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No one wants to ever lay big numbers right? It’s gross and feels like an easy choice. It gets even worse that the Oklahoma Sooners have failed to cover against the spread for the last three games in a row, all while double digit favorites.
Baylor on the other hand has covered in seven of the last eight games at Oklahoma. Does this stat matter though? No it does not. None of the players from the first five games are even rostered anymore. Plus both coaches are new with Sooners head coach Lincoln Reilly the longest tenured, taking over last year.
Baylor is also 3-1 this season and has already passed last seasons win total when they only won one game. They also just won against a pumped up Kansas Jayhawks team. The Jayhawks won two games in a row for the first time in multiple seasons.
So why are we taking the Sooners?
Baylor’s shiny record is slightly flawed as they have played the 96th rated strength of schedule. The Sooners on the other hand have played the 34th most difficult schedule.
Yards per play are where it gets really interesting. Despite the Sooners tough schedule, they are averaging 8.4 yards per play. The defense is only allowing 5.1 yards per play for a differential of 3.3 yards per play. So Oklahoma is moving the ball significantly better than their opponents, but how much better?
Well, let’s compare this differential to our good friends the Alabama Crimson Tide. Head coach Nick Saban and electric sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa are outgaining opponents by 3.2 yards per play. Unlike Oklahoma, the Tide have covered in three of four games as double digit favorites.
Oklahoma’s struggles to cover the spread may be due to some unlucky sequencing. Army converted an insane four of five fourth downs last week. But, part of it is also the lack of starting experience of Junior quarterback Kyler Murray. He has been unable to consistently finish drives and it has gotten even harder with the loss of running back Rodney Anderson. I expect this prolific offense to convert at a higher rate over the season.
Give me the Sooners -23.5 at home against a Baylor Bears team that may be getting too much love.
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