Free College Football Picks: Texas vs. Oklahoma Odds and Betting Predictions
Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners, Saturday Oct. 6, Noon ET
The Red River Shootout hasn't been particularly relevant for a few years now, but it remains one of the great rivalries, and this year's edition is better than it has been in a long time. Texas would love to have that opening loss at Maryland back, and that raised some early alarms for the team. But since then the team has looked very much like we expected it to in Year 2 of the Tom Herman regime, with nice wins against USC and TCU to their credit. They might not be back just yet, but they are certainly and clearly making their way out of the wilderness after a dark period in their history. And an upset win here would certainly signify that things are going to be alright in Austin.
Texas at Oklahoma Betting Storylines
A big piece of the success Texas has had this year is due to the emergence of Sam Ehlinger at quarterback. The Longhorns have struggled to find a guy under center since Colt McCoy, but they finally seem to have a good one here. The sophomore has thrown for nine touchdowns and just two picks and hasn't thrown an interception in his last 128 passes. He completed more than 80 percent of his passes last time out against Kansas State and has really found a groove. Oklahoma is good at a lot of things, but defending the pass is not one of them - they ranked 97th nationally in passing yards allowed. If Ehlinger can establish the pass early, then he has the ability to exploit this defense and to keep up with what is likely to be a strong Kyler Murray attack. Texas can, in other words, perhaps almost afford for this one to turn into a shootout.
You'll notice I wrote that Texas can "almost" afford to let this one become a shootout. They can only do so if they can do a better job of containing Murray than Baylor did last week. Murray was as close to perfect as a quarterback can be in that game - it was a truly stunning effort. He completed 17 of his 21 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns, and he capped that off by rushing for a touchdown as well. It's not often that a team loses the Heisman winner and No. 1 pick in the draft and you have to wonder if they are getting better quarterbacking the very next year, but that is where we are at with Oklahoma. Murray and coach Lincoln Riley are obviously soul mates, and what they are doing is working. Texas has been better than Oklahoma against the pass but still sits in the middle of the pack nationally, which isn't ideal. Oklahoma's game plan isn't exactly a mystery this year - they want to score more points than the other team can score. And they have been good at it - as long as the other team isn't a service academy with a wacky offense. This is the best team that they have faced so far this year by a fair margin, but Maryland scored 29 against Texas, so they are vulnerable. Ultimately, it's just not that tough to have a fair bit of faith in the Sooners on offense - and that is a problem for Herman and company.
Texas at Oklahoma Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Texas favored by 7.5 points, and after a little bit of slight bouncing around we find it widely still at that same number . A very slight majority of bets have been on the Longhorns, so we shouldn't expect dramatic shifts in the line barring any major news developments. The total opened at 60.5 and has climbed a point to 61.5.
The Longhorns are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games in October and 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral-site games. They are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 against teams with winning records. The Sooners are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 against teams with winning records. They are 6-2 ATS in their last eight conference games but just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 neutral-site games. Texas is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings between the team - all as underdogs.
Texas at Oklahoma Predictions and Picks
It's probably not the right thing to do, but I have convinced myself that I like Texas here. I have endless respect for Herman and think the team is moving in the right direction. Murray is very good, and he will have a solid day here. But Herman will have a few tricks up his sleeve to counter him - he beat Riley's offense a couple of years ago when he was with Houston. And Texas is going to be able to score against a weak defense. I still think Oklahoma is the more likely winner, but getting that extra hook on top of a touchdown as a margin of victory is very seductive. Texas is the underdog play.
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