College Football Pick
Analysis and Betting Line
Neither Oklahoma nor Tennessee got off to great starts in their opening Games, but with better second halves, both came through and covered for backers. This week will surely be a bit more difficult with the Sooners surprisingly coming in as a -1 point favorite on the road at 5 Dimes.
These two teams still have quite a few questions to answer, despite opening-weekend wins. The Sooners weren’t really challenged in a Game against Akron, winning 41-3, as the defense dominated and new quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 388 yards and three touchdowns. The bad part is that they rushed for just 100 yards on 33 carries against a mediocre MAC school.
Tennessee also played a MAC school, but Bowling Green is more offensive than defensive, and that showed in the final 59-30 score. Still, the Volunteers allowed the Falcons to pass for 433 yards, which is a tad unacceptable, especially in a home Game. Then again, on the other end they rushed for 399 yards and six touchdowns, and that also meant quarterback Joshua Dobbs wasn’t really in any difficult situation.
So the questions become, can Mayfield scorch the Tennessee defense, and will the Volunteers running Game carve through the Sooners?
Both teams began the season ranked for a reason, but these are still squads that didn’t live up to hype last year, OU finishing with eight wins and UT with only seven.
Oklahoma’s main key will be in the rushing Game because this is a new offensive line that Mayfield is working behind and if they can’t create holes for Samaje Perine, that could be a problem for the Sooners throughout the year. Perine ran behind multiple NFL-ready guys last year, and this group is a big change. Mayfield has plenty of options in the passing Game, but if the ground unit can’t get going, that’s going to be limited.
In turn, Tennessee’s defense will need to play a bit better or they’ll start the season allowing 400-plus yards to QBs in two straight Games.
The Volunteers have the edge in this Game, and that mainly falls on a more experienced offensive line and a better rushing Game. Jalen Hurd (123 yards, 3 TDs) was great in the first Game, but former Alabama signee Alvin Kamara (144 yards, 2 TDs) was even more electric and can make this running Game one of the best in the country. The Sooners will have their hands full with that along with Dobbs and a deep receiving core.
The Sooners struggled against the pass last year and that could be the case again because even though they held Akron to just 6-of-26 passing, that doesn’t mean a whole lot against a bad offense.
The team with the better lines will win this Game and for now, it looks like Tennessee has that advantage. The Sooners need to show something more on their offensive line before backing them against a bigger SEC team on the road.
Our Pick – A legitimate case can be made for the wrong team being favored here. Sure, they played a year ago and the Sooners won 34-10 as 21 point favs but the Vols are loaded with returning starters and get a chance for revenge at home before 100000+ rabid fans.
When we take Our model and use only stats from the last 7 Games and last 4 Games (including this years openers) the model has the Vols winning straight up by 3 and by 8. That’s good enough for us. 3* Key Release Vols +2