California vs Stanford

Big Game Preview: Stanford Offense Vs. Cal Defense

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Stanford (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12) heads into the 121st Big Game against California (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) with no illusions about what side of the ball is the strength of the team, what works best for that side of the ball, and where they very much want Saturday’s rescheduled matchup (Noon, Pac-12 Networks) decided. Let’s cut to Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football David Shaw after the Cardinal’s 49-42 win over UCLA in Pasadena last Saturday. When asked about the level of comfort with the fact that his team’s big-play nature on offense had essentially become its calling card.

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“I learned a lot this year, and one of them this year is apparently my comfort level doesn’t matter. I haven’t been comfortable all year. We’ve been an enigma, but the one thing that has been consistent has been big plays in the passing game for us.” Indeed it has, and if Stanford is to win the Big Game for the ninth-straight season, that’s going to have to be the case for the Cardinal once more.

Stanford’s 31.8 points per game in Pac-12 play ranks third, coincidentally where the Golden Bears’ defense ranks in scoring defense against the Conference of Champions. Stanford’s strength is its offense, specifically its passing game, and even more specifically, it’s ability to go downtown in the passing game. Stanford has 102 pass plays of 10+ yards, 42 of 20+ and 11 of 30+. Cal’s defense allows the second-fewest yards per attempt in the Pac-12.

First, we check on Cal’s cornerbacks, because when it comes to one-on-one matchups, size matters. One thing Cal’s corners are not is tall. Camryn Bynum is 6’0”, Traveon Beck is 5’9”, Elijah Hicks is 5’11”, and Josh Drayden is 5’10”. Stanford of course counters with 6’3” JJ Arcega-Whiteside, 6’2” Trent Irwin, Michael Wilson, and Osiris St. Brown, 6’4” Simi Fehoko, and that’s before we get to 6’5” tight end Kaden Smith and 6’7” Colby Parkinson.

One thing Cal’s defensive backs are is good. Hicks is the top corner in the conference per Pro Football Focus. He’s been targeted just 29 times this season, maybe the clearest sign of respect a corner can get. Bynum is ranked #14, and Beck is #33 with the cutoff of 300 snaps eliminating Drayden. Beck is Cal’s slot cover guy. He’s lined up there on 86.5% of his snaps this season. He’s been targeted 53 times and forced four incompletions. Bynum has been targeted 10 times and forced 10 incompletions. Both Bynum and Hicks have allowed three touchdowns in coverage this year.

KJ Costello has maintained for the last two years that when he sees man coverage on the outside, the ball’s going up, and he’s held to that on the field. Cal, for its part, trusts its DB’s. Hicks is in press coverage on 38.1% of snaps this year and Bynum plays it 55.1% of the time. That leaves a chunk of snaps where Costello will have to diagnose what Cal is showing him aside from man, and that brings us to the issue of Cal’s ability to bring pressure.

This game is going to come down to the Golden Bears’ ability to “heat up” Stanford’s QB. Cal, on the season, blitzes on 40.4% of its downs and generates pressure on 35.3% of its downs. When you dig deep into PFF’s analysis of Justin Wilcox and Tim DeRuyter’s defense, one thing is clear: Cal doesn’t get there without bringing extra peeps.

In their celebrated win over USC, Cal blitzed on 55.3% of its downs and forced a pressure rate of 26.3%, produced five unblocked pressures, four sacks, and 10 overall pressures. In their four most successful games in terms of generating pressure (ranges from 50-63% pressure generated against Arizona, UCLA, Oregon State, and Washington), Cal’s blitz rate was 45% and above in each game. Expect the Golden Bears to bring the house early and often on Saturday.

The good news for Stanford is that Costello has done very good work against the blitz this season. Costello is completing 65% of his passes and averaging over nine yards per attempt against the blitz. Costello’s 78.3 NFL Passer Rating against pressure is third-best in the conference this year (Arizona’s Khalil Tate is the best at 85.9) and the conference average is 60. So we know KJ can handle the heat, but can his offensive line?

Stanford has been blitzed on 35.2% of downs this season and allowed pressure on 26.5%, which is below the conference average of 30%. Stanford has allowed 20 unblocked pressures through 10 games. The two teams that blitzed Stanford the most (Utah and Oregon State) had mixed success. Both had overall pressure rates of under 30%, but the Utes did get 11 quick pressures (2nd-most of the year against the Cardinal) while the Beavers could only get four. Clearly, talent plays a role in all of this along with tactics.

Another issue Stanford will likely confront is stunting. Wil-Ruyter have been wildly varied in the games they play up front. Against WSU, Cal stunted on 43.1% of its snaps (but blitzed less than usual) and against Colorado, they stunted on 48.6% of snaps. In their blitz-happy game against USC, they only stunted 15.8% of the time. Washington stunted on 42.2% of its snaps vs. Stanford and forced nine quick pressures, the most in the last five games against the Cardinal. Expect blitzes, and expect more twists than an Agatha Christie novel from Cal on Saturday. The good news is that Stanford, as Costello said immediately after the game, played its best pass pro game of the season last week. UCLA blitzed on 36% of downs but only managed 12% pressure rate and one quick pressure the entire game. Stanford’s pass pro seems to be at its best as the season concludes, though aside from the Utes and Notre Dame, it’s been pretty good this season.

This is such a compelling matchup because both teams are going to have their fates settled on the side of the ball they prefer and in the manner they prefer. Can blitz-happy Cal’s strong corners hold up against the Cardinal’s Air Bully Attack?

We find out tomorrow at high noon.

Stay tuned to TheBootleg.com for Stanford Football and Basketball Team and Recruiting Updates all year long!

R.J. Abeytia has been contributing to The Bootleg since 2014. You can follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Abeytia and follow The Bootleg @TheBootleg for up to the moment Cardinal news and analysis.

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Pittsburgh vs Clemson

Clemson football vs. Pittsburgh in ACC Championship Game: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

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Defensive lineman K.J. Henry #13 of the Clemson Tigers reacts as he runs off the field with teammates defensive end Xavier Kelly #22, safety Nolan Turner #24, and linebacker Jalen Williams #30 after the Tigers force a Furman Paladins fumble…

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Not many ACC teams can claim wins over Clemson in recent years, but Pittsburgh is one of them. The Panthers will try to play spoiler once again when they face the No. 2 Tigers on Saturday in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: Clemson -27.5

The Panthers handed Clemson a 43-42 home loss in the most recent meeting in 2016 – the Tigers’ only loss en route to the national championship. Another loss to Pittsburgh would cost the Tigers their fourth consecutive ACC title, and it might deny them a chance to play for another national crown. Clemson has hardly been challenged lately, winning its past seven games by at least 20 points, though the vaunted defense had its most worrisome performance of the season in last week’s 56-35 victory over rival South Carolina. Pittsburgh had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 24-3 loss at Miami last week as the offense inexplicably fell flat after totaling 86 points in the previous two contests.

The Tigers have been dominant on both sides of the ball as they rank third in the nation in total offense and seventh in defense. Clemson boasts one of the most prolific – and most balanced – offenses in the nation with freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence (2,488 yards, 22 touchdowns, four interceptions) and running back Travis Etienne (1,307 yards, 19 TDs) leading the way. The defense has been especially tough against the run, allowing more than 117 rushing yards once and holding seven opponents to 90 yards or fewer on the ground.

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (7-5, 6-2)

The Panthers averaged 40.8 points during their four-game run to clinch the ACC Coastal Division title, but managed only 200 total yards and did not find the end zone last week. To have a chance Saturday, they’ll need a big rebound from running backs Qadree Ollison (1,134 yards, 10 TDs) and Darrin Hall (935 yards, nine TDs), and quarterback Kenny Pickett (1,825 yards, 12 TDs, 5 interceptions) can’t make many back-breaking mistakes. They’ll likely need to put up some points, because a defense that allows 399.9 yards and 27.8 points per game will have a tough time shutting down the Tigers.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Clemson has won eight consecutive games in December dating to a loss to Virginia Tech in the 2011 ACC Championship.

2. The Tigers have scored at least 27 points in a school-record 12 straight contests.

3. Pitt has won its last four games against top-three teams when unranked, including the 2016 victory over No. 2 Clemson and a 24-14 win over No. 2 Miami to close the 2017 regular season.

PREDICTION: Clemson 37, Pittsburgh 13

Northwestern vs Ohio State

Northwestern vs Ohio State: Prediction, pick, Big Ten championship odds, line, TV, live stream, watch online

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Ohio State has long been one of the most dominant teams in the Big Ten, and it has maintained that position since Urban Meyer took over the program in 2012. Still, as dominant as it has been, you might be surprised to learn that the Buckeyes have only won two Big Ten titles in Meyer’s first six seasons. The first came during the 2014 season when the Buckeyes went on to win the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes returned to Indianapolis for the first time since then last season, beating Wisconsin 27-21 for their second Big Ten title under Meyer, but they missed out on the College Football Playoff.

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Now the Buckeyes are back and find themselves in a similar position. They’ll be facing a Northwestern team that took an unusual route to Indianapolis. The Wildcats finished the season 8-4, going 8-1 in Big Ten play to win the West Division, becoming the first team in Power Five history to win their division despite going winless in nonconference play.

If Northwestern is to win the Big Ten this year it will have to do something else you don’t see very often: beat Ohio State. The Buckeyes have dominated this series, going 61-14-1 in the first 76 meetings and they’ve won 30 of the last 31 meetings.

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Dec. 1 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium — Indianapolis, Indiana
TV: FOX | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Storylines

Ohio State: Ohio State played its best game of the season last week against Michigan, crushing its rival 62-39. As impressive as the victory was, however, it only moved the Buckeyes to No. 6 in the College Football Playoff rankings, behind both Georgia and Oklahoma. So if Ohio State wants to reach the playoff this season, it not only needs to beat Northwestern but will have to do so in highly-impressive fashion. This can’t be a close, tough victory. The Buckeyes will need to treat the Wildcats the same way they treated the Wolverines last week.

Northwestern: Way back on Sept. 16, Northwestern blew a 21-3 lead to Akron and lost to the Zips 39-34 after allowing Akron to score two defensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Can you imagine if somebody told you after that game that this same Wildcats team would go 8-1 in Big Ten play and end up in Indianapolis? As preposterous as it may have seemed then, though, it’s the reality now. The Wildcats have made a habit out of playing close games this season, never winning or losing by more than 14. While the formula might not be pretty, it’s worked for them all season long. Now they’re hoping that following it for just one more week will result in a Big Ten championship.

Game prediction, picks

Northwestern is a great story and it’s a much better team than the one we saw in September. Still, it’s benefitted from a down season in the Big Ten, and it hasn’t faced a task as tough as the one it’s getting in Indianapolis. The Buckeyes advantages in this game are everywhere, and with the extra motivation of a possible playoff berth, I’m fully expecting Ohio State to come out with a performance similar to what we saw last week. Pick: Ohio State -14.5

So what college football picks can you make with confidence on Championship Week? And what title contender will go down hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past three seasons.

Clemson vs Pittsburgh

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP: CLEMSON VS. PITTSBURGH ODDS, PICKS, PREDICTIONS FROM EXPERT WHO’S 12-1 ON TIGERS, PANTHERS GAMES

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Clemson looks to claim its fourth straight ACC title when it faces Pittsburgh on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in the 2018 ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. Clemson (12-0) can cement another trip to the College Football Playoff with a win, while Pitt (7-5) is hoping to pull one of the biggest upsets in ACC Championship history. The Tigers are 27.5-point sportsbook favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 52.5 in the latest Clemson vs. Pittsburgh odds. Before you make any Clemson vs. Pittsburgh picks for the ACC Championship 2018, be sure to see what SportsLine senior analyst Josh Nagel has to say.

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A Nevada-based expert with 20 years of experience in the sports wagering industry, Nagel specializes in handicapping college football. He has had another strong year, hitting 60 percent of his spread selections for SportsLine members. Moreover, he has had a keen eye for the tendencies of ACC programs and boasts an amazing 12-1 record in his last 13 against the spread picks involving Pittsburgh or Clemson.

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Just last week, Nagel advised SportsLine members that Pitt (+5.5), with its ACC Championship Game berth already clinched, was due for a letdown spot against a Miami club seeking revenge for an upset loss last year. The result: the Hurricanes rolled to a three-touchdown victory, and anyone who followed Nagel’s advice booked another easy winner.

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Now, he has analyzed Clemson vs. Pittsburgh from every angle and released a confident ACC Championship Game pick that is available only at SportsLine.

Nagel knows the Tigers are eager to build on an impressive run that includes three consecutive College Football Playoff berths and a national championship under head coach Dabo Swinney. After naming standout freshman Trevor Lawrence the permanent starter at quarterback, the Tigers have demolished seven straight opponents by an average of 39 points. Their 27-7 win at Boston College was the closest game in that span.

Lawrence and explosive running back Travis Etienne have ignited an offense that is putting up massive numbers, while a defense loaded with NFL-ready talent is holding opponents to 14 points per game, No. 4 nationally. In last week’s win over South Carolina, Lawrence threw for a career-high 393 yards as the Tigers compiled 744 yards of total offense. They broke open a one-score game at halftime with touchdown drives spanning 75 and 80 yards in the third quarter.

Clemson will need another dominant showing in order to cover against a Pittsburgh team that has historically thrived in the role of underdog.

In fact, Clemson’s last home ACC loss came to Pittsburgh when the Panthers pulled off a 42-41 win as three-touchdown underdogs in 2016. They have similarly caught the rest of the ACC off-guard this season. Pittsburgh was viewed as something of an afterthought following a 2-3 start that included blowout losses to Penn State and UCF.

But Pittsburgh rebounded with a five-game win streak in ACC play, including four by double figures. Sophomore Kenny Pickett has evolved into a solid dual-threat quarterback and the Panthers have relied on a strong running game that is averaging 232.7 yards per contest, No. 17 nationally.

We can tell you Nagel is leaning toward the Over, but his much stronger play is on the spread. He has dissected Clemson vs. Pittsburgh from every angle and unearthed the critical x-factor that causes one side of the spread to hit hard. He’s only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.

Who covers Pittsburgh vs. Clemson? And what critical factor makes one side a must-back? Join SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over in the ACC Championship, from a senior analyst who’s hitting 92 percent of his picks involving these teams, and find out. 

Alabama vs Georgia

Alabama vs. Georgia odds, line: SEC Championship picks, predictions from expert who’s 9-4 on Bulldogs, Crimson Tide games

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Alabama vs Georgia

A much-anticipated rematch serves as the backdrop for the 2018 SEC Championship Game as the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0) face the fourth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (11-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on CBS. The SEC Championship is sure to send the winner to the College Football Playoff, where these programs met last year in a memorable championship game. Alabama rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to win 26-23 in overtime. Georgia won the SEC title last year to end Alabama’s run of three straight conference championships, but the Tide went on to win their fourth national title this decade under coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide are 12-point favorites in the latest Alabama vs. Georgia odds, down from an opener of 13.5 in most markets. The over-under for total points is set at 64. Before you lock in your own Alabama vs. Georgia picks, check out what SportsLine senior analyst Josh Nagel has to say.

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A Nevada-based expert with 20 years of experience in the sports wagering industry, Nagel specializes in handicapping college football. He has had another strong year, hitting 60 percent of his spread selections for SportsLine members. Moreover, he has had a keen eye for the tendencies of these programs and boasts a record of 9-4 on against the spread picks involving Georgia or Alabama.

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Nagel advised SportsLine members to anticipate Georgia’s late-season surge and recommended backing the Bulldogs (-9) in their key matchup at Kentucky. The result: the Bulldogs rolled to a 34-17 win to clinch the SEC East, and anyone who followed Nagel’s advice pocketed a comfortable winner.

Now, he has analyzed Alabama vs. Georgia in the 2018 SEC Championship Game (stream live on fuboTV) from every angle and released a confident against the spread pick that is available at SportsLine.

A major concern for the Bulldogs this season was filling the shoes of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who formed one of the top backfield duos in college football. They were both early selections in the NFL draft, but the Bulldogs appear to have reloaded with another dynamic combination in sophomore D’Andre Swift and junior Elijah Holyfield. They have combined for 1,858 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Georgia averages 260.3 rushing yards per contest, ranking No. 11 in the country. Sophomore Jake Fromm has had a standout season in his second year as the starting quarterback. He is completing 69 percent of his passes for 2,236 yards and 24 touchdowns against five interceptions. The Bulldogs rank No. 13 nationally in scoring offense at 40.1 points per game.

The Bulldogs will need another complete performance in order to cover against an Alabama club that has been crushing SEC opponents and college football spreads in the process.

The Crimson Tide have covered the spread in six of their eight SEC wins, including a run of five straight heading into the SEC Championship Game. They used a huge second half to throttle Auburn, 52-21, last week in the Iron Bowl.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made his memorable debut when he replaced an ineffective Jalen Hurts in the second half of last year’s title game against Georgia. He returned along with a loaded supporting cast to lead the Crimson Tide to the nation’s second-best scoring offense at 49 points per game.

We can tell you Nagel is leaning toward the Under, but his much stronger play is on the spread. He has analyzed Georgia vs. Alabama from every angle and unearthed the critical factor that he believes causes one side of the spread to hit hard. He’s sharing what it is, and who to back, only at SportsLine.

Who covers in Alabama vs. Georgia? And what critical factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump on in the SEC Championship, all from a senior analyst who’s hitting nearly 70 percent of his picks involving these teams, and find out.

Fresno State vs Boise State

Mountain West Championship odds: Fresno State vs Boise State picks, predictions from expert who’s 8-2 on Broncos games

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It’s a rematch for the Mountain West Conference championship as Boise State hosts Fresno State in a clash of top-25 teams on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. ET. The Broncos are favored by two in the latest Boise State vs. Fresno State odds, with the over-under at 53, up four from the opening line. The Broncos handed the Bulldogs their only MWC loss of the season, 24-17 on Nov. 9, and beat them in last year’s MWC Championship Game, 17-14. Boise State has won seven straight, while Fresno State has won nine of 10, so before you make your own Boise State vs. Fresno State picks and predictions, you’ll want to hear what Vegas legend Micah Roberts has to say.

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Roberts has worked in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry for 20 years, including a 13-year run as Station Casinos’ book director. Armed with an unmatched network of sources, he’s crushed college football for SportsLine since 2016, and that’s especially true when it comes to games involving Boise State. He’s 8-2 on spread picks for or against the Broncos, including when he took San Diego State (+14) in a 19-13 straight-up Aztecs victory in October. Anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, Roberts has scrutinized Boise State vs. Fresno State from every possible angle to reveal a strong point-spread pick that he’s sharing only at SportsLine. 

Roberts knows Boise State’s offense has been tough to slow down this season. The Broncos are averaging 37 points per game, led by quarterback Brett Rypien, who was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year. The senior quarterback heads into Saturday’s game with 3,580 passing yards on 68.8 percent passing with 29 touchdowns, ranking in the top 10 nationally.

His backfield mate, running back Alexander Mattison, was a first-team All-MWC pick. He has gained 1,215 yards rushing with 16 touchdowns, tops in the MWC. Mattison has been red-hot in his last five games, recording 714 yards and nine touchdowns during that span.

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Fresno State’s defense has been dominant all season. The Broncos’ 24 points were the second-most the unit has allowed all season – the most was 27 by Toledo in an easy 22-point Fresno victory on Sept. 29. Junior linebacker Jeff Allison was named MWC Defensive Player of the Year, while defensive back Anthoula Kelly and defensive end Mykal Walker were first-teamers as well. Allison registered 109 tackles.

Fresno State’s offense doesn’t garner the awards like Boise State’s, but the Bulldogs enter Saturday’s showdown averaging 36.3 points per game. Bulldogs QB Marcus McMaryion filled up the stat sheet this season, completing 70.5 percent of his passes for 3,283 yards, 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

We can tell you Roberts is leaning toward the under, but he has also unearthed the crucial x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s only sharing his pick over at SportsLine.

Who covers in Boise State vs. Fresno State? And which crucial x-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you should jump on, all from a seasoned expert who’s nailed eight of his last 10 spread picks involving the Broncos, and find out.

Middle Tennessee vs UAB

Conference USA Championship Game — Middle Tennessee vs UAB: TV channel info, live stream, watch online

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Sometimes, you just have to run it back. That’s what UAB and Middle Tennessee are doing in in Saturday’s Conference USA Championship Game. The UAB Blazers are playing the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders for the second straight week on Saturday, after a 27-3 blowout victor by the Blue Raiders last week. The game will also be played in Middle Tennessee’s Floyd Stadium, as the Blue Raiders try to take down the Blazers for the Conference USA title. That’s tough to do, but after a decisive win last Saturday, it’s going to be tough to beat the Blue Raiders. However, this game is for the conference crown, so UAB, after a historic season, isn’t going to just roll over.

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Storylines: For UAB, the story is pretty simple: They need way more out of their playmakers. The Blazers had 89 total yards against Middle Tennessee in the first game, with quarterbacks Tyler Johnston III and A.J. Erdely going a combined 9-of-24 passing for 90 yards and a pick. Erdely was sacked seven times, and the running game was nearly nonexistent. Middle Tennessee quarterback Brent Stockstill completed 22-of-29 passes for a pair of touchdowns in an impressive display. UAB simply needs to play better. Middle Tennessee is 5-1 in its last six (8-4 on the season), while UAB is currently 9-3. Beating teams twice in a row is no easy feat — UAB had a lot to look over this week — but if they overlooked the Blue Raiders before, they certainly aren’t doing so now.

So what college football picks can you make with confidence on Championship Week? And what title contender will go down hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past three seasons.

Oklahoma vs Texas

Oklahoma vs Texas odds, line: Big 12 Championship Game picks, predictions from model on 43-23 roll

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Oklahoma vs Texas

The Oklahoma vs. Texas rivalry is one of the greatest in all of sports, and on Saturday it will be taken to even greater heights as they meet in the 2018 Big 12 Championship Game. It’s a Red River Showdown rematch and the first matchup was highly competitive and entertaining, with Texas winning 48-45 on a last-second field goal. The Sooners are 7.5-point favorites this time around and the total is set at 78 in the latest Oklahoma vs. Texas odds. This all should make for a riveting Big 12 Championship and before you make any selections, you’ll definitely want to take a look at the Oklahoma vs. Texas picks from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The advanced computer simulates every FBS game 10,000 times, and those who have followed it have seen massive returns. Over the past three years, this proprietary computer model has generated a jaw-dropping $4,210 profit for $100 bettors.

The model made some huge calls during Rivalry Week, including nailing Ohio State’soutright upset of Michigan as a 4.5-point underdog. And when it comes to all top-rated picks, the model has been red hot, entering Championship Week on a blistering 43-23 run. Anybody who has followed it is way, way up.

Now, the model has simulated every possible play for Texas vs. Oklahoma 10,000 times. We can tell you it is leaning toward the under, but it has a strong selection against the spread, saying one side hits in 55 percent of simulations. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.

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Oklahoma’s biggest advantage in this one will be an elite offense. Led by quarterback Kyler Murray, the Sooners’ offense has been truly unstoppable and their quick-strike ability means they’re never out of any game, as evidenced by their comeback against Texas earlier this year.

The Sooners have ended a staggering 24.5 percent of their possessions this season with a touchdown of 20 yards or longer. No other team in the country does it on more than 20 percent of their drives, putting Oklahoma’s big-play ability in truly unrivaled territory. If the Sooners can hit on a few of those big plays early, they should have a great shot at covering as 7.5-point favorites.

But just because Oklahoma’s offense is firing on all cylinders with Murray under center doesn’t mean it can cover the spread in the Red River Showdown II.

For three quarters, Texas dominated in its first meeting against Oklahoma, which will be the blueprint for the Longhorns again Saturday. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger was impressive in that contest, throwing for 314 yards and two touchdowns, while also scoring three rushing touchdowns.

So, which side of Oklahoma vs. Texas hits against the spread in 55 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see the Big 12 Championship Game pick, all from the model that has returned over $4,000 in profit for $100 bettors, and find out.