We've got two of college football's bluebloods as the Nebraska Cornhuskers take on the Oklahoma Sooners. While this rivalry isn't what it used to be, it's still a really big game with Oklahoma coming in as big favorites. All we care about as bettors is who will cover so let's break this game down a little further to see which side the value is on at the best betting sites.
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Saturday, September 18, 2021 - 12:00 PM EDT at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
Oklahoma Bounced Back After Sloppy Opening Week
If the Oklahoma Sooners' ultimate goal is to make it to the CFB playoffs for a chance to compete for a national title, then they will need to perform much better than they did to start the season. In their week 1 matchup against unranked Tulane, Oklahoma looked like anything but national contenders. Sure they won 40-35 but to say they held on for victory would be very accurate. If Tulane would have won that game, it would be no exaggeration to say that would have been one, if not the biggest upset in an opening game in Sooners history.
Not exactly the way you're going to convince voters that you deserve to compete for a national championship. As you would expect, Oklahoma bounced back in style by beating the crap out of Western Carolina to the tune of 76-0. While the scoreboard looks good, the same can't be said for the level of competition. This coming week they take on a much more familiar rival in Nebraska. According to the SBR odds page, the Sooners come into this game as -22.5 point favorites.
That's a big number with the total 61.5 at most of the top online sportsbooks. That's a really big number for a team that hasn't looked super convincing against inferior competition. I'm absolutely ignoring the game against Western Carolina because on paper, it's as big of a mismatch as you'll find in college football. The obvious weakness on the Oklahoma team is their defense. It's not that they're bad, they just need work to get to the level they want to be at for the 3rd ranked team in the country.
Running back Todd Hudson #23 of the Oklahoma Sooners. Brian Bahr/Getty Images/AFP
Nebraska Would Love to Spoil Oklahoma’s Season
The motivation for the Cornhuskers is clear but the talent to get it done might be a little short. As I mentioned, Oklahoma's defense needs some work. Unfortunately for Nebraska, their offense might need a complete overhaul. They did manage to put up 28 points last week in their win over Buffalo but I wouldn't expect them to come anywhere close to that number against this Sooners defense. The fact that they were two-touchdown favorites against Buffalo let's you know where Buffalo's football program is at right now.
Nebraska's head coach has done a good job getting his team to bounce back after a disappointing opening game loss to Illinois, a game where they came in as favorites. The fact of the matter is, after that loss, Scott Frost's job has to be in jeopardy. While it is great that he got his team to bounce back against Fordham and Buffalo, these are the games where his team has to show some fight.
I hate this spread but not as much as I do taking the points with Nebraska. I would feel a lot better if Scott Frost was the quarterback instead of the head coach but those days are long gone. His current quarterback, Adrian Martinez is uber-athletic but he's also a turnover waiting to happen. I think that Nebraska does everything in their power to slow this game down and keep the Sooners off the field. Their defense has looked a lot more competent in the last few weeks while I really don't believe in their offense just yet.
As for Oklahoma, I think the only way this goes over is if the Sooners score more than 5 touchdowns which is definitely possible but I don't think is likely. This is a spot where Foster needs his team to perform or he could be gone. Nebraska doesn't need extra motivation against the Sooners anyway but if they care about their coach, they've got it here. My NCAAF pick is actually more down to the belief that Scott Frost is in damage control mode and needs to make sure that he does not get blown out here.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.