No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2) -3, 67 O/U vs. No. 1 Missouri Tigers (11-1) +3, 67 O/U, Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, 8 PM Eastern, Saturday
by Badger of Predictem.com
The newly anointed No. 1 Missouri Tigers play the only team they lost to this season, the Oklahoma Sooners, in the Big 12 Conference Championship game Saturday in the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The Tigers are coming off of an impressive 36-28 victory over then-No. 2 Kansas last weekend. The win not only gave Missouri the Big 12 North Division title, but it propelled them into the No. 1 ranking for the first time since they owned the top spot for one week back in 1960.
Oklahoma is coming off a 49-17 victory over in-state rival Oklahoma State to win the Big 12s South Division. The Sooners, who stumbled two weeks ago when they lost to Texas Tech 34-27, defeated the Tigers back on October 13th, 41-31. That win over Missouri at home was the fifth straight time the Sooners have beaten Missouri.
Oddsmakers apparently are unimpressed with Missouri, as they have made Oklahoma a 3-point favorite in the neutral site game. The over/under total opened at 65.
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel is coming off a 40-for-49, 361 yard and three TD performance versus Kansas. For the season, Daniel leads a Tiger offense that ranks 5th in total yards (519.3), 5th in passing yards (348.8) and 6th in points per game at 41.9. The Tigers will also welcome back the services of senior running back Tony Temple, who missed the earlier game versus Oklahoma with an ankle injury.
Oklahomas offense features a strong quarterback too, freshman Sam Bradford. Bradford was knocked out of the Texas Tech game with a concussion two weeks ago, but he showed everyone he is back to full health by throwing for four touchdowns in the victory over Oklahoma State. Bradford has set a freshman record with 32 TD’s this season, and he runs a Sooner offense that averages 464.8 yards per game (17th) and a stronger points per game total than Missouri with 43.8 (3rd). Running back Allen Patrick is also coming off a strong game, filling in for the injured DeMarco Murray.
Missouris defense has been suspect all season long, allowing an average of 380.5 yards per game (61st). They are especially weak versus the pass (265.8 ypg 104th), which is why the Tigers were unable to hold an 18-point lead versus Oklahoma in their first meeting. They do tend to bend-but-don’t-break though, as they allow just 23.4 points per game (40th).
Oklahoma has a much stronger defensive unit, as they rank 18th in yards allowed (324.6) and 10th in points allowed (18.2). The Sooners may have to play without one of their best players, defensive end Austin English, as he hurt his leg after registering a couple of sacks in the victory over Oklahoma State and is listed as doubtful.
Missouri has been a strong moneymaker for sports bettors, going 9-2 ATS this season and a surprisingly strong 8-1 ATS mark versus teams with winning records. The Tigers are 11-2 ATS going back into last season, and have gone over the total in the four prior games before just missing the 67 total in the Kansas game.
Oklahoma has been better for sportsbooks, as their 6-6 ATS record makes bettors a loser with the juice. The Sooners defense has helped the under run up a 13-3-1 record in their last 17 conference games, including the past two weeks versus Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
The early money on this game must be coming in on both sides, as sportsbooks haven’t moved away from the Sooners -3 spread that they started with at the beginning of the week. The total has jumped from 65 to 67, so the public is favoring the quarterback matchup of Daniel-vs.-Bradford.
Badgers Pick: This game should be a great one, with most of the country watching to see if Cinderella Missouri can make it to the BCS Championship game. The funny thing is, if Bradford doesn’t get knocked out of the Texas Tech game, we could be talking about the Sooners trying to reach the title game instead of the Tigers. The bookmakers sure see it that way, and so do I. I’m going with the better defense in this one, so take the Sooners minus the points.