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Oklahoma vs. Texas: What bettors need to know

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns (+13.5, 57.5)

Texas not only has lost three straight games to No. 10 Oklahoma, but the Longhorns haven’t even been competitive in the last two meetings heading into Saturday’s Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Sooners won the last two games by a combined 80 points – 55-17 in 2011 and 63-21 last season – and Saturday’s winner will at least share the Big 12 lead. Case McCoy starts at quarterback for the Longhorns in place of the injured David Ash.

McCoy is starting for the third time this season as Ash is missing his second consecutive game due to a concussion. Oklahoma also is without a key figure in defensive standout Corey Nelson after the senior outside linebacker suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in last Saturday’s victory over Texas Christian. Despite an up-and-down season and the recent struggles against the Sooners, Longhorns coach Mack Brown is expecting a tight game. “It’s really more about us right now and getting things fixed than it is about Oklahoma’s team for us this weekend,” Brown said. “We’ve got to play better. They’ve proven they’re going to play well in this ballgame.”

TV: Noon ET, ABC.

LINE: Oklahoma opened at -13 and has moved to -14. The total has moved up from 56.5 to 57.
  
WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid 80s with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms and winds blowing south at 6 mph.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA (5-0, 2-0 Big 12, 3-2 ATS): Freshman Dominique Alexander steps into Nelson’s starting position and he has large shoes to fill on a unit ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense (13.0) and ninth in total defense (281.6). “He’s a big leader for us and he’s had a spectacular year,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said of Nelson. “His big-play ability and ability to find the football – those are things we’ll miss but other guys will have to pick up the slack and this will be a good opportunity for Dominique.” Oklahoma ranks 17th in rushing offense (246 per game) and both senior running back Brennan Clay (450 yards) and junior quarterback Blake Bell (175 yards) could rack up the yards against a Texas defense that allows 248.4 per outing – 117th out of 123 FBS teams.

ABOUT TEXAS (3-2, 2-0 Big 12, 2-3 ATS): The Longhorns have been abysmal on defense and are still reeling from the September loss of linebacker Jordan Hicks to a torn Achilles’ tendon. The poor rushing defense has been the biggest issue despite recent strong play by sophomore defensive tackle Malcom Brown (career-best 10 tackles in a win over Iowa State on Oct. 3) as Texas is giving up 28.4 points and 465.4 yards. Junior receiver Jaxon Shipley has 27 receptions – 16 of them going for first downs – and sophomore running back Johnathan Gray has rushed for 439 yards and four touchdowns.

TRENDS:

* Sooners are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Favorite is 3-0-1 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Longhorns are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 conference games.

EXTRA POINTS:

1. Texas leads the series 59-43-5 but Oklahoma has won nine of the 14 meetings since Bob Stoops became head coach.

2. Bell has completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 835 yards and six touchdowns and hasn’t been intercepted.

3. McCoy hasn’t been picked off in 102 attempts this season and has a 60.8 completion percentage and two touchdowns.

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