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Texas vs. Oklahoma

Red River Rivalry

Betting Line: Oklahoma -4 o/u 45.5

10/2/10

Lots of things are supposed to happen in life, but somehow they don't work out like we thought they would. For example, Texas is supposed to beat UCLA in football. That didn't happen. The Bruins trounced Texas at home by a score of 34-12. Thing's don't get any easier for the Longhorns. They will now play archrival Oklahoma. The Sooners are coming into this game after a closer than expected 31-29 road victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats. The winner of this game will have the inside track to the Big XII Title. Let's take a look at some of the key players and matchups for this battle of college football heavyweights. The line currently favors the Sooners as a 3.5 point favorite.

Texas QB Garrett Gilbert was quieted by the UCLA defense. He completed 30 of 45 passes for 264 yards, an INT, and a TD. The failure of the passing game was nothing compared to the running game. Texas managed just 85 rushing yards the entire game. If they are going to have success against Oklahoma, running the ball is a MUST. Junior RB Foshitt Whitaker has 2 TDs this year and he averaged 8.9/carry against Wyoming. If he shows up with a big game it will bolster the Texas offense in ways that are hard to imagine. He can't do it alone though. Gilbert and the offensive line must do their part as well.

Oklahoma Sooners QB Landry Jones has shown great poise despite the fact that he is only a sophomore. He was named Big XII Offensive Player of the Week after his last game where he passed for 370 yards and 2 TDs. The offensive fared well through the air, but star RB Demarco Murray did poorly. He had only 67 yards and a TD on 28 carries. That works out to only 2.8 yards per carry. Some things are universal in football, and one thing is that the run sets up the pass. Texas has a MUCH stronger secondary than the Bearcats, and if Murray can't be effective than it's unlikely that Jones will be.

The Sooners play a tough and gritty defense thanks to HC Bob Stoops. They play physical football and finish plays. This was put on display when they were able to punch the ball out of WR DJ Woods hands as he was in full flight towards the end zone in last week's game. So far in 2010 Oklahoma's defense has sacked opposing QBs 10 times. Senior CB Jonathan Nelson will be key for the defense. He has 1 forced fumble and an INT this year. LB Travis Lewis has a sack and an INT this year. Texas's offense will seek to come back with a vengeance after playing so poorly last week, but it's up to the Sooners to prevent that from happening.  

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The Texas defense was nasty in 2009, and it looks like they will be very good in 2010 as well. They gave up just 144 total yards of offense against Texas Tech. They sacked the QB 4 times in that game. UCLA didn't go nearly as well. The Bruins pounded the ball for a whopping 260 yards. Despite losing the game, the Longhorns actually outgained UCLA. They turned the ball over 4 times in the first half and that killed their chances of winning the game. Texas's defense needs to come up with some turnovers of their own. If they can keep Landry Jones on his toes and prevent RB Demarco Murray from having a big game then the Longhorns could pull off the road upset in the Red River Rivalry.

If you look at this game strictly based on season to date stats you'd have to come to the conclusion that Texas is in trouble. They have a yards per point number on offense of 13.7 which is right about where you'd expect them to be. Oklahoma has an offensive ypp number of 12.7, one point better. But defensively, the Longhorns weigh in with an atrocious 12.7 compared with a 17.9 for Oklahoma. Converted to a pointspread, that's about a touchdown edge in favor of Oklahoma. Throw in Oklahoma being +8 in turnover margin and Texas being -3, and it could spell trouble for Texas.

We don't like to buck the stats. But we are going to in this spot. We don't believe Texas is as bad as the numbers say, despite how they looked last week, and they struggled with a team like Rice to open the year. Let's use UCLA as an example. Look what Stanford did to UCLA and then look how UCLA bounced back with two solid wins over ranked opponents. Mack Brown and Texas have been too good for too long not to bounce back from a loss like that. They get an Oklahoma team that barely hung on to get by Cinci, Air Force and Utah State. This game is up for grabs so we'll gladly take any points offered. In this case that would be 4. Texas +4.

 

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