Red River Rivalry Odds & Picks: Best Bets for Saturday’s Oklahoma vs. Texas Game
Tim Warner & Brian Bahr/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Bijan Robinson (5) of the Texas Longhorns and Spencer Rattler (7) of the Oklahoma Sooners.
- No. 6 Oklahoma faces off against No. 21 Texas in what is considered one of the best games of the weekend.
- The Sooners are currently undefeated at 5-0 while the Longhorns are 4-1 but have won their first two games in Big 12 play.
- Our experts break down the matchup and offer up their best bets for Saturday's rivalry game.
Texas vs. Oklahoma Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Red River Showdown returns with a battle between No. 21 Texas and No. 6 Oklahoma. And if it’s anything like last year’s four-overtime game that featured nearly 100 combined points, then we’re all in for a treat.
Quarterback Spencer Rattler entered the season as one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy, and the Sooners were a strong contender to win it all.
Rattler and Oklahoma remain unbeaten, but Lincoln Riley’s bunch is still looking to make a statement after mediocre performances against Tulane, Nebraska and West Virginia.
Texas had high hopes in the first year of the Steve Sarkisian era, but it was blown out by Arkansas and has a daunting next two weeks against its Oklahoma rivals.
With all this in mind, our experts offer up their best bets below for this top-tier Big 12 battle.
Our Best Bets for No. 21 Texas vs. No. 6 Oklahoma
Check out our college football staff’s best bets for Saturday’s Red River Rivalry between No. 21 Texas and No. 6 Oklahoma. Click one of the bets in the “Pick” column below in order to navigate to a specific section in this article.
Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
|Casey Thompson Player Prop|
I think the Oklahoma rushing offense is close to breaking out after making a few key schematic changes last week against Kansas State. That’s the key to the Riley offense and should unlock everything else.
This struggling Texas defense — still trying to find an identity on its third defensive coordinator in three years — is the perfect opponent for a Sooner explosion.
And on the other side of the ball, this elite Oklahoma rush defense can contain Bijan Robinson. I’m also just not sure Texas has enough in the vertical passing game to attack Oklahoma’s soft secondary with explosive plays.
This is a good chance to buy low on the Sooners, who have yet to cover against an FBS opponent this year.
Pick: Oklahoma -3 or better
One of the very first articles I wrote for The Action Network was a Heisman piece on why to take Spencer Rattler. Boy, was I wrong.
I still am a firm believer that he is one of the top two quarterbacks in college football this season, but my confidence in that thought is getting more and more shaky as the season goes on.
While the Heisman is out of reach at this point, he can still pad his own stats, and this Texas defense will present the opportunity to do so. Oklahoma has weapons all over, per usual. It came in with one of the top Off. TARP ratings — a bunch of familiar faces returning for the star quarterback.
So far, Rattler has thrown for 1,260 yards, 10 touchdowns, and four interceptions at a completion rate of 76.3%. That’s not Heisman-worthy, but it’s some moderate success nonetheless.
The Oklahoma offense cannot afford to be conserative in the Red River Showdown. It will need to take chances and capitalize on them. Rattler will continually look for the big play, as Texas is horrible at limiting explosive plays.
If Oklahoma wants to win, it will need Rattler to get back into form and fast. He was benched last year in this game, which is just embarrassing. He has been being booed by his own home crowd lately.
Hopefully, he will silence the haters and show why he was projected to be the first pick in next year’s NFL Draft.
Give me Oklahoma’s spread of -3 or better, as I believe this will be a bounce-back game for Oklahoma on the national stage. This will be a reminder as to why the Sooners were one of the more popular choices to win it all this season.
Pick: Oklahoma -3 or better
By Doug Ziefel
The Oklahoma Sooners have not been the team we anticipated them to be coming into this season, but they showed signs of rounding into form last week.
Spencer Rattler posted his best performance of the season so far as he completed 88% of his passes and scrambled effectively to extend drives. If this was part of his coming out party, an even better performance can be expected against the Longhorns, who rank 98th in passing yards allowed.
While Rattler should have an easier time against the Longhorns defense, the real advantage Oklahoma has in this matchup is on the other side of the ball.
The Sooners’ defensive line is arguably the best in the nation. That defensive line helped put them in the top 10 of Rushing Success, Line Yards, pass rush, and big plays allowed.
The clash between the Sooners’ defensive line and the Longhorns’ fifth-ranked rushing attack will be the determining factor in the game.
The market also seems to be telling us that the Sooners are the right side. Lookahead lines had this game at 10. Then, when it opened again after last week, it was set at 3.5.
All week, a large majority of the bets and the money have been coming in on Texas as a home dog, but each time the number has dropped to three, it has quickly been bet back up to 3.5.
Our Action Network PRO signals have tracked 15 separate sharp hits on the Sooners throughout the week. Back the sharps and books when they tell you Oklahoma is going to cover.
Pick: Oklahoma -3.5
Spencer Rattler got benched in the Red River Showdown last year, and he might find himself on the sidelines again if he doesn’t pick things up quickly.
Oklahoma fans are already chanting for five-star freshman Caleb Williams as Rattler has just two big-time throws and seven turnover-worthy plays this season.
Casey Thompson’s numbers aren’t overly impressive either, but he is running the offense well and Texas is 3-0 and averaging 53.3 points per game with 557.7 total yards of offense since he took over as the starter.
He’s not asked to do too much, as this offense runs through superstar running back Bijan Robinson. The sophomore is second in the country with 130.4 yards per game and averages 6.2 yards per carry. He has averaged 160 yards per game in Thompson’s starts.
The Sooners defense ranks 33rd in Rushing Success, but they are 118th in Line Yards. The Longhorns’ offensive line is 16th in Line Yards and should be able to get a push against this front seven. Then Robinson will do the rest.
Oklahoma has struggled to run the ball this season, which is putting pressure on Rattler. Texas has been solid against the pass this year, ranking 46th in Pass Success Rate. The Longhorns also boast the 27th-best coverage grade, per Pro Football Focus.
We have already seen the Sooners almost trip up against Tulane, Nebraska and West Virginia. They are playing with fire, and Texas has looked like a better team than the squad that pushed Oklahoma to overtime last year.
This rivalry always seems to come down to the wire, and I think Texas has a chance to win the game. I will gladly take the 3.5 points.
Pick: Texas +3.5 (Play to +3)
Oklahoma has been living on the edge through five games of the 2021 season.
The Nebraska game was a lot closer than many expected. The Sooners caught some big breaks to escape West Virginia in Norman. Last week wasn’t quite as tight, but OU benefited from an overturned onside kick recovery against Kansas State.
This week, I believe the luck runs out.
Texas has the offensive firepower to succeed against Alex Grinch’s defense. I have been calling for running back Bijan Robinson as a dark-horse Heisman candidate since the preseason, and the world is starting to see just how good the sophomore running back is.
Quarterback Casey Thompson has looked the part since making his first career start against Rice. Thompson is making the right decisions and taking his chances down the field when the right opportunity presents itself.
Spencer Rattler came on in a big way to end the 2020 season, but in the early portion of this year, he has not looked the same. Look for Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski to dial up some pressure and try to speed up the game for Rattler.
I believe Texas has a very good chance of winning this football game outright, so I will gladly take the 3.5 points here. The Steve Sarkisian era has gotten off to a solid start, but it’s now ready for the first big boom.
Longhorns and the points.
Pick: Texas +3.5
By CJ Vogel
Both Texas and Oklahoma have very good defensive coordinators, and both defenses have played relatively well up to this point.
But when you talk about the best offensive minds in the world of college football, there may not be two better than Steve Sarkisian and Lincoln Riley.
While the Texas offense has been riding the high of its running game the last three weeks, it’s going to face a tough task against the Sooners and their stout front seven.
But that should not stop the Longhorns from getting into scoring position. In terms of turning possessions into points, only one school in the country is better than these two at putting points on the board.
That’s right, Oklahoma sits at No. 2 in the country at a scoring rate of 63%, while Texas is just a smidge behind at 61.1%.
Oklahoma, which has struggled to establish a run game of late, will have all day to throw against Texas. The Longhorns did not record a single quarterback pressure last week against TCU and only created three tackles for loss.
It’s going to be a good ol’ fashioned barn burner this weekend in Dallas.
Pick: Over 63.5 (Play to 65)
By Alex Hinton
The last 10 meetings between these teams have seen an average of 76.6 points. I expect that will be the case once again.
Oklahoma’s offense hasn’t been as explosive as we are used to seeing. However, it’s still averaging 38.4 points per game this season, which ranks 15th in the country. That number is a bit inflated because of its nonconference schedule, but the Sooners broke out for 37 last week against Kansas State.
The Sooners should find success against a Texas defense that ranks 65th in scoring defense (24.0 points) and 82nd in total defense at 396.4 yards per game.
The Sooners have struggled at times to protect quarterback Spencer Rattler, but that should not be an issue on Saturday. Texas ranks 73rd in the country with 10 sacks and tied for 74th in tackles for loss.
Where the Longhorns excel is on the offensive side of the ball. They rank sixth in the country in scoring at almost 44 points per game.
Texas has been more explosive on offense after inserting quarterback Casey Thompson into the lineup. Thompson is completing 71% of his passes with nine touchdown passes and three interceptions.
However, Texas’ offense revolves around its running game.
The Longhorns average 268 yards on the ground, and it may have the best running back in the country in Bijan Robinson. Robinson is averaging 130.4 rushing yards per game and has seven touchdowns. Oklahoma’s defense has been solid this season, but I don’t see it stopping Robinson.
With a total in the 60s, it’s not asking a lot to get 30 points or so from both teams. Expect an old-fashioned Big 12 shootout in Dallas.
Pick: Over 63.5 (Play to 65.5)
Casey Thompson Over 1.5 Passing TDs
This is a huge spot here for Texas quarterback Casey Thompson, an Oklahoma native who burst onto the scene well after last year’s tilt with the Sooners.
No draft-eligible quarterback has posted a better EPA/play this year than Thompson. He’s helped the unit rack up 160 combined points the last three weeks, shelling out eight touchdowns and another on the ground.
I love the matchup this week in a game I also played over the total of 63.5.
Oklahoma’s defense has limited opponents to just 2.9 yards per carry this season. If Texas can’t get star back Bijan Robinson going on the ground, it certainly can through the air — he’s averaging 16.7 yards per catch with a couple of scores.
Thompson should ball out against his hometown team in what’ll mark his first Red River Showdown.