College Football Picks: Strong Early Lean on Oklahoma +1 Over Tennessee

Ross Benjamin

Monday, September 7, 2015 9:04 PM GMT

Monday, Sep. 7, 2015 9:04 PM GMT

Our CFB professional provides an early pick on this week’s card. Join us in reading this betting preview pertaining to the Oklahoma/Tennessee game, & it concludes with a point spread pick.

College Football Early Lean
I’m going to share one of my early college football picks for this upcoming week. It comes in the game between Oklahoma and Tennessee on Saturday. The opening kickoff at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee is slated for 6:00 PM. This high profile non-conference contest will be televised nationally by ESPN.

 

The Eye Test
After watching last Saturday’s Bowling Green/Tennessee game attentively, and reviewing tape on the Akron/Oklahoma contest, I came away with some notable observations. I’m going to share my thoughts pertaining to what I witnessed in those contests over the next few paragraphs.

 

Level of Competition
Oklahoma and Tennessee both faced opponents from the Mid American Conference. Although the MAC is far from a power five conference, they’ve sprung their share of upsets over high profile teams in recent years. My preseason power rankings indicated that BGU is 5 points better than Akron on a neutral field. Based on that statistic, you can draw the conclusion that Tennessee faced a slightly better opponent. However, my personal experience over the years leads me to believe, there’s not enough of a significant difference that lends itself to be a viable handicapping factor.

 

Sooners Aerial Attack at a High Level
During Oklahoma’s 41-3 shellacking of Akron last Saturday, there’s one facet of their game which really stood out. The Sooners passing attack is a formidable one, and will create some sleepless nights for opposing defensive coordinators preparing to face it. They racked up 539 yards of total offense against Akron, and 439 of those came in the passing game. Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield showed exactly why he beat out highly touted Trevor Knight for the starting quarterback job. Mayfield was 23-33 passing for 388 yards and three touchdowns. Something that may be overlooked in last Saturday’s decisive win was the Sooners defense. They allowed Akron just 10 first downs and 226 yards of total offense.

 

Deceiving Final Score
Tennessee was a 59-30 winner over BGU in their season opener. It would certainly appear that Tennessee clearly dominated the contest. However, that’s not the way I saw it. The Volunteers kick return game was a key component in the win. Three punt returns enabled the Volunteers offense to start inside the 30 yard line of BGU. This is further indicated by Tennessee’s narrow edge of just 47 yards in total offense. The good news for Volunteers fans is that their team racked up 604 yards of total offense. The bad news is that BGU torched their defense for 557 total yards. What’s especially concerning was the play of Tennessee’s secondary. BGU senior quarterback Matt Johnson threw for 424 yards in the contest, and Tennessee failed to record an interception on any of his 49 pass attempts. BGU also squandered an excellent opportunity early in the fourth quarter, down 49-30 at the time, and had first and goal at the Tennessee five but fumbled the ball away. Subsequently, Tennessee marched 95 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing drive, and it deflated a very game Falcons team.

 

Final Analysis
Oklahoma should once again have their way in the passing game against a porous Tennessee defensive secondary. Tennessee’s offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage last week against BGU, and amassed an impressive 399 yards rushing. They won’t find the going so easy this week against a stout Oklahoma defense.

I’ll have an early lean that clearly favors Oklahoma, and that will be one of my college football picks this week. According to current (9/7) college football betting odds at 5Dimes, they’re the only major sportsbook which lists Oklahoma as a 1.0 point underdog, and the rest see this as an even game.

College Football Pick: Oklahoma +1.0 at 5Dimes.

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