Longhorns Try to Snap Red River Showdown Losing Streak
For the fourth time in the last five years, Oklahoma and Texas will renew their Red River rivalry with both teams in the top 25. #6 ranked OU (5-0) has squeaked by in four of their five wins this season while the Longhorns have found a new offensive gear since their 40-21 week two loss to Arkansas.
Both BetUS and BetOnline have the Sooners as -3.5 favorites for this neutral site game being held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX. For those that lean towards underdogs in NCAAF picks, BetUS has the Longhorns +3.5 priced at -110, compared to -119 at BetOnline.
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Statement Time for Rattler
OU quarterback Spencer Rattler was a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, and although the Sooners are 5-0, the sophomore has been good but not great. Rattler has 10 TD to 4 INT this season, but 5 of those scoring throws came in a 76-0 win over Western Carolina.
On the bright side, Rattler is completing 76.3% of his passes and can improve his Heisman odds with a big game over Texas. Rattler was benched for a period in the first half of last year’s Red River Showdown but returned to finish with 3TD to lead Oklahoma to a wild 53-45 win in 4OT.
Even though this is a neutral site game in Dallas, it is Oklahoma’s second straight away from Norman after playing their first four at home. Even playing in front of their own fans, the Sooners could only manage one-score wins over Nebraska and West Virginia over the past three weeks, with betting odds of -22.5 and -17.5, respectively.
The atmosphere is also much different for the 2021 version of this rivalry game, as last year’s capacity was limited to 24,000 fans due to COVID protocols. A full 92,000+ are expected in attendance on Saturday, and this game is usually split 50/50 fan-wise.
Interesting Game for Thompson
Steve Sarkisian had to make some changes after the Longhorns lost 40-21 to Arkansas in week 2. He did, and it’s paying huge dividends as Casey Thompson has 8 TDs the last three weeks, albeit with 3 INT.
The major question ahead of Saturday’s meeting is if the moment is going to be too big for Thompson? The Junior had completed just 20 passes in his career heading into this season but is also an Oklahoma City native whose dad and brother have both played QB for the Sooners.
Thompson has a big weapon to take some of the pressure off him, though, as sportsbooks have to adjust their betting lines on RB Bijan Robinson winning the Heisman Trophy. Robinson has 127, 137, and 216 yards rushing the last three weeks with 5 TD.
The Longhorns offense does have its work cut out for them even to cover the +3.5 online betting odds as OU has the #7 rush defense in the nation. The Texas defense also gave up 208 yards rushing to the Sooners in last year’s meeting, so they’ll need to be better in that aspect of the game as well.
Sooners vs. Longhorns Pick
When they meet up, these two teams usually have a pretty good battle, with five of the last six head-to-head contests being decided by a TD or less. That’s what makes the 3.5 point betting line so hard to gauge because this could easily be a 3-point game either way.
Since this contest looks like it will be close, it would seem obvious to take the +3.5 points. Thompson hasn’t experienced the magnitude of this game, though (as a player), and has been prone to turnovers as he eases into the starting role. The Longhorns lost by a TD last season with an NFL-bound QB (Sam Ehlinger) at the helm, so they’ve got a real tough battle in 2021.
Pick: Sooners -3.5