What Bettors Need to Know: Oklahoma vs. Texas

What Bettors Need to Know: Oklahoma vs. Texas

What Bettors Need to Know: Oklahoma vs. Texas (at Dallas)
By CHRIS MARAKOVITZ

Head to Head

Welcome to the 103rd edition of the Red River Rivalry, played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas every year since 1929. Texas will be going for win number 58 in the series against 40 losses and five ties.

This marks the 10th time that both teams have come into the game ranked in the top five. Oklahoma has won the last three under such conditions, most recently a 12-0 triumph in 2004.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops holds a 6-3 record against Mack Brown of Texas.

Stoops got his sixth win last season in a 28-21 victory, though the Longhorns covered as 12-point dogs. This was the first time since 1997 that the game was not decided by double digits.

The Real McCoy

Texas QB Colt McCoy has blossomed in 2008 after an erratic 2007. McCoy has emerged as a strong leader and played nearly flawless football, averaging 256 yards passing and a team-leading 63.4 yards per game on the ground. He comes in with a TD/INT ratio of 16-3 and is 18 for 21 with 11 TDs and just one pick in the red zone.

Bradford No Slouch

Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford has been playing outstanding football too, ranked second in the nation in passing efficiency while throwing for 1665 yards on 106 for 146 passing with 18 TDs against three picks.

This will be a fun game to watch for fans of top-notch QB play. McCoy and Bradford are both among the best in the nation.

Ground Games Steady but unspectacular

In a game where both sides are loaded with blue chip athletes, there is a surprising lack of marquee talent, or even a featured back, among the respective RB corps.

Texas has featured a revolving door at the position, with Fozzy Whittaker, Cody Johnson, Vondrell McGee and Chris Ogbonnaya all seeing time. Ogbonnaya was named the starter for this week after posting 71 yards rushing and 116 receiving against Colorado.

Regardless of who starts, there is a conspicuous lack of game-breaking speed among this group. This may help to explain why the team’s leading rusher is the quarterback, McCoy.

Oklahoma has some concerns with the running game as well after being held to 25 yards rushing by TCU and having no back exceed 3.8 yards per carry against Baylor.

DeMarco Murray is perhaps the best and most well-known among the backs in this game, but he may not yet have reached full speed after offseason knee surgery. Murray splits carries Chris Brown, a good inside runner, and Mossis Madu.

While the edge has to go to Oklahoma at the position, there isn’t much to brag about on either side.

Sooner ‘D’ Riding High

Oklahoma is ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense. Of the 69 points, they have allowed on the season, 39 of them have been scored in second-half garbage time.

Oklahoma has outscored their opponents 168-30 in the first half.

Longhorn ‘D’ Hinges on the pass rush

Texas has featured a revamped defense this year, flashing heightened aggressiveness and physicality under first-year DC Will Muschamp.

The dominant play of a defensive line has been the key. It leads the nation with 3.8 sacks per game.

This excellent pass rush has masked the vulnerability of a young secondary that includes talented but inexperienced safeties Earl Thomas (redshirt frosh) and Blake Gideon (true frosh).

The Texas pass rush will face a much tougher challenge going up against a massive Oklahoma offensive line that many believe is the best in the nation.

If Texas can’t pressure the passer, Bradford and his excellent receiving corps will pick the Longhorn defense apart.

Line Moves

The line opened with the Sooners as 7-point faves, was bet down to 6 later in the week, and has since moved back up to 6.5.

The over/under opened at 57 and was immediately bet down to 56. It has since moved down another point to 55.

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