Oklahoma vs. Baylor NCAA Football Preview
Where: McLane Stadium – Waco, TX
When: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 6:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: FS1
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Betting on the Oklahoma Sooners (3-0)
It’s hard to know just how much Lincoln Riley’s tenure as Oklahoma head coach could get any better. The Sooners have simply had a picture-perfect start to the season. They’ve demolished UTEP (56-7), Ohio State (31-16), and Tulane (56-14) to not only go 3-0 straight-up, but also 3-0 against the spread.
Star quarterback Baker Mayfield added to his growing Heisman case with 331 yards and three passing touchdowns against Tulane. The current +220 Heisman favorite is second in the nation in passer rating thanks to a terrific 77 percent completion percentage, 348.7 yards per game, and a 10-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Mayfield is in the zone at the moment, and it’ll be tough to see Baylor’s defense slowing him down. Not that the Bears have had much luck stopping Mayfield in the past. In Mayfield’s two meetings against Baylor, he’s gone a combined 44-of-59 for 570 yards, five passing touchdowns to two interceptions, and two rushing touchdowns to lead Oklahoma to two wins.
But even if Mayfield doesn’t keep up his incredibly high level of play, the Oklahoma defense has shown that it’s fully capable of shutting Baylor down. The Sooner defense is ranked inside the top 20 in the country in terms of both scoring defense (12.3 points, 13th) and yards per play (4.23, 19th).
Betting on the Baylor Bears (0-3)
Not even a change in starting quarterback could change the fortunes of Baylor, who have had an awful start to the season. After Anu Solomon led the offense in their losses to Liberty (48-45) and UTSA (17-10), Zach Smith was on hand for the Bears’ 34-20 loss at Duke last week.
Smith went 12-of-34 for 263 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions and went a pitiful 1-of-12 on third downs. Baylor is now a combined 7-of-36 on third downs through three games.
It remains to be seen who head coach Matt Rhule will decide to start at QB for the visit of Oklahoma. But he did reveal that top running back Terence Williams should be back in the lineup after missing the first three games of the year with a shoulder injury.
Williams’ return should be a big boost to a Bears running game which was limited to just 57 rushing yards against Duke.
Based on how poorly Baylor has started the season, it’s hard to make a logical case for them to even cover as massive home underdogs. However, this is a rivalry game, where logic often goes out the window.
Oklahoma (-28) puts a beatdown on Baylor and leaves Waco with a 45-14 win.
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