Oklahoma State is surging behind star RB Ollie Gordon II, while Oklahoma is trying to bounce back from an upset loss to Kansas. Let’s dive into the odds and best bets for Saturday’s final Bedlam matchup.
Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State Prediction & Best Bet
A month ago, this line would’ve seemed bizarre. Everything has been trending toward Oklahoma State over the last few weeks, however. Can the Cowboys deliver a strong performance against rival Oklahoma on Saturday?
It’s going to be an offensive battle, which Oklahoma still seems poised to win even after Ollie Gordon II’s emergence for the Cowboys. Dillon Gabriel was in command of the offense against Kansas after an early turnover, bouncing back (despite losing) after failing to finish too many drives against UCF. It’s not clear whether Oklahoma State can match that.
The passing game has been better since the running game started dominating, but an unproven Alan Bowman is going up against an Oklahoma defense that averages nearly two interceptions per game. That puts a great deal of pressure on Gordon, and the book is out on the sophomore – Oklahoma’s solid run defense knows the singular goal of the game has to be containing Gordon, and the Sooners should have better personnel to do that than West Virginia and Cincinnati did.
Had this line stayed above a touchdown, Oklahoma State would be the better play at home. With Oklahoma on notice after the loss to Kansas, however, Gabriel and the passing game know there is no margin for error and should be the difference given Oklahoma State’s concerns in the passing game.
Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State Prediction & Best Bet: Oklahoma -6
Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State Best Betting Odds
Oklahoma is a 6-point road favorite, sitting at -225 on the moneyline. The over/under is 61.5 points.
This line has shifted by four or five points over the past week, depending on the sportsbook. Oklahoma was naturally a heavier favorite before the loss to Kansas, but the way Ollie Gordon II has injected life into the Cowboys is just as much of a factor in Oklahoma State gaining steam.
Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Saturday’s game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Ollie Gordon II vs. Oklahoma Run Defense
There is no more important mission for Oklahoma than containing Gordon. There has been no more explosive player in college football than Gordon over the last few weeks, as the sophomore has rushed for 270+ yards in each of his last two games and has five consecutive games of 120+ yards with eight touchdowns in that span.
Oklahoma, however, statistically has a better run defense than Oklahoma State’s last two opponents. The Sooners are allowing 3.7 yards per carry, which is second in the Big 12 behind Texas. While Cincinnati, which just had its defense shredded by Gordon, isn’t far behind, it will be fascinating to see how well Oklahoma can contain the star.
The Sooners haven’t faced too many high-end running backs, but both Jonathon Brooks and Devin Neal posted more than 110 yards in their matchups with Oklahoma. Gordon might not need 250 yards for Oklahoma State to win, but he does need to be highly efficient.
Oklahoma State averages 1.1 defensive interceptions per game, which is an above-average rate, but Oklahoma’s mark of 1.8 is the highest among all power-five programs. It’s going to be critical for Alan Bowman to avoid turnovers and just let Gordon take care of the ball.
Bowman has been better since the Cowboys’ running game picked up, but he has an interception in each of his last two starts. In a game that will likely be dominated by offense, one mistake could give the opponent the advantage.
That’s what happened to Oklahoma against Kansas, as a DIllon Gabriel pick-six from the very start of the game loomed large in a one-possession battle. For Gabriel, who has three interceptions in his last four games, avoiding a fateful mistake like that will be crucial.