Oklahoma vs Houston College Football Odds and Expert Pick

Posted by Peter Boysen on September 2, 2016 in

Two of the top offenses in the nation will square off when Oklahoma heads down to take on the Houston Cougars in Week 1. Both of these offenses were in the top ten in the nation in 2015, with Oklahoma putting up 43.5 points per game (#4) and Houston posting 40.4 (#10). Both teams are returning their quarterbacks, as Baker Mayfield will lead the Sooner attack and two-way thread Greg Ward Jr. returns for the Cougars. Read our preview before locking in your college football betting pick for this matchup.

Oklahoma vs Houston College Football Odds and Expert Pick

When: Saturday, September 3, 2016, 12:00 PM ET
NRG Stadium, Houston
Sooner Sports Radio Network / Sports Radio ESPN 1420 AM Houston
Live Stream: 
Oklahoma (-11.5), O/U Total 68

Why should you bet on Oklahoma?

When this line first opened, the Sooners were 10-point favorites, and now that gap has opened to 11.5 points. In addition to Mayfield, the Sooners have a pair of terrific tailbacks in Samaje Perine (17 touchdowns in 2015) and Joe Mixon (11). If you add that to the 43 combined touchdowns that Mayfield accounted for in 2015, you can see how the Sooners mounted such a fearsome attack. Because Oklahoma has a slightly more diversified offensive attack than the Cougars, the Sooners can simply dare the Cougars to run the ball over them while pinning their ears back on the pass rush.

Why should you put your money down on Houston?

The Oklahoma offensive line did not do a good job of protecting Mayfield last year, as he was sacked 39 times in 2015 — the second most in FBS. So if the Cougars can mount a pass rush, they can make this a long day. The arm and feet of Ward also will give the Sooner defense fits. Ward was one of two quarterbacks in FBS last year to run for over 1,000 yards and throw for more than 2,000. The other one? Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. So if the Sooners aren’t careful, they could find themselves down two or three touchdowns in a hurry.

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

This is the statement game that Houston has been waiting to play since Tom Herman showed up on campus to lead the team. They would have been in the College Football Playoff conversation last year if they hadn’t had to take their backup quarterback into a game at Connecticut last season, where they laid an awful egg and took their only loss of the season. I like the Cougars to make their statement with a 31-27 win.