Week 6 NCAAF Marquee Matchup: Sooners Too Good for Texas

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 1:45 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018 1:45 PM UTC

The No. 19 Texas Longhorns have covered each of the last five Red River Showdowns, but the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners are better than a coin flip to beat the NCAAF odds on Saturday.

Jason’s 2018-19 NCAAF picks record through Week 5:
9-4 ATS; 0-1 ML (minus-1.00 units), 0-1 Totals

No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 19 TexasSaturday, noon ET; at Dallas (FOX)Free NCAAF Pick: SoonersBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Texas Longhorns are still trying to recapture the magic they had when Mack Brown was their head coach. They haven’t done much of anything since Brown retired after the 2013 season; if that weren’t painful enough, Texas supporters have watched the Oklahoma Sooners thrive over the past five years – even after Lincoln Riley took over for the beloved Bob Stoops in 2017.

At least the Longhorns can point at the NCAAF odds board with some measure of pride. They’ve covered the Red River Showdown with the Sooners five years in a row, and they’ll get another crack at it Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Texas opened as a 7.5-point underdog and it was at that number or -7 at a couple of sportsbooks at press time; it’s the fewest points the ‘Horns have gotten during this ATS bonanza, reflecting their improved performance under second-year coach Tom Herman. But it also might mean the end of their streak.

Give It Some Juice

That’s what the advanced stats are telling us. Maestro, if you will:

ESPN Football Power Index: Oklahoma 73.3 percent
Equivalent Moneyline (using SBR Odds Converter): Oklahoma -275
Equivalent Point Spread (via Wizard of Odds): Oklahoma -8.5

A 1-point difference between the projections and the odds isn’t much leeway, but because our mandate is to make college football picks, we’re inclined to recommend the Sooners for a small sum. The price on Texas has gotten a little worse since the open; our consensus reports at press time show 54 percent of early bettors on the ‘Horns, driving them from +7.5 (-110) to +7.5 (-115) at most locations. If you just have to bet on Texas, they’re available at +7 (+105), and according to Wizard of Odds, you should gladly give up that half-point for 20 cents of juice – variance notwithstanding.

Kyler Murray’s Dance Studio

The Longhorns (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) have definitely taken it up a notch since Herman came over from the Houston Cougars and replaced Charlie Strong, who was fired after three losing seasons in Austin. But are they really all that? Not according to the Week 5 S&P ratings at Football Outsiders. They have Oklahoma (5-0 SU, 2-3 ATS) ranked No. 6 overall in the FBS, and Texas at No. 30.

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Passer Rating Leaders: CFB

Tua Tagovailoa 238.3
Kyler Murray 231
Will Grier 200.8
Mitchell Guadagni 196.6
Dwayne Haskins 188.8
Jake Fromm 186.1
Justin Herbert 181
Zac Thomas 180.8
Brady White 178.4
Trevor Lawrence 177.2
Steven Montez 173.7
D'Eriq King 173.2
James Morgan 171.6

— Athlon Sports (@AthlonSports) October 1, 2018
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The Sooners, meanwhile, haven’t missed a beat since QB Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy and turned pro. Kyler Murray, a redshirt junior with a promising baseball career ahead of him (he was drafted ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics this year), has lit it up through five games, with 21 combined touchdowns and just two interceptions. With Murray slinging the football around, Oklahoma has the top-rated offense in the FBS, while the Longhorns are much better at stuffing the run than pass defense. We’ll buy that for a Hong Kong dollar.

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