TCU at Oklahoma
Saturday, 4 pm PT - FOX
Oklahoma -10 O/U 48
Oklahoma -9.5 O/U 46.5
Rob Veno's Power Rating:
Rob Veno's Recommendation:
This would appear to be a difficult sandwich spot for Oklahoma. The Sooners are off of a convincing win and cover at Notre Dame and they have arch rival Texas on deck. Any letdown by OU against this TCU team figures to be harmful. Sooners quarterback Blake Bell has seemed to settle into the starting role quite comfortably over the last two games, directing the offense to 1,057 total yards and 79 points. Bell has sparked the passing attack by completing 73.1% of his passes (49-of-67) for 645 yards, six touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
On the ground, Oklahoma has averaged 203 yards per game on 4.72 per carry. The 86 rush attempts and 67 pass attempts show terrific play calling balance. The dual threat Bell had 22 carries for 93 yards against Tulsa and Notre Dame. Here however, the defensive challenge is significantly tougher as TCU’s speed and tackling ability are better than either of the Sooners previous pair of opponents. TCU did allow 37 points on a neutral field in their opener vs. LSU but in that game they held Zach Mettenberger to a season low 50% completions. The Horned Frogs pass rush and secondary are again combining to wreak havoc registering 15 sacks and nine interceptions through four games. TCU may be tested on the ground in this game by the physical Sooners front because their overall rush defense numbers are a bit skewed. They’ve been dominant against non-rushing teams Texas Tech and SMU but allowed 197 and 207 rushing yards to LSU and FCS Southeastern Louisiana respectively.
The offense will need to pick things up if TCU is going to have a chance to win here. Over the first third of the season, the Horned Frogs are averaging just 349.2 typg and that’s with three of their opponents possessing average to below average defenses. Oklahoma has been stellar defensively thus far and should make things tough on TCU’s ground attack. Quarterback Treyvon Boykin remains erratic throwing the football so establishing the run is crucial for TCU. The short passing game could work as a running game here for them as they try to stay ahead of the chains on first down. Turnovers and special teams are a significant piece of the Horned Frogs point production this season. They’ve already had three touchdowns from defense and kick returns and they are averaging 151.8 return yards per contest. While they were lit up for a 77 yard punt return by Tulsa’s Tre Watts, Oklahoma has allowed only 200 return yards total (including interceptions).
This is a tough spot for Oklahoma and even though they’re at home, it’s hard to imagine a fully focused effort here. In the one game they played against a team with similar defensive traits to TCU, West Virginia held Oklahoma here in Norman, to 16 points and forced four turnovers. OU is the better team on both sides of the ball in this matchup so they should win but the -10.5 just seems too big. TCU knows how to get into grind it out dogfights and they know how to cover as a true road underdog (5-1 ATS L2Y). In a game that’s likely to be close, I’ll take a small stance with TCU plus the double-digit price.
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