No. 6 Oklahoma meets No. 21 Texas in the Red River Showdown in Dallas on Saturday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12 pm on FOX. This game carries huge implications in the Big 12 championship race for 2021.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian will get his first crack 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 ranks second in the FBS with 652 rushing yards and seven TDs.
Oklahoma (5-0) remains undefeated, but there are questions whether the Sooners are for real because of a slew of one-score victories. Lincoln Riley is 4-1 against Texas, and quarterback Spencer Rattler gets his second start in the rivalry matchup.
This rivalry will move to the SEC in the future, but it’s huge for the Big 12 right now. With that in mind, here is everything bettors need to know about the matchup between the Sooners and Longhorns:
Oklahoma vs. Texas odds
- Spread: Oklahoma -3.5
- Over/under: 63.5
- Moneyline: Oklahoma -178, Texas +144
Three trends to know
— Oklahoma is 4-1 S/U against Texas in the last five meetings, 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. This is the first game in 2021 where Oklahoma has been favored by single digits, however.
Three things to watch
— Spencer Rattler’s efficiency. Rattler has completed 78.7 percent of his passes the last two weeks, and he did hit eight different receivers in last week’s victory against Kansas State. The Longhorns are allowing 7.7 yards per pass, and Rattler had 260 total yards and four TDs in last year’s four-overtime victory. That experience in a high-pressure rivalry makes a difference, and he should be able to keep that offense moving 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 won’t be the case this season. Robinson averages 21 carries and 130.6 rushing yards per game, and he creates a mismatch in the receiving game, too. That can offset Oklahoma linebacker Nik Bonitto, who leads the Sooners with 5.5 tackles for loss off the edge. These two SN Preseason All-Americans are key chess pieces in this matchup when the Longhorns are on offense.
— Which big-play receiver steps up? In a wide-open game, which receiver steps up and makes the big catch? Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims averages 18.9 yards per catch, but he has yet to score a TD through five games. Texas receivers Jordan Whittington and Xavier Worthy have combined for seven TD passes.
Stat that matters
Texas quarterback Casey Thompson, an Oklahoma City native whose father Charles was a star QB for the Sooners, will be the key for the Longhorns. He’s completed 71.4 percent of his passes in three starts, and he poses a threat in the running game. Sam Ehlinger scored four rushing TDs in last year’s matchup. Thompson will need to match Rattler on the big plays while limiting turnovers. If he can do that, then the Longhorns will have a chance.
Oklahoma vs. Texas prediction
High emotions go hand in hand with this game, especially in the first half. The team that has led at halftime has won four of the last five meetings, and Texas and Oklahoma were tied at 17 at half last year. Big plays will happen on both sides, and it is about the team that can handle those swings. Rattler’s experience in the game is a huge plus, and the Sooners will lead by a touchdown at halftime. This is a case where playing in all those one-score games will help, and Oklahoma holds off Texas when it gets wild in the second half. A late interception seals the victory.
Final score: Oklahoma 38, Texas 31
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