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Sooners Face Test Against Cougars Despite Being Double-Digit Favorites

Sooners Face Test Against Cougars Despite Being Double-Digit Favorites - Bovada Sportsbook

The Oklahoma Sooners hope to build on a successful 2015 campaign that saw them make the College Football Playoff field for the first time. Meanwhile, the Houston Cougars will try to play spoiler and start putting together another outstanding season themselves when they square off with Oklahoma in a key non-conference matchup Saturday at NRG Stadium as 11.5-point underdogs.

The Sooners won the Big 12 a year ago behind junior quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is an early Heisman Trophy candidate this season after leading them to the CFP semis against the Clemson Tigers.

While Oklahoma lost that game 37-17 to Clemson, Mayfield has used that as motivation and looks to take the next step in his second year under center for head coach Bob Stoops. The Texas Tech transfer thrived in his first season for Oklahoma, finishing fourth in Heisman voting as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.

The Sooners have played very well off a loss under Stoops, going 14-5 against the spread in their last 19, so he will have them ready to go against Houston.

 

Cougars Looking for Upset

But the Cougars will also be primed to pull off the upset on the big stage in their own city versus a top-ranked opponent. They have been fantastic as underdogs, going 12-1-1 ATS in their previous 14 games under that scenario and winning seven straight following a SU win as dogs

Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. may not have the same name recognition as Mayfield yet, but he was one of the best at his position last season as well. The senior led his team to a 38-24 victory against the Florida State Seminoles as 7.5-point underdogs in the Peach Bowl last December 31 and has his eyes on making the CFP, although the Cougars are longshots playing in the American Athletic Conference.

The only game Houston lost last year came against the Connecticut Huskies on the road as a 7.5-point favorite on November 21. The Cougars won their first 10 games and went 6-4 ATS during that stretch. Oklahoma went 9-4 versus the line in 2015, failing to cover two of three following an 8-2 run ATS to begin last season.

 

*Odds as of September 1, 2016

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