No. 6 Oklahoma takes on No. 21 Texas at the Red River Showdown in Dallas on Saturday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12 pm on FOX. This game has huge implications for the Big 12 championship race for 2021.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian will get his first shot at the rivalry. The Longhorns (4-1) shook off their loss to Arkansas and rank sixth in the FBS with 43.8 points per game. Bijan Robinson is second in the FBS with 652 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
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Oklahoma (5-0) remains undefeated, but there are questions about whether the Sooners are real due to a slew of wins by a score. Lincoln Riley is 4-1 against Texas, and quarterback Spencer Rattler has his second start in the rivalry matchup.
This rivalry will carry over to the SEC in the future, but it’s huge for the Big 12 right now. With that in mind, here’s everything bettors need to know about the Sooners vs. Longhorns showdown:
Oklahoma vs. Texas odds
- Spread: Oklahoma -3.5
- Below: 63.5
- Money line: Oklahoma -178, Texas +144
Three trends to know
– Oklahoma is 4-1 S / U against Texas in the last five games, but the Sooners are 2-3 ATS in those games.
– Texas is 4-1 ATS this season, but this is Sarkisian’s first game as an underdog. The Longhorns are 8-3 ATS in neutral site games since 2017.
– The Sooners are 0-4 ATS against FBS opponents this season. However, this is the first game in 2021 in which Oklahoma has been favored by single digits.
Three things to look at
– The efficiency of Spencer Rattler. Rattler has completed 78.7 percent of his passes in the past two weeks, and he did hit eight different receivers in last week’s win against Kansas State. The Longhorns are allowing 7.7 passing yards, and Rattler had 260 total yards and four TDs in last year’s four-overtime victory. That experience in a high-pressure rivalry makes all the difference, and he should be able to keep that offense heading in the right direction.
– Bijan Robinson’s workload. Robinson had five carries for 17 yards in a minor role in last year’s game. That will not be the case this season. Robinson is averaging 21 carries and 130.6 rushing yards per game, and he also creates a receiving game mismatch. That may make up for Oklahoma linebacker Nik Bonitto, who leads the Sooners with 5.5 tackles per loss from the edge. These two SN preseason All-Americans are key chess pieces in this matchup when the Longhorns are on offense.
– Which big game catcher advances? In an open game, which receiver steps up and makes the big catch? Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims is averaging 18.9 yards per reception, but has yet to score a TD in five games. Texas receivers Jordan Whittington and Xavier Worthy have combined for seven touchdown passes.
Statistics that matter
Texas quarterback Casey Thompson, an Oklahoma City native whose father Charles was a star quarterback for the Sooners, will be the key for the Longhorns. He has completed 71.4 percent of his passes in three starts and poses a threat in the running game. Sam Ehlinger scored four rushing touchdowns in last year’s matchup. Thompson will need to match Rattler on the big plays while limiting turnovers. If he can do that, the Longhorns will have a chance.
Oklahoma vs Texas prediction
Strong emotions go hand in hand with this match, especially in the first half. The team he has led at halftime has won four of the last five meetings, and Texas and Oklahoma were tied at 17 at the half last year. The big plays will happen on both sides, and it’s about the team that can handle those changes. Rattler’s experience in the game is a huge advantage, and the Sooners will lead with a touchdown at halftime. This is a case where playing in all those one-score games will help, and Oklahoma holds Texas at bay when it goes wild in the second half. A late interception seals victory.
Final score: Oklahoma 38, Texas 31
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.