Oklahoma Sooners Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
If you asked me off the top of my head how long Baker Mayfield was Oklahoma's quarterback I would say at least seven years. Maybe nine. He was one of those guys who seemed to be around forever. And while it wasn't that long, he sure found a heck of a way to go out. Heisman winner. Playoff berth, and a near semifinal loss in an epic matchup. Now the team has to move on from him, and Lincoln Riley needs to prove he really is the great coach he looked like in his debut and not just a guy who was in the right place at the right time. It's a season of real and significant change in Norman but one that should see them at least win the Big 12 and perhaps return to the playoff if all goes as it could.
2017 in a Nutshell
After a soft opener against UTEP, the team made a serious statement in Week 2, not just beating second-ranked Ohio State but destroying them. It was thoroughly impressive. They rolled through two more games but then they hit a speedbump. Iowa State came to Norman and stunned the Sooners. It was rough, but at least Oklahoma didn't let it bother them. They didn't lose again in the regular season, racking up wins against teams like Texas, No, 11 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, and No. 8 TCU. Then they beat TCU again to win the first Big 12 title game since 2010. That earned them a playoff berth against Georgia in the Rose Bowl, and that was the best game of the entire season for my money. It was a bloody, thrilling battle that Georgia finally won in double overtime. It was not the end they were hoping for, but they wound up ranked third in the country, so they couldn't be too disappointed.
Key Additions and Departures
Mayfield is the obvious starting spot here. He's a big loss, but at least the team has a safety net. Kyler Murray is ready to take over for his last year of football before he heads to his lucrative pro baseball career. Murray will be pressed by sophomore Austin Kendall, so depth is solid enough. Also gone on defense are key pieces like All-American tight end Mark Andrews, halfback workhorse Dimitri Flowers, All-American left tackle Orlando Brown, and center Erick Wren. They have excellent depth, though - particularly on the line - so the impact should be acceptable as long as Murray is ready for prime time.
On defense they lose a starter on the line, but they have fine depth. The loss of All-American Ogbonnia Okoronkwo at linebacker is a blow, but depth is solid there and in the secondary as well. Talent isn't a problem for the team on defense and hasn't been on paper for a while. But since Mike Stoops took over this defense 11 years ago the team has not been good enough on that side of the ball. The story on defense this year could be not who has left but that Stoops still hasn't left. Luckily, playing defense isn't as important in the Big 12 as it would be in any other conference.
Biggest Area of Concern
We just covered it, but it has to be the defense. It just hasn't been as good as it should be, and the leadership is the same. It's a problem, and the defense would ideally do more than it has now that Mayfield isn't around to perform heroics.
Oklahoma Sooners Schedule Analysis
In a 10-team conference the schedule is basically the same every year - it's just about where the games are played. They get an early shot at revenge after that loss to Iowa State last year, and aside from that road game they play at Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia, with Texas at a neutral site as always. The nonconference schedule opens with a potentially risky game against Lane Kiffin and his Florida Atlantic squad, and then they are up against Chip Kelly and his UCLA Bruins team that should be a long way from good. Army is the third game. Those games are mostly interesting, but Oklahoma should win all three. It's a very manageable schedule, and if Oklahoma does falter then the schedule won't be to blame.
2018-19 Oklahoma Sooners Betting Odds and Trends
Oklahoma is the co-fifth choice to win the national title at +2000 along with Michigan and Washington, behind only Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia. They are favored to win the Big 12 at +135, with Texas next at +290. Murray hasn't even been named starter yet, but he is already the co-fifth choice to win the Heisman at +1600. The season win total sits at 10, with the "over" solidly favored.
2018-19 Oklahoma Sooners Predictions and College Football Picks
It would go down as a major disappointment if the Sooners didn't win their conference. The offense is sound, and Murray is talented. The defense isn't going to be worse than last year, and on paper it perhaps has more talent. And the conference isn't dramatically better than it was last year. They are a likely conference winner and a fringe playoff performer. The odds are fair but short of value.
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