In recent Red River Showdowns, it’s been best to ignore how the early season has gone. Oklahoma once again comes into this matchup putting up points for fun and are favored by more than a touchdown. But given Texas’s success in recent meetings, plenty of money will be on the underdog. The Sooners were -7.5 point favorites (as of Monday) for the Game at Cotton Bowl Stadium as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Oklahoma dropped an anvil on Baylor last week, scoring almost too easily in a 66-33 win. They’ve had a few Games go like that, but weren’t able to separate from Iowa State or Army due to various reasons. It’s hard to ignore the previous matchups as Texas has either won or lost by five points or less in the previous Four. In fact, the Longhorns have covered in the last five, though none of those spreads were below nine points.
The problem with betting OU is that Texas always seems to keep this Game close. Last year, Baker Mayfield had a fine performance with 300 yards and the Sooners ran for 4.5 yards per carry as a team, but they still couldn’t separate and needed a late 59-yard touchdown to win 29-24. The Longhorns will likely attack the same way in this Game, although they’d like to see more help for Sam Ehlinger. The sophomore quarterback did everything against OU last year, throwing for 278 yards and running for 110 more without a turnover. Oklahoma’s defense hasn’t really stopped anyone so there’s a decent chance Ehlinger will keep the Longhorns in this Game again. And if Tre Watson or Keaontay Ingram can get a little more on the ground, that’d be a huge help in going for another upset.
Of course, betting against Oklahoma always requires faith in the opposing team’s defense and so far, Texas has shown enough since the Maryland loss. The Longhorns haven’t given up more than 16 points in the last three Games against USC, TCU and K State and while OU is another level, they showed last year they could at least keep this Oklahoma offense in check. Kyler Murray has monster numbers this season with 21 total touchdowns, but the last time he faced a decent defense (Iowa State), he didn’t Scoreon every possession. If Texas can contain the big plays from Murray and company, that may be enough to keep the Sooners around 30 or 35 points again. It won’t be easy containing wide outs Marquise Brown and CeeDee LAmb, but there is a route to success and that’s stopping OU from getting big plays on the ground from either Murray or Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon in the backfield. If this Game turns into a track meet, Texas may still have enough firepower to at least keep it competitive and that gives multiple ways in which the underdog can cover.
The Longhorns are 7-2-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, while the Sooners are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 neutral-site Games. Between these schools, there aren’t many trends outside of Texas covering in the last five as an underdog.
Our Pick – Texas +7.5