While many of college football’s top rivalries – such as Alabama-Auburn and Ohio State-Michigan — aren’t played until the last Saturday of the regular season, the Red River Showdown between Big 12 rivals Oklahoma and Teas is held annually at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in early to mid-October during the State Fair of Texas. The No. 12 Sooners are just over a touchdown favourite at Sports Interaction’s NCAA odds.
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns
When: Saturday, 3:30 PM ET Where: Cotton Bowl, Dallas Point Spread: Oklahoma -8
Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Big 12 champion has missed the College Football Playoff in two of its three years so in an effort to curb that the conference has reinstated a championship game – even though unlike in all other Power 5 Conferences, every team plays each other in the regular season and there are no divisions. So, the title game will be a rematch. Texas is unbeaten in the Big 12 and could afford a loss and still make the Big 12 Championship Game. Oklahoma has a conference L and likely can’t.
Texas is the home team this year, although the Cotton Bowl is always 50 percent Longhorns fans and 50 percent Sooners. The home team has won the past five matchups and seven of the last eight. UT is the only Big 12 school with an all-time winning record against Oklahoma, but the Sooners have taken five of the past seven. Each of the past three games has been decided by seven points or fewer (total of 17). The underdog has covered the past four.
The Horns (3-2, 3-1-1 ATS) got off to an inauspicious start under first-year coach Tom Herman with a shocking Week 1 51-41 loss to Maryland, but Texas has played well since – the other loss was in overtime at a good USC team. Last week, Texas escaped at home against Kansas State, 40-34 in double overtime. True freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger had 487 yards of total offense in becoming the third quarterback in school history to throw for 300 yards and run for 100 in a game.
Sophomore Shane Buechele opened the season as the starter but is dealing with a sprained ankle. Currently, Texas is listing Ehlinger and Buechele as co-starters, but most around the program believe it’s Ehlinger’s job now. The two had a close battle in camp.
Under former coach Bob Stoops, who surprisingly retired this summer, the Sooners (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) had at least one loss to a double-digit underdog in each of the past six seasons. Nothing has changed under Lincoln Riley, Stoops’ former assistant. Last week, Oklahoma perhaps was looking ahead to this game as it was a 31-point favourite and blew a 24-10 lead in a 38-31 home loss to a bad Iowa State team that was using a backup quarterback. That kind of defeat is going to hamper OU’s chances of reaching the College Football Playoff even if it wins out.
QB Baker Mayfield is a two-time Heisman finalist and the +325 second-favourite currently at Sports Interaction. Mayfield leads the country by a mile with a pass efficiency rating of 214.1 that would break his single-season NCAA record of 196.4 set in 2016. Mayfield is completing 74.6 percent of his passes for 1,635 yards, 15 TDs and zero interceptions.
Oklahoma vs. Texas Prediction
Another close game and another cover for the underdog: Oklahoma wins 35-31.