Auburn Tigers vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Bowl Game Point Spread Pick: Oklahoma -1.5 points (January 2nd 2017)
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It’s a simple fact that if Oklahoma would have scheduled a few cupcakes in the non-conference instead of Houston and Ohio State, they probably would have gone 12-0 and made the four-team playoff. They clearly weren’t hitting on all cylinders in the early going, but those two losses awoke them, and they have been dominant ever since.
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Going a perfect 9-0 in Big 12 action is no small feat. And not only have the Sooners run the table, they have been dominant along the way. They were only outgained once in conference action all season, which came in a 56-28 beat down of West Virginia in which the Mountaineers racked up a bunch of yards in garbage time with the game decided already.
That win, plus a 38-20 victory over Oklahoma State to close out the season in which the Sooners outgained the Cowboys by 226 yards, were their two most impressive victories of the season. So they come in hitting on all cylinders, and after losing to Clemson in the playoff last year, they want to end the season on a high note with their 10th straight victory.
The SEC was way down this season, and Auburn benefited from that. The Tigers didn’t exactly finish the season hitting on all cylinders like Oklahoma. They were outgained by 16 yards in a 40-29 win at Ole Miss, only beat Vanderbilt 23-16 as 25-point favorites and only outgained them by 45 yards, were outgained by 179 yards in a 7-13 loss at Georgia, and were outgained by 319 yards in a 12-30 loss at Alabama. Those four performances, plus a blowout win over lowly Alabama A&M, were how the Tigers finished the season.
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Oklahoma has a massive edge on offense in this one. The Sooners boast QB Baker Mayfield, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting after throwing for 3,669 yards and 38 touchdowns against only eight interceptions. Dede Westbrook, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, had 74 catches for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns. They have the two-headed monster of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine in the backfield as well.
I would definitely give the edge to Auburn on defense, but it’s worth noting that the Sooners played some great D down the stretch. They held their last five opponents to 28 points or fewer and an average of only 19.8 points per game. Playing in the Big 12, that’s very impressive to give up fewer than 20 points per game over a five-game sample.
Oklahoma is 6-0 ATS after two straight wins by 17 or more points over the last three seasons. The Sooners are 10-2 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two years. Oklahoma is 10-2 ATS vs. good teams who outscore opponents by 10-plus points per game over the last two years. Bet Oklahoma Monday.
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