On Saturday (10/7/23), Oklahoma faces Texas in the Red River Rivalry game. In this article, find a full preview of the matchup including the latest betting odds and an official prediction. In addition, find our best bet which is Texas -6.5.
Oklahoma Vs. Texas Prediction & Best Bet
Texas and Oklahoma face off in the last version of the Red River Rivalry game with these teams playing in the Big 12. Oklahoma will be hungry for revenge after Texas earned a massive 49-0 win last year, and they’ll be in better shape under center – starting passer Dillon Gabriel was out for that game and five different players attempted passes for the Sooners.
Dillon Gabriel’s raw numbers to start this season have been very impressive with 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions, but we can probably expect regression coming soon. He has six turnover-worthy plays over the last three weeks, and Texas’s defense will be more equipped to take advantage of any mistakes than his opponents so far.
Oklahoma hasn’t run the ball very well this season, and they’ve relied on Dillon Gabriel’s ability to bail them out in passing downs – the Sooners are just 89th in rushing EPA and average just 4.0 yards per carry, which ranks 75th in the country. The loss of Eric Gray, who had nearly 1,600 yards from scrimmage last year, has hurt their early down success. It doesn’t get easier against a Texas run defense ranked top 12 in EPA and success rate.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s defense looks much improved from last year. However, they’re succeeding at an unsustainable rate in highly variable areas. The Sooners rank top 12 in third down conversion rate and red zone rate allowed, and it’s clear that regression can be expected once they face a better offense. That should be the case this week.
One of the biggest issues for Texas last year was their lack of big plays on offense. They’ve resolved that to start this year – they rank 17th in explosiveness after ranking outside the top 100 last year. Despite an easy schedule so far, Oklahoma ranks 83rd in explosiveness allowed and Iowa State had a 70th percentile explosive play rate against them last week.
Quinn Ewers has every ability to take advantage of a very aggressive Oklahoma defense, and Ewers has six touchdowns to no interceptions against the blitz this season. Xavier Worthy and Georgia transfer Adonai Mitchell are outstanding receivers, but it’s tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders who could be in for the biggest game of the bunch after scoring two touchdowns against the Sooners last year.
I expect this game to be much closer than last year’s 49-0 beatdown by Texas, but I still see significant advantages for Steve Sarkisian’s group that has continued to recruit at a national championship level. Brent Venables has his team moving in the right direction, but the Longhorns are ready for another statement win against their rival.
Oklahoma Vs. Texas Prediction & Best Bet: Texas -6.5
Oklahoma Vs. Texas Best Odds
Oct. 07, 11:00 AM Moneyline Odds updated October 7th, 2023, at 2:49 pm
OU @ TX
Oct. 07, 11:00 AM
Odds updated October 7th, 2023, at 2:49 pm
The spread for this game opened at -4 or -4.5 for Texas on most sportsbooks, but it was quickly steamed all the way to Texas -6.5. I imagine we’ll see enough market resistance to keep this line on this side of the key 7, but watch the odds throughout the week to see where the market moves.
Oklahoma Vs. Texas Key Matchups
I try to bring you guys some different interesting matchups in these breakdowns, but this week, it’s all about the quarterbacks. Let’s break down how Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel and Texas’s Quinn Ewers can help determine the outcome of this game.
Dillon Gabriel Vs. Texas’s Pass Defense
Oklahoma currently has the most efficient passing offense in the country by EPA and success rate, and Dillon Gabriel has been tremendous to start the year. Gabriel has thrown for 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions and his 10.1 yards per attempt rank 12th in the Power Five among qualified passers.
I can’t help but wonder how Gabriel will fare against a much tougher defense than he’s faced to this point. Thus far, Oklahoma’s opponents have averaged out as the 89th-ranked pass defense by EPA and 73rd by success rate. Texas, meanwhile, is top 25 defensively in both of those metrics.
The major weakness in the Texas pass defense has been allowing explosives – they’re 111th in pass play explosiveness allowed. Gabriel has been very effective as a deep ball passer this year, and he’ll look to take advantage. He has averaged 24.9 yards per attempt on 20+ yard throws per PFF, which leads the Power Five.
Quinn Ewers Vs. Oklahoma’s Pass Defense
It seems like Quinn Ewers saves his best for the biggest games, and this certainly qualifies. Overall, there’s not much with Ewers’s advanced metrics that suggest he’s been among the country’s best quarterbacks – he has just four big-time throws through five games according to PFF. However, three of those came against Alabama.
In that road game in Tuscaloosa, against what I consider a top three defense in the country, Ewers was electric with three big-time throws. He completed 8 of his 13 pass attempts 10+ yards downfield in that game, finishing with 349 yards and three touchdowns overall. If that Quinn Ewers shows up on Saturday, it could be curtains for the Sooners.
Oklahoma ranks 11th in passing success rate allowed so far, but they haven’t faced anyone close to the caliber of Ewers yet. Ewers threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns against Oklahoma last year, and while the Sooners defense has improved, you can argue Ewers is also a better player than he was last year.
Quinn Ewers to AD Mitchell, touchdown Texas.
Dot x2 pic.twitter.com/K2C70s1GV2
— CJ Vogel (@CJVogel_TFB) September 10, 2023