Arkansas vs. Oklahoma Odds, Picks and Predictions: Sooners Have Defensive Edge Against Razorbacks (Saturday, Dec. 11)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Porter Moser.
- Eric Musselman and the undefeated Arkansas Razorbacks face Porter Moser and the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday afternoon.
- The Razorbacks (-1) opened as 1.5-point underdogs, but updated odds show a 2.5-point swing in Arkansas' favor.
- Read on for Anthony Dabbundo's full college basketball betting preview for Arkansas vs. Oklahoma, including odds, picks, and predictions for Saturday's game.
Arkansas vs. Oklahoma Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
Arkansas has begun the season 9-0 in nonconference play, but the Razorbacks will have their toughest test of the season to date on Saturday as they meet Oklahoma at a neutral site venue in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Sooners have notched a couple impressive wins early in the Porter Moser era in Norman, beating Florida at home last week and winning at UCF the week prior. OU did lose its last game at home to Butler in overtime, making this an excellent bounce-back opportunity and a chance for both teams to add a likely quadrant-one win to their resumes.
The Razorbacks’ most impressive wins this year have come against Cincinnati and Kansas State, but they haven’t performed particularly well against the spread. Arkansas is 5-4 ATS but has been very fortunate to cover with backdoor runs in the final minute in four of those five covers, especially against Northern Iowa, Cincinnati and most recently, Charlotte.
Eric Musselman’s team will be challenged on Saturday and is a little overinflated on the spread thanks to its unbeaten record to begin the year.
Musselman’s program took a huge step forward in 2020-21 when the Razorbacks made the Elite 8 and finished second in the SEC regular-season standings behind Alabama. The Razorbacks were a bit fortunate to get there though, sneaking by Texas Tech in Round 2 and barely beating 15-seed Oral Roberts in the Sweet 16.
Musselman went to the transfer portal to acquire talent lost from last year, bringing in shifty point guard Chris Lykes from Miami, wing Au’Diese Toney from Pittsburgh and bench role player Stanley Umude from South Dakota. The Hogs like to play fast, they like to run in transition and use their athletes and length to overwhelm opponents. One thing that they significantly lack is perimeter shooting.
The Hogs rank 307th in 3-point shooting this year after finishing 193rd last season and losing their two best perimeter shooters. It doesn’t appear to be a fluke that they’ve started the year poorly — they just don’t have anyone who can consistently shoot over 35% from beyond the arc.
Arkansas is most comfortable when it’s able to cause chaos, speed up opponents, turn them over and run out in transition, but it’s hard to see that being successful against Moser’s disciplined, relatively slow-paced Oklahoma team. The Sooners can force Arkansas to execute in the half court, something the Hogs do which less frequency than all but 52 Division I teams.
The Sooners have all of the personnel to be an excellent defensive team with Jordan Goldwire and Elijah Harkless locking down the backcourt and Jalen Hill on the wing. All three are plus defenders on the ball, critically important to stopping the Razorbacks offense that can go iso at times, but is heavily reliant on cuts and pick-and-rolls to generate space for shots.
The Hogs are willing to let teams shoot it from beyond the arc this season, and that’s a major plus for Tanner Groves — a 6-foot-10 floor spacer who’s made 42% from deep this season. Groves isn’t Cameron Krutwig, but he is effective out of the post and a lot of the Sooner offense runs through him and his ability to both post-up and space the floor.
Goldwire doesn’t score a ton, but he is efficient, both as a scorer and a passer. And while Hill has pretty low usage numbers early in the season, he’s been very effective in that usage and will be critical in this game against the Hogs length in the interior.
The loss to Butler was a bit of a collapse from OU, as it led by 13 in the second half, collapsed and then was a bit fortunate to get the game into overtime. Lack of perimeter scoring can be an issue at times, but this time showed it can slow down elite offenses when it reigned in Florida just a week ago. The Butler home game was a terrible spot for the Sooners, and this presents a good bounce-back spot against an undefeated opponent.
Arkansas vs. Oklahoma Betting Pick
The market opened at Oklahoma -3.5 and has taken all Arkansas money since the open. The Sooners are down to -1.5 as of writing on Friday night and the market has moved through the number I’d play OU.
While this is a neutral court and not a true road environment, the Sooners should have more of the crowd behind them, and the Moser defense’s ability to slow this game down and play it in the half court can give Arkansas some issues. Moser’s aggressive man-to-man principles should deny easy looks to Arkansas and force the Hogs to be shooters, which they aren’t capable of doing.
I wouldn’t lay more than a score on the Sooners because this should be a pretty close game down to the end, but OU’s ability in the half court gives it the edge. Anything -2 or better is good on Oklahoma.
Pick: Oklahoma (-2 or better)