Once again, the Red River showdown has few implications on college football as a whole. That was made possible after Oklahoma flopped as a 30-point favorite against Iowa State last weekend. The Sooners think they still have a shot at the College Football Playoff, but a loss to the Cyclones is a big dent on their resume. For this matchup played at the Cotton Bowl, the Sooners were still -7.5 point favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
No matter what each team has looked like the past few seasons, this Game has been close. That’s seen in both Texas wins in 2013 and 2015 as the Longhorns won both of those Games despite being a double-digit underdog. The 2014 and 2016 results were similar as Oklahoma only won those Games by five points a piece. Betting on Oklahoma as a touchdown favorite is going to be extremely tough, especially given how the defense has performed in recent Games. The Sooners couldn’t stop ISU with a new starting QB, while winless Baylor dropped 41 on them the week before that.
Every trend points to Texas for this Game and that includes how the Longhorns have looked in recent Games, taking USC to the wire, as well as wins against ISU and KSU. It’s also evident that Texas has found its starting quarterback in Sam Ehlinger, unless Tom Herman decides to go with Shane Buechele again. Ehlinger started in both the USC and KSU Games and looked much better than Buechele. Ehlinger has given the offense a shot in the arm with his mobility and that will help in this Game. The question will be if Texas can find room on the ground between Chris Warren III and Kyle Porter. But even if those guys don’t, Ehlinger is the type of QB that could eat up this defense with his legs after running for 107 yards against the Wildcats last Game.
The Texas defense has improved since giving up 51 points to Maryland. That said, they still had trouble with Kansas State last week and now get Baker Mayfield and company. Mayfield still hasn’t thrown a pick so that will be the first worry for the Longhorns. Mayfield is completing 74.6% of his passes, but even though he’s been great, that hasn’t stopped the defense from being a sieve. Oklahoma may be better off running the ball more through Trey Sermon and Abdul Adams in an effort to keep the clock moving. Otherwise, the faster Oklahoma scores, the more time its defense has to play.
At this point, the Sooners defense is bad enough that they’re a hard group to trust any time favored by more than seven points. Nothing about their play in this meeting or this year is reason enough to trust Oklahoma. The Sooners have covered in their last seven Games vs. a team with a winning record, but are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven neutral-site Games. The Longhorns have covered the last Four in this matchup and are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record. Texas +8