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Oklahoma vs. Missouri

Betting Line Oklahoma -3

10/23/10

 

Key Release

 

One of the most important and profitable things you can do as a handicapper is to find teams that are flying under the radar, and capitalize on them before the rest of the betting public catches on. Every year here at Bettorsworld we manage to find a team or two that fits the bill, and we ride that team to a nice profit. One such team for us this year has been the Missouri Tigers. For the past two weeks we used Missouri as a Key Release and both times they not only won for us, they dominated.

Now we are in very interesting waters. The cat, or in this case, the Tiger, is half way out of the bag. We say halfway, because there is still some doubt out there among the betting public. Here's a team playing some dominating football and yet they were as much as a 4 point home underdog when Bookmaker.com posted the opening lines for this weeks action. That's understandable when you consider who they are playing and their history against that team.

The opponent is Oklahoma, and Oklahoma has had Missouri's number over the years. In fact they have won 19 of the last 20 games in the series, with Missouri's only win coming in 1998. Even in Missouri's 2007 12-2 season, who do you suppose they lost to, twice? Yep, Oklahoma. They lost 41-31 during the regular season and 38-17 in the Big 12 Title game. 2008 was even worse. Oklahoma won 62-21.

We often talk about talent gaps and why they exist in college football. This series is a perfect example. These two Big 12 schools are recruiting from the same talent pool. If you're a star high school football player from that part of the country, 9 out of 10 times you're going to choose Oklahoma over Missouri. That always ads to the magnitude of a game like this. A win does wonders for the recruiting process and the future of both programs.

If Missouri is going to break through and grab their 2nd win over Oklahoma in ages, now would look to be their best opportunity ever. Missouri has every conceivable motivational edge in this game, to go along with what looks like a very talented team. For starters, we have revenge multiplied by 19, or at least by 12, going back to 1998. It's a home game, in prime time, before a National TV audience and a rabid home crowd, as underdogs. It's also a game against a higher ranked opponent, much higher actually, where a win simply catapults Missouri to the top of the charts. The big question is, is Missouri a paper tiger? (no pun intended) or are they the real deal? Read on. 

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The Missouri offense is led by QB Blaine Gabbert. He doesn't get enough credit from the media, and he is good at what he does. The QB has 10 TD passes and 3 INTs this year. Hardly explosive numbers, but he is leading his team to victory. They have yet to face a tough defense, but the Tigers are consistently getting over 400 yards of offense. The line is doing a good job of protecting Gabbert, as he has only been sacked 9 times this year. It will be up to Gabbert and co. to exploit a raucous home field environment and get points on the board.

The Oklahoma Sooners offense is led by QB Landry Jones. The youngster is doing a good job, but he has room for improvement. He has a very strong arm and can burn a secondary. He has 14 TD passes and 3 INTs this year. Missouri is arguably the best defense he has faced this year. The Sooners will also get plenty of offensive production from RB DeMarco Murray. He's a strong runner and has been mentioned in Heisman talks. On the year he has 11 TDs, and 668 yards.

Back to the paper tiger question. No question Oklahoma has played a tougher schedule to date, with wins over Texas and a blowout win over a very good Florida State team. However, if you're looking for some holes in the Oklahoma armor, consider this. They gave up 454 yards to a Cincinnati team that we feel simply isn't much to write home about. Air Force and Utah State also managed over 400 yards offensively, and both of those games were close. Texas is not the Texas of old this year and that one was an 8 point win. So the Sooners are 6-0, but 4 of those wins were close games. Certainly not dominating.

Also consider that Air Force came within 3 of the Sooners. Air Force lost to a good San Diego State team last week, who lost to Missouri earlier in the year. Just an attempt to show that perhaps Missouri and Oklahoma aren't too far away from each other talent wise this season.

If Missouri were squeaking by on their way to 6-0, we'd buy into the paper tiger theory. But that's not the case. They are dominating. They field the best defense in the Big 12 at 10.8 points per game and held Texas AM to their lowest point total since 2008 last week while sacking QB Jerrod Johnson 7 times. Just when you thought the defense couldn't get any better, this week they get their top pass rusher back, Aldon Smith.

Missouri is balanced, playing well on both sides of the ball. They face an Oklahoma team that has proved more than once this year that they can be vulnerable. There's some holes for sure. With all of the motivational edges to go along with an obviously talented team, we're going to go to the well one more time with the Missouri Tigers. We mentioned last week that Missouri had the best yards per point numbers in the Nation defensively. Now, while you always have to consider schedule strength, being tops in the land with that stat is something to take note of. Mizu hasn't played the toughest schedule, but they haven't played the weakest one either.

Grab the field goal while it's still available. 3* Missouri +3 over Oklahoma
 

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