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Red River Showdown: Texas vs Oklahoma Point Spread Pick

Oklahoma Sooners(5-0) @ Texas Longhorns(4-1)

  • Where: Cotton Bowl. Dallas, TX
  • When: October 6, 2018 12:00 pm EST
  • Spread: OU (-7) at Texas (+7)
  • Moneyline: OU (-275) vs Texas (+235)
  • Over / Under: Over 61 (-110) vs Under 61 (-110)

Oil wells have been won and lost through personal wagers (and sportsbook wagers, for all we know) on the Texas-OU game over the years.

Nobody stops imbibing long enough to feel too sad about it. People bet only what they can afford on the Red River Showdown, say, for instance, 500 cattle instead of 1000 at a time. Or 1000 fried Coca-Cola coupons.

For Texas fans, at times the still-young 2018 season has felt more like fried Coca-Cola than anything substantial. The Longhorns lost to Maryland in the opener, which was a huge downer for Tom Herman’s program. No disrespect to Maryland, but fans in Austin are tired of having their hearts already broken in September.

There’s a whole lot of upside, though, following terrific wins over USC and TCU.

BetOnline is offering a (-275) moneyline on favored (and unbeaten) Oklahoma, alongside (+235) for the 4-1 Longhorns. The point spread favors OU by a TD and an XP, with slightly-enhanced (-108) payoff on the “hosts” beating the 7-point spread at the Cotton Bowl.

I put “hosts” in quotation marks since the Cotton Bowl is in Texas, but a longer drive from the UT campus than from Norman.

BetOnline’s current O/U point total for the Big-12 clash is (61), a healthy amount set for a pair of healthy offenses.

The odds are shaped in-part by Oklahoma threatening to dominate the series, controlling most of the current decade and winning 3 of the last 4 Red River Showdowns.

But Oklahoma has also fallen to Texas in 2 recent upsets as a highly-ranked school going-in.

Oklahoma Fastball

Those who have down-graded OU based on the Army result must understand that Oklahoma is not built to defend Jeff Monken’s playbook, nor should the Oklahoma defense be tailored to such a project.Injuries could occur if the defense is over-practiced vs a Flex-option scout team, which can’t replicate what the Black Knights do anyway.

There are no under-center option teams in the Big 12, and there aren’t likely to be any in the College Football Playoff any time soon.

The Sooners bounced back from the Army scare by trouncing Baylor 66-33. Kyler Murray has been so electric that the NFL may try to lure him away from baseball, and last weekend was no exception.

It’s not the fact that OU is winning high-scoring games against Big 12 also-rans, it’s how the deed is being accomplished on offense. The Sooners – and their QB – pass the eye test.

Murray is showing great ability as a runner, and if he plays baseball may wind up doing more than just pitching or playing as a big-armed utility fielder. Stolen bases and strikeouts? Murray passed for 432 yards and 6 touchdowns against Baylor on only 21 attempts and ran for another score. Oklahoma’s offense is ranking 8th nationally with 48.6 points per game.

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Longhorns deal with looming loss

The Longhorns may not be cursed, but losing a close opener to a “virtual mid-major” like the Maryland Terrapins casts a pall on a program’s national profile.

Strip away that result, and the Longhorns would look terrific to just about everyone.

Talented young DBs Caden Sterns and B.J. Foster starred with interceptions as the Longhorns grounded Tulsa, a school from a high-scoring conference, 28-21. Then Texas whipped USC 37-14, frustrating the prolific J.T. Daniels and holding the Trojans to nothing on the ground.

What did UT do over the last 2 weeks? Oh, they beat TCU and Kansas State, 2 teams that would each be looking better right now…if Texas hadn’t beat them.

The Longhorn pass rush must yet improve, and there’s a lot to be desired in run-blocking at just 3.7 ypc on the season. But I’m liking the bookends at UT, and the fact that the squad is hot coming in. Ehlinger has developed a great deal since the Maryland game, and Herman might focus on getting the ball to WR Colin Johnson this week. Johnson is just so big physically and has such sure hands that it’s so hard for any college corner to cover him, especially in jump-ball situations.

Red River Showdown: My Prediction

I’m not loving the Longhorns as a moneyline pick. They’re only 5 out of 8 on field goal attempts this season, while Oklahoma’s senior kicker Austin Seibert could be an underrated weapon. Still, the point spread tells the tale.

Texas looks like a contender and would be as highly-ranked as OU if not for the Week 1 loss. Pick the Longhorns ATS or (if you’re feeling adventurous) on the moneyline.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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