Oklahoma-TCU Betting Guide: Will Sooners Defense Get Much Needed Overhaul?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Shawn Robinson and Kyler Murray
Oklahoma at TCU Betting Pick, Odds
- Odds: Oklahoma -8
- Over/Under: 62
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
>> All odds as of 7 a.m. ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets
TCU should come in with enormous motivation, having lost twice to Oklahoma last season by three scores in each matchup — including most recently in the Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma has won four straight over the past three seasons, with each of the four games having at least 58 total points scored — although interestingly enough, three of those games would have gone under this year’s current total of 61.5.
TCU coach Gary Patterson should have his Horned Frogs motivated, but can they actually solve some of their issues — the same ones that have plagued them against Oklahoma in the past? Plus, OU should come in extra focused and angry off a bye and after losing its last game to Texas.
Market Moves for Oklahoma-TCU
The line movement in this game has been fairly standard, as Oklahoma has moved from -7.5 to -8 behind 70% of bets and 78% of dollars.
And as is often the case in Big 12 matchups, bettors have flocked to the over. It has received 84% of bets and 72% of dollars wagered, and has moved from 61 to 62.
Trends to Know
By John Ewing
As an underdog under Patterson, TCU is 24-12-1 (67%) against the spread since 2005. The Frogs are 14-4 (78%) ATS when getting seven or more points, per our data at Bet Labs.
By Evan Abrams
Oklahoma lost to Texas two weeks ago in the “Red River Rivalry” for the first time since 2015. Over the last 20 years, Oklahoma has won seven consecutive games straight up the week after losing to Texas. Its last loss came in 1998 against Missouri, when the Sooners were in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Oklahoma is 7-2 ATS since 1998 after a loss to Texas.
Since the beginning of the 2016 season, TCU is 20-13 straight up under Patterson, but against the spread, the Horned Frogs are only 12-21 ATS.
Patterson has lost bettors 9.7 units since the start of 2016. In the Power 5, only Bobby Petrino from Louisville has lost bettors more, at 11-21-1 ATS (-10.4 units).
Defensive Motivation for Oklahoma?
After losing to Texas — sorry, getting torched by Texas — Oklahoma fired defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. He crafted some decent defenses as Arizona’s head coach in the mid-2000’s and in his first few years as Oklahoma’s DC, but the wheels came off the last two years. Which is a shame, because the Sooners’ offense has been good enough to win a national title with even a competent defense.
I don’t think the coaching change will have an immediate effect schematically or with execution, but I think we see an Oklahoma defense with a renewed sense of urgency. The Sooners know their College Football Playoff hopes aren’t dead, and the defense knows it’s letting the offense down.
Even if it’s for just a week, the Sooners defense will be better.
Can TCU Take Care of the Ball?
Turnovers have absolutely killed a TCU team that is 3-3 despite outgaining every opponent this season — including Ohio State and Texas.
If we remove FCS season-opener vs. Southern, TCU has 15 turnovers (9 INT, 6 lost fumbles) and just three takeaways in five games this season. Excluding FCS games, TCU’s -2.0 average turnover margin is tied with lowly UConn for the worst in the nation.
While Oklahoma’s subpar defense doesn’t generate many turnovers, its offense has turned it over only six times in six games.
Per S&P+, TCU ranks 130th in Expected Turnover Margin, so the turnovers haven’t been fluky, while Oklahoma ranks 56th.
With a few extra possessions, expect quarterback Kyler Murray and the elite Sooners’ offense to once again have their way with a TCU defense that struggles to defend against big passing plays (much like it did last year in two losses by a combined 42 points to Oklahoma).
What Happened to TCU’s Offense?
After a tight loss to Ohio State in which TCU had 511 yards (6.72 per play), the Horned Frogs offense has completely fallen off. They’ve scored 16, 17 and 14 points in their last three, but outgained their opponent in yards per play and raw yardage in all three.
The biggest problem has been finishing drives. TCU ranks 126th of 130 teams in points per possession inside the opponent’s 40, and that ranking is anchored by the last three games, in which the Frogs have been awful.
Finishing drives is a skill, so don’t expect automatic regression, but TCU has ranked top 50 in finishing drives in two of the last three years. It will improve.
Bet to Watch for TCU-Oklahoma
Should Oklahoma be laying a touchdown to anyone in the country with the defensive statistics it has recorded so far? The powerhouse offenses of Army, Baylor, and Texas each put up at least 21 points against the Sooners.
New defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil has had plenty of success in other coaching spots, but the promotion of Bob Diaco to linebackers coach caught plenty of headlines. These coaches will try to simplify a defensive scheme that ranks 99th in success rate so far this season.
Although Oklahoma is coming off a bye week, TCU will be on more than a week’s rest after a loss to Texas Tech last Thursday. The Horned Frogs have a stark contrast to Oklahoma in red-zone defense, with TCU coming in the top five in the nation points per attempt (3.61). The Sooners rank in the bottom five in the nation in red zone defense (6.38), which could be what TCU needs to get over its issues finishing drives.
Two key areas will dictate this game: TCU’s third-down defense and its yards per play allowed. The Horned Frogs rank top 15 in both those categories. These are Oklahoma’s strongest offensive categories, ranking No. 1 in yards per play and No. 7 in third-down conversions.
Considering that the Sooners defense is a complete unknown, and ranks 108th in overall Havoc, TCU should have plenty of time to make quality throws. The TCU offense has sputtered over the past couple of games, so there could be a quarterback change for the Horned Frogs.
As we started with, until the Sooners defense proves it can improve on a poor opponent’s yards per play and red zone defense, Oklahoma should not lay more than a touchdown against any competent team, which TCU certainly is.