The Sooners, as you can imagine, are huge favorites on the NCAA football odds board for Saturday's home date with Akron. Let's break down this non-conference battle and see where the value lies.
At time of writing, the Sooners were overwhelming favorites, as they're laying a whopping 31.5 points at most of the sportsbooks we've run over. Some sites even have the line at 32, and if you can believe it, the opening number was all the way up at 38 before being wagered down ahead of opening weekend.
As for the game's total, we see a number of 57.5 points on the college football odds board, and Oklahoma should be accounting for a good chunk of that offensive production in front of their home fans in Norman.
The Sooners won eight games in total in 2014, which may seem like a solid season. Thing is, this is a program that's used to far better, so overall last season was considered a big disappointment for Oklahoma. The Sooners lost to their biggest rival, Oklahoma State, in their regular season finale and then got absolutely trounced 40-6 by Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Needless to say, Oklahoma can't be happy with how 2014 ended, and they'll be looking to get 2015 off on a positive note. Baker Mayfield, a transfer from Texas Tech, takes over as the starting quarterback, and he's surrounded by quite a bit of offensive talent, namely running back Samaje Perine and number one wideout Sterling Shepard. Expect this Sooners team to score quite a few points this season, especially since they'll be playing at a much faster tempo under new OC Lincoln Riley.
With a showdown with Tennessee looming next week, on the road no less, the Sooners can't afford to take it easy here on opening week. They need to find their rhyhtm and work out any kinks against Akron so that they're feeling confident heading into that matchup against the Volunteers in Knoxville.
In 2014, the Zips finished 5-7, with their best win coming on the road against Pittsburgh. It was another pretty forgettable season for Akron, who were especially bad offensively in 2014. They got very shaky quarterback play out of both Kyle Pohl and Thomas Woodson, and they weren't all that effective on the ground either.
Ahead of 2015, there's still uncertainty at the QB spot, as Terry Bowden has still yet to name a starter - it'll either be the returning Pohl or transfer Tra'Von Chapman. Either way, look for senior running back Conor Hundley to get a lot of touches.
The Zips were most effective defensively last season and should be pretty solid on that side of the ball again in 2015, but they're going to have their hands full with Oklahoma here. And, it's fair to worry about whether or not they'll be able to find any success offensively themselves.
Sure, this is a heck of a lot of points to lay, but we have faith that the new offensive system will be a success in Oklahoma and that they'll have little trouble pulling away from the Zips in this one.
Expectations are high in Norman, and the Sooners appear to have the talent in place to make some noise, not only in the Big 12 but nationally as well. If they want to truly be taken seriously, they need to blow out teams in situations like this, regardless of the fact there may be some early cobwebs to shake off.
Mayfield and Shepard should be able to move the chains against Akron, and how can we forget about Perine, one of the most talented backs in the nation? This is an offense that can be scary good if they take to the new offensive coordinator's system well, and we anticipate that they will. Back Oklahoma with your college football picks this weekend, as we just don't see the Zips being able to keep pace.
College Football Pick: Oklahoma Sooners -31.5 at 5Dimes