboys are doomed. The game at Pitt in Week 3, and against TCU the next week, are tough, but Oklahoma State should have the edge, and they need to win both handily if they want to make it as far as they could this year. And then there are the two big ones - the seventh game at Texas, and a home game against Oklahoma two weeks later. Both games are very tough and are going to make the difference between a decent season and a very good one. They need at least 11 wins to have a chance of big things - and they need to beat Oklahoma.
2017-18 Oklahoma State Cowboys Betting Odds and Trends
The Cowboys are at +3300 to win the national title at BetOnline , which places them in a group of squads behind the Top 12 contenders. That seems fair in a relative sense - they are in a tough spot, but if things break their way they have the schedule required to make some real noise. They are the second choice to win the Big 12 at +350, but they are far behind the favored Sooners at -135. Rudolph is at +2500 to win the Heisman, which makes him the 12th choice on the board. I like that price.
The team was solid to bet on last year but perhaps not quite as good as would be ideal. They were 8-5 ATS, and despite the strong offense and weak defense they went "over" only one more time than they went "under" the total.
2017-18 Oklahoma State Cowboys Predictions and College Football Picks
If I close my eyes I can imagine this team getting lucky, playing great, and doing some real damage. They could win the Big 12 if everything went perfectly. But then I open my eyes and reality sets in. The defense wasn't good last year, and I don't expect it to be any better this year. The offense will be good - potentially really good. That will be enough to win a lot of games but not enough games to break through to the big time. In other words, I expect this year to look a lot like last year did.
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