The No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners (6-0, 3-0) put their undefeated record on the line when they host the TCU Horned Frogs (3-2, 1-1 in Big XII) in Norman Saturday for a Week 7 conference showdown.
TCU snapped a two-game losing streak after pummeling the Texas Tech Red Raiders 52-31 as 2.5-point road favorites this past Saturday. However, the Horned Frogs’ previous two losses came against quality teams. TCU lost 32-27 to the No. 25 Texas Longhorns as 4-point home underdogs in Week 6. Also, the Horned Frogs lost 42-34 to the No. 25 SMU Mustangs in Week 5 but failed to cover as 8-point home favorites. According to USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin, TCU is 1-3-1 against the spread (ATS) and 3-2 Over/Under with the 50th-ranked strength of schedule.
Oklahoma beat generation-old rival Texas in the Red River Shootout last weekend 55-48 in an instant classic. The Sooners rallied back from a three-TD first-quarter deficit and backdoor covered as 4-point favorites with a 33-yard TD run by RB Kennedy Brooks with three seconds remaining. However, Oklahoma is struggling to win by a margin as the Sooners failed to cover in their previous three victories. Oklahoma is just 2-4 ATS despite in four of the six contests and Sagarin grading the Sooners’ strength of schedule 52nd.
- Opening Line: Oklahoma -12
- Current Line: Oklahoma -13.5
- Over/Under: 65
- Location: Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
- Start Time: Saturday, October 16, 2021, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Last Meeting: Oklahoma routed TCU 33-14 on Oct. 24, 2020, as 6.5-point road favorites, and the Under cashed on a 59-point total.
Lincoln Riley was hired as Oklahoma’s head coach in 2017. Since then, Oklahoma has been 19-22-1 ATS vs. Big XII teams and 15-13 ATS at home. Over that same period, TCU is 3-5 ATS as a road underdog, 17-22 ATS in Big XII games, and 6-8 ATS vs. ranked competition. The Sooners have covered five of its past six meetings with the Horned Frogs, and the Under has cashed in four of the last five Oklahoma-TCU meetings.
There’s been sharp line movement towards Oklahoma. According to Pregame.com, more than 70% of the cash wagered is on the Sooners, which has caused oddsmakers to move their price up from the 12-point opener to nearly a two-TD favorite. On the other hand, more than 90% of the action is on the Over, but the total has been brought down from the 66.5-point consensus opener. This is what we call “reverse line movement” (RLM) in the biz. It’s suspicious any time a sportsbook makes the more popular side cheaper.
Aside from Oklahoma’s incredible comeback, the biggest storyline from the Red River Shootout was Riley replacing Sooners starting QB Spencer Rattler with QB Caleb Williams. We’re still in the dark on who’ll be Oklahoma starter vs. TCU, but I’m expecting Williams to get the nod. With that in mind, I “lean” TCU plus the points because Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson is known for his defensive prowess. In addition, Patterson has game film on Williams and could scheme up some looks to get Oklahoma’s offense off the field.
Furthermore, TCU is much better in high-leverage situations. For instance, TCU is third in the country in third-down conversion rate and has a 100% red zone scoring rate. Moreover, the Horned Frogs rank ahead of the Sooners in offensive points per drive, points per play, first-down rate, and busted drive rate. Plus, the market is underrating Horned Frogs’ skill position players. TCU RBs Kendre Miller and Zach Evans lead the conference in yards per rush, and QB Max Duggan has the third-best passer efficiency rating in the Big XII.
Lastly, I feel more decisive about the UNDER 65.5 (-115 at FanDuel) based on more of a hunch than logic. First, this has to be a market high for both offenses. Each team dropped a 50-burger last week as TCU knifed through Texas Tech’s defense, and Oklahoma trampled Texas even after replacing its quarterback. More importantly, the RLM towards the Under is startingly. The Big XII is known for air raid offenses, high-scoring shootouts, and the market is hammering the Over. Yet, the total is getting lower. Hmmm. Seems suspicious.
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