Tulsa vs. Oklahoma State Analysis & Predictions

by | Sep 16, 2020 | cfb

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)

When: Saturday, September 19, Noon

Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Okla.

TV: ESPN

Point Spread: TULSA +22.5/OKST -22.5 (Bovada - 50% Bonus! Best in-game Betting!)

Total: O/U 66.5

Outlook

The Turnpike Classic (Oklahoma is home to 10 different turnpikes, one of which connects Tulsa and Stillwater) might be one of the least-known rivalries in college sports, and that’s for good reason. For one thing, the teams don’t play every year, and for another, Tulsa’s trips to Stillwater have been one-way traffic for decades.

Tulsa has lost 21 straight games in Stillwater, and thanks to a quirk of history, has never actually beaten Oklahoma State in Stillwater (the Golden Hurricane’s last win in Stillwater came in 1951, six years before what was then Oklahoma A&M changed its name to Oklahoma State). Most of those 21 losses have been blowouts, as Tulsa hasn’t come within 10 points of the Cowboys in Stillwater since a 17-10 loss in 1994.

Since then, Tulsa has been little more than a speed bump when the teams face off. In the Mike Gundy era, Oklahoma State is 4-0 against Tulsa, and the average margin of victory has been 29 points. Given that the Cowboys expect big things this year and Tulsa comes off a 4-8 campaign don’t expect this meeting to be much different than the past four.

How the Public is Betting the Tulsa/Oklahoma State Game

The line has ticked up a couple of points, jumping from Oklahoma State -21 to -22.5. The point totals are swinging to both teams, though, as the total has jumped four points from an opening of 62.5.

Injury Concerns

Tulsa:

Tulsa reports no injuries.

Oklahoma State:

Oklahoma State reports no injuries.

When Tulsa Has the Ball

Truth be told, this side of the ball has a fair amount of good on it for Tulsa. It’s pretty easy to forget that not only did the Golden Hurricane offense battle back from a 17-0 deficit last year against Oklahoma State, but Tulsa actually took the lead at halftime, carrying a 21-20 cushion into the locker room when the teams met in Tulsa last season.

The men who made that happen are all back. Shamari Brooks rushed for over 100 yards last year against the Cowboys, and he’s going to have to do most of the work to keep Oklahoma State’s offense off the field. He’s got speed, and he can grind out yards, making him the most dangerous player Tulsa has.

When Brooks doesn’t touch the ball, Tulsa has a solid connection between quarterback Zach Smith and receiver Keylon Stokes. More than a quarter of Smith’s completions last year went to Stokes, who picked up 1,040 receiving yards on 62 catches and hauled in six touchdowns. Tulsa averaged a healthy 26.4 points per game last year, and these three are a big reason why.

The worry for the Golden Hurricane is up front. The good news is that four starters are back from last year. But they’re going to have to play a heck of a lot better than they did a year ago, when they allowed far too many sacks and couldn’t consistently open holes for Brooks and fellow running back Corey Taylor. If the line doesn’t play well, Tulsa’s in trouble.

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When Oklahoma State Has the Ball

Last year, Chuba Hubbard did whatever he wanted to do against Tulsa’s front seven, shredding the Tulsa defense to the tune of 256 yards. Hubbard ended up the nation’s leading rusher and is back to do it again as the unquestioned primary weapon of a potent attack. Nobody other than quarterback Spencer Sanders had more than 40 carries last year, and the only real question with Hubbard is how much Gundy wants to use him with a tricky Big 12 opener with West Virginia looming next week.

Beyond that, Sanders leads a passing attack that has the potential to be one of the nation’s best. Oklahoma State is so loaded at wideout that the Cowboys’ No. 1 target from the second half of last year might be their No. Three option this year. Tylan Wallace missed the final third of the season with a torn ACL after amassing 903 receiving yards in eight games, while Tay Martin was a member of Washington State’s potent attack before transferring to Oklahoma State in the offseason. That leaves Dillon Stoner likely to drop to either No. 2 or No. 3, which gives Sanders a ridiculous assortment of options at his disposal. He’ll also be facing a weak secondary, as Tulsa has to replace three starters and its top pass rusher and multiple linebackers. After the Big 12’s disaster in Week 1, Oklahoma State could be set to start restoring the league’s good name.

Betting Trends

The general public knows one thing about Oklahoma State: the Cowboys can put up points in a hurry when everything clicks. It’s why the Cowboys aren’t actually a great over team, as Vegas tends to set ridiculously high numbers for Oklahoma State games, figuring the public will just follow the number along with the Cowboys. Last year, eight out of 13 games went under the total for the Cowboys, including last year’s trip to Tulsa, which saw the teams combine for 61 points and miss the total by three.

Because of that, the best play might be to take the under. The number has been rising, and Tulsa tends to only be good for about a half before the offense loses its effectiveness, which is why the Golden Hurricane’s past seven non-conference have gone under the total. Throw in that these teams haven’t had a typical preseason and had this game postponed a week because of COVID, and the under looks promising. However, this does come with a caveat: Oklahoma State could come close to the number all by itself. In the Gundy era, the Cowboys have averaged 55.75 points a game against Tulsa, scoring 59 or more on three occasions.

Weather Report

Little humidity and a light breeze should make this a perfect day for football on the plains, with the temperature at around 81 degrees at kickoff.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

Tulsa was out sick with COVID last week, while Oklahoma State was able to keep practicing. The fact that the Cowboys were uninterrupted and the Golden Hurricane are going into their house of horrors ill-prepared has me thinking blowout in this one. I wouldn’t wait too much longer to grab this game; I don’t think the Cowboys will have any problems covering this 22.5-point spread. Want more college football picks? Check out our Miami vs. Louisville pick!