Pick with Analysis
Texas was supposed to be improved this year with a better offense and one of the nation’s best defenses, but that has been far from the case. The Longhorns defense hasn’t been able to stop anyone, but they’ll get a good chance to turn the tide in the Big 12 opener. Still, Oklahoma State is a -3 point favorite (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) on the road in Austin.
The Longhorns were destroyed by Notre Dame 38-3 in the opener and most recently lost to California 45-44. Even in their win against Rice, they allowed 28 points to the Owls. It hasn’t been a great start to the season, but despite the difference in overall records, these teams sport the same 1-2 ATS records.
Oklahoma State hasn’t looked overly dominant with a subpar early-season Schedule. The Cowboys had trouble in a 24-13 win to open the season and then they got a couple easy home contests against Central Arkansas and UTSA. In their first real road Game of the year, things could be a little tougher for this team.
The Texas offense finally figured something out against California last week, or at least quarterback Jerrod Heard did. He threw for 364 yards and added another 163 on the ground along with three touchdowns. To win this Game, Heard will have to do more of the same because the other options for Texas haven’t done a whole lot. Behind Heard, the next leading rusher is Johnathan Gray, who has 27 carries for 94 yards on the year.
A positive for the Longhorns is that the Oklahoma State offense is probably a level below that of California. The Cowboys are still looking to go back to their high-scoring days, but sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph still has some work to do before that happens. Rudolph has thrown for 947 yards, while completing 68.9% of his passes for five TDs and an interception, but he hasn’t faced a decent defense yet. The running Game has been a bigger question with Chris Carson leading the way on 4.4 yards per carry.
The only way Texas can win this Game is with improved defensive play and the Longhorns may be able to do just that. OK State will find more resistance in this Game than they have all season and Rudolph’s play will decide a lot, especially if the Cowboys can’t get anything going on the ground.
Texas will ride Jerrod Heard at quarterback for the foreseeable future, which means we can expect plenty of designed rushing plays for him now that he has carved up two straight defenses. The Cowboys will Game plan around that and if Heard isn’t as successful on the ground, Texas will be in trouble as usual.
Both of these teams had high expectations entering the season, and reaching those expectations starts with a win in the Big 12 opener. The spread between these teams has been under nine for six straight meetings, and three or under for three straight. Despite that, Texas won 28-7 last year and Oklahoma State took it 38-13 two years ago. Still, the favorite has covered six straight Games, but the Cowboys are 1-6 ATS in their last seven on field turf.
Our Pick – Jury still out on Oklahoma State due to the weak opposition thus far. Texas is the more battle tested of the two. Providing the wind wasn’t completely taken out of the Longhorns sails after coming up short by an extra point last week, we prefer the home dog here. Texas +3