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Oklahoma vs. Cincinnati

Betting Line: Oklahoma -13.5 o/u 52

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9/25/10

Ever had a really good weekend then felt terrible on Monday morning? That's kind of how fans of the Cincinnati Bearcats feel right about now. They had a wonderful three day weekend (three seasons), but Monday has arrived and the hangover is harsh. They are 1-2 and have lost to two teams which they would have, and in one case, did beat the year before. They now find themselves hosting the Oklahoma Sooners at the Bengals Paul Brown Stadium. The Sooners didn't have their greatest year in 2009, but looked poised for a BCS Title in 2010. They have disposed of Utah State, Florida State, and Air Force this year. It looks like this will be a true battle of David and Goliath.

The Cincinnati offense has a surplus of skill players, but that hasn't mattered in 2010 because the patchwork offensive line has been poor. 2nd Team Big East G Jason Kelce and 2nd Team Big East G Alex Hoffman are doing their job, but Ts Sam Griffin and CJ Cobb have been getting crushed by opposing DE's. If the offensive line shapes, then points will go on the board in a hurry. TE Ben Guidugli is one of the best in the nation at his position. QB Zach Collaros is a true leader and has yet to be rattled despite the hardships of the young season. RB Isaiah Pead has been hindered by injuries, but anytime you have a RB that broke all of Archie Griffin's high school records you know you have a weapon.

The Bearcats defense is a work in progress. They allowed 28 points to Fresno State and 30 to NC State. Both games were on the road. We can expect improvement from the young secondary which features 2009's second leading tackler JK Schaffer. Cincinnati ranked #3 in the FBS in tackles for a loss in 2009. HC Butch Jones has put an emphasis on being physical. With a starting defense that features 5 sophomores, and 5 juniors, we can expect mistakes, but we can also expect them to get better. Trouble is, they will have to do it in a hurry to compete with a behemoth like Bob Stoop's Oklahoma team.

The biggest problem we can find with Oklahoma football this year is that they have a tendency to "play with their food". They're too good to only beat a team like Air Force 27-24, and Utah State 31-24. They really showed up for a big game when they beat Florida State 47-17. The question here is, do they think enough of the Bearcats to play hard for the entire game and cover an 18 point spread? Or will they play down to their competition? 

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QB Landry Jones is having a great season thus far, completing 72/117 for 843 yards and 7 TDs. Receiver Ryan Broyles has 31 catches for 380 yards and 3 TDs. The running game isn't missing a beat just because Jones is on fire. DeMarco Murray has a whopping 371 yards and 6 TDs. Jones was sacked three times against Utah State, and once against Air Force. The offensive line has to protect him because it only takes one good hit to put him out for a while. All in all, this offense is rock solid and will have no problem getting points over these Bearcats.

Oklahoma's defense recorded 4 TOs so far this year. They've got 4 sacks also. They've allowed at least 320 yards in every game, and 400+ in two games. That could be a problem in the future. To stop the Bearcats they will need to keep the pass rush on and try to crumble the Cincinnati offensive line.

Let's look at a few quick reasons to like Cincinnati here:

1) Oklahoma is 69-2 at home under Bob Stoops but yet 59-27 away from home

2) Oklahoma got by Air Force and Utah State by just 3 and 7 points

3) The big look ahead factor - Oklahoma has Texas on deck.

4) Cinci playing at Bengals Stadium with a chance to fix their broken season

Here's something else for those looking to back Cinci. Betting percentages are a fairly new took for bettors. These percentages have only been widely available for a few years now, however, sharp bettors have used them for many years as part of their arsenal. These percentages tell you the percentage of action on each team in any particular game and are available from odds providers such as Sports Options.

When you look at a game like this, and see that 80% of the betting action is on the Sooners, and yet the line moved in favor of Cincinnati, opening at -18 and dropping all the way down to as low as -13.5 at some sportsbooks, it's generally a very good indication that some very sharp bettors have wagered on Cincinnati.

But what you also need to note, is that those sharp bettors have sucked the value out of the Cinci side. Following along now is likely to lead a bettor to ruins over the long haul, as what will happen more times than not, is the sharp bettors will win their bets at +18 and +17.5 while everyone else loses when Oklahoma wins by 17.

We're going to side with the Sooners here and grab the best number. It's not a blind play. The Sooners should dominate. Football games are won in the trenches. An Oklahoma Sooner offensive and defensive line should dominate a Big East offensive or defensive line, especially one in shambles. True, that hasn't been the case for the Sooners in 2 out of 3 games, and we also have the look ahead factor with Texas on deck, but then again we also have a Cinci team that lost to Fresno and NC State here.

The cream should rise to the top when this one is in the books. Oklahoma -13.5

 


 

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