It’s Red River Showdown week at the Cotton Bowl, where No. 6 Oklahoma (5-0) will battle No. 11 Texas (4-1). Currently, the Sooners are 10.5-point favorites to win this Big 12 showdown.
Oklahoma won by 12 when these teams played each other last year for the Big 12 Championship after Texas won the regular-season matchup in a 48-45 shootout. The Longhorns lead the all-time series 62-47-5.
Here is a preview for Saturday’s game, along with odds and a prediction.
Hurts Leads The Way For Oklahoma
After Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray’s Heisman-winning campaigns the last two seasons, quarterback Jalen Hurts is aiming to continue the streak for Sooner signal-callers. The Alabama transfer has been nothing short of brilliant this season, throwing for 1,523 yards and 14 touchdowns in five games. Additionally, he leads the team in rushing yards with 499 yards to go along with seven rushing touchdowns.
In his first year in Norman, Hurts is captaining an offense that leads the nation in yards (643.8), ranks fifth in passing and rushing, and is second to only LSU in points (53.4).
Oklahoma has other studs on offense as well, including the running back duo of Trey Sermon and Rhamondre Stevenson and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. Sermon and Stevenson have combined for 664 rushing yards and nine scores, while Lamb leads the receivers with 18 catches for 439 yards and seven touchdowns.
While you may not think of defense when you think of Oklahoma, or the Big 12 for that matter, the Sooners have quietly been respectable on the other side of the ball. Through five games, Oklahoma is allowing an average of just 19 points per game and less than 350 total yards. They have allowed 20 or fewer points in every game with the exception of Week 1 against Houston.
Texas Aims To Continue Win Streak
After last year’s defeat in the Big 12 title game, the Longhorns have revenge on their minds. To pull off the upset, they will once again rely on quarterback Sam Ehlinger to guide them. The junior has statistically gone toe-to-toe with Hurts this season, throwing for 1,448 passing yards and 17 touchdowns and running for 236 yards and three touchdowns.
Despite falling short in the game, Ehlinger carved up Oklahoma last year for over 300 passing yards and three total scores. He also played a key role in their win over Murray and the Sooners last October.
This is another offense that has been firing on all cylinders in 2019. Through five games, Texas is putting up an average of 41.8 points and 485.2 yards per game. Even in their lone loss, they put up 38 points against LSU. Keaontay Ingram is their primary running back who leads the team with 236 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Devin Duvernay is Ehlinger’s top receiving option, pulling in 45 catches for 463 yards and four scores.
The biggest difference between these two teams may be on defense, where the Longhorns have had some struggles. They gave up 45 points in their loss to LSU and 30 or more to both Oklahoma State and West Virginia. On average, Texas is giving up 26.6 points and 441.8 yards per game.
Odds and Pick
As mentioned earlier, Oklahoma is a 10.5-point favorite on the neutral field in Dallas. As expected, the projected point total is high, with the over/under placed at a whopping 75.5.
There are a few interesting betting notes to mention that make the game even tougher to predict. The Sooners have hit the over in 13 of their last 17 games on grass, while the Longhorns are 12-3 with the under in their last 15 games on grass. Both teams are also 3-2 against the spread this season.
For the game, expect a shootout. These are two teams with great offenses, dynamic quarterbacks, and a history of playing point-heavy contests. It will also be closer than people think, with Texas representing the first real challenge that Oklahoma has had all season. I’ll pick the Sooners to win 49-45, but the over to hit and Texas +10.5 to cover.