Oklahoma Win-Total Prediction
With the Bob Stoops-era coming to an end, can the Oklahoma Sooners still be among the nation’s best team in the 2017 season?
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Oklahoma is listed with 17/1 odds to win the College Football Playoffs this season. The Sooners also have -115 odds to win the Big 12, while their over/under total for wins has been set at 9.5. The over is listed with a line of -150, while the under is set at +120.
Fresh off another Big 12 title in the 2016 season, the Sooners were dealt a big blow late into the offseason when Stoops decided to retire on June 7. He amassed a 190-48 record in his 18 years with Oklahoma, including a national title in 2000. The Sooners were 11-2 last season, winning the Big 12 with a 9-0 conference record. Following Stoops’ retirement, Oklahoma handed the reins over to offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. The 34-year-old is making his debut as head coach this season.
Riley has a big challenge this season, as he takes over an Oklahoma offense that averaged 555 yards and 43.9 points per game, but lost some huge pieces. Gone are the running back duo of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, who combined for 2,334 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2016. Still, Baker Mayfield is back and a top Heisman contender this year. He threw for 3,965 yards and 40 touchdowns last season while also rushing for six scores. Mayfield does lose his top receiver in Dede Westbrook, who caught 80 passes for 1,524 yards and 17 touchdowns. Defensively, Oklahoma was a mess in 2016. The Sooners allowed 29.7 points and 440 yards per game. They really struggled against the pass, allowing 279 yards per game through the air. Helping improve those numbers will be linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who had a team-high nine sacks in 2016. Cornerback Jordan Thomas is also back in the secondary. He had two interceptions and 17 pass deflections last season.
Oklahoma will get tested early, as the Sooners head to Ohio State in Week 2 to face the Buckeyes. The Sooners also host UTEP and Tulane in other non-conference action. In the Big 12, Oklahoma has road trips to Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Kansas. It will host Iowa State, Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia while meeting Texas in the annual Red River Rivalry. I don’t like Oklahoma against Ohio State, but that is the only game I can say confidently I don’t think the Sooners can win. Oklahoma is going to have the best player on the field in most contests, so having Mayfield should carry this team to at least 10 wins alone. As long as Riley isn’t in over his head, I think Oklahoma will be just fine to have another double-digit win season.
2017 WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: OKLAHOMA OVER 9.5 (-150)