Oklahoma had a pretty solid 2017 season. They won the Big XII, their quarterback won the Heisman Trophy, they were near the top in most offensive categories and then they went on to the playoffs where their season ended after they blew a first-half lead to Georgia. The Sooners finished with a 12-2 record and they were 8-6 against the spread. Lincoln Riley is entering his 2nd year as head coach and this will be his 4th year overall at Oklahoma. Ever since Riley arrived at Oklahoma, the program has had double-digit wins and they will be looking to hit that mark again in 2018, but this will be the first time his offense won’t have Baker Mayfield on the field.
Oddsmakers believe this team is capable of overcoming the loss of Baker Mayfield and others as their season win total is set around 10 wins. BetOnline has 10.5 wins (135/-155), 5Dimes has 10 wins (-125/105), and BetDSI has10.5 wins (-140/110). Make sure you have multiple outlets to get the best number possible. Keep in mind that these win totals do not include bowl games or the conference championship game. One thing that you should notice is that you can get plus money on under 10.5 at BetDSI and plus money on over 10.5 with BetOnline. If you have both available and your bankroll can handle tying up funds for several months, there is some guaranteed profit available. Oddsmakers continue to be confident in this team as they are the favorite to win the Big XII conference at +147 and have the best odds (25-1) of anybody in the conference to win the national championship (both future odds found at 5Dimes).
Oklahoma won’t be entirely depleted after their 2017 run. The coaching staff remains intact and the team returns 12 starters. The offense has 6 starters back, including the team’s top 2 leading rushers and leading receiver from 2017. They do lose star quarterback Baker Mayfield and a handful of quality receivers. The defense returns 6 starters as well but loses their leading tackler and leading sack man from 2017.
|Date||Opponent||BangTheBook Line||Expected Wins|
|9/15||@ Iowa State||-11||0.80|
|11/3||@ Texas Tech||-15.5||0.88|
|11/23 (FRI)||@ West Virginia||-5||0.64|
Total Expected Wins: 10.38
The end of the Baker Mayfield era is over and it ended with outstanding numbers. The Sooners averaged 45 points per game (3rd best in the country) and 580 yards per game (best in the country). No starter has been named but Kyle Murray may have the edge. Murray has some playing experience, but most it came as a freshman while at Texas A&M. He stepped in on occasion for Baker in 2017 and showcased his skills but it was a small sample size. He has the arm and is a threat to run as well. Austin Kendall probably has the better arm but he has no experience and is a true pocket passer. Regardless of who starts, the offense will have a drop-off, but should still be fine and one of the best in the conference and the country.
Despite losing 2 outstanding offensive linemen, the combined career starts actually increases to 103 for the 2018 season and this offensive line should be one of the best in the conference and even in the country. Behind the solid line will be one of the best backfields in the country. Rodney Anderson led the team with 1161 yards last season and Trey Sermon was second on the team with 744 yards. Both averaged over 6.0 yards per carry and both are back for this season. The receivers lose Mark Andrews who led the team in receptions but the Sooners return 2 of the top 3 leaders in receiving yards, including Marquise Brown who led the team with 1095 yards. Some consider Brown to be the best receiver country but with a new quarterback, don’t be surprised if production drops.
Last season, Oklahoma allowed 27.1 points per game and 395 yards per game, which were 5th and 4th best in the conference, respectively. Those numbers may actually worsen in 2018 if nobody steps up. The defensive line loses Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who led the team in sacks and tackles for a loss on his way to earning the Big XII defensive player of the year award. All four projected starters will be first time starters on the line.
The linebackers lose Emmanuel Beal who led the team in tackles but Kenneth Murray looks to build on a solid freshman season that saw him start 14 games and earn Big XII co-defensive freshman of the year. The linebacker unit has some experience and should be better than last season. The secondary loses 3starters and will be relying on a true freshman at safety. Brendan Radley-Hiles had a good spring, but he will be tested in a conference that typically puts up impressive offensive numbers.
While they don’t face a FCS opponent, using the Bang the Book power ratings, the Sooners will be a favorite in every game and only 3 of those game will they be a favorite by less than 10 points. Their schedule is no cake walk as the Big XII has many quality teams (8/10 went to a bowl game last season), but they lucked out with their non-conference matchups. FAU will have a new quarterback for Lane Kiffin to develop; UCLA just hired Chip Kelly and won’t have the program ready by his second game, and Army only have 3 starters returning on offense and won’t be able to match the raw skill that Oklahoma has. Oklahoma avoids back-to-back road games, but they do face Texas, TCU, and West Virginia away from home
Win Total Pick: Lean Under 10.5 (BetDSI)
This is a pass for me. Their expected win total is 10.38 wins and even though they probably will be a favorite in every game this season I will stay away. Despite the great offensive line, great backfield and great receivers, they have a new quarterback. I’m not going to put my money in the hands of an inexperienced QB to get to 11 wins, especially when they have to play their toughest games away from home. So it will be the under at plus money for me or nothing for this play and I’m going with nothing.
-END OF 2018 PREVIEW-
After 18 years as the Oklahoma Sooners’ head coach, Bob Stoops has retired and one of the most successful eras in the schools’ history came to an end. He recorded 190-48 overall record and the Sooners didn’t have a losing record season since his arrival in 1999.
As expected, he left in style, winning the Big 12 conference titles over the last two years with an 11-2 (8.1; 9-0) record and in his final career game he led the team to a win over the Auburn Tigers, 35:19 as part of the 2017 Sugar Bowl that took place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on January 2nd. After Stoops’ retirement, offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley was promoted to the head coach position and we’ll see how it shall work out for him.
UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA SOONERS
- UTEP Miners (Sep. 2)
- at Ohio State Buckeyes (Sep. 9)
- Tulane Green Wave (Sep.16)
- at Baylor Bears (Sep. 23)
- OFF (Sep. 30)
- Iowa State Cyclones (Oct. 7)
- Texas Longhorns (Oct. 14)
- at Kansas State Wildcats (Oct. 21)
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (Oct. 28)
- at Oklahoma State Cowboys (Nov. 4)
- TCU Horned Frogs (Nov. 11)
- at Kansas Jayhawks (Nov. 18)
- West Virginia Mountaineers (Nov. 25)
According to 5Dimes Sportsbook Odds for 2017 Season Win Totals: 9.5; Over -120; Under +100;
Oklahoma Sooners Offense
In the last season offense ranked second nationally, just behind Texas Tech with 564.5 total yards per game and 7.54 yards per play. They ranked 12th in the NCAA in passing offense with 10.77 yards per attempt and 318.0 yards per game. Junior QB Baker Mayfield ranked ninth in the NCAA in passing yards (3965 yards) recording 11.1 yards per attempt along with 40 TDs and only 8 INTs. If he can stay consistent in his senior year he has a big chance of playing in the NFL in two years.
Rushing offense was also very solid as team ranked 18th nationally and 2nd in the conference with 236.8 yards per game and 5.37 yards per carry. Their two top runners Joe Mixon (1274yards – 31st nationally) and Samaje Perine (1060 yards) combined for 22 rushing TDs but they’re no longer with the team as they got drafted to the NFL. One of the young guns will have to step up if they want to establish a potent two way offense again this year. One of the sleepers could be sophomore RB Abdul Adams who had 53 carries and 283 total yards last season.
Oklahoma Sooners Defense
Being ranked 82nd in the NCAA in total defense is not the Sooners’ way and it presents the main reason for team’s inability to compete with likes of Alabama and Clemson when it comes to the NCAA Championship. The average of 432.0 total yards allowed is a bit disgraceful and it needs to be improved. This is particularly the case with the pass defense where team ranks 111nationally allowing 269.4 passing yards in average and 7.07 yards per attempt.
The rushing defense was a bit better as they allowed 162.4 rushing yards in average but there is obviously space for improvement in this segment too. Team’s leading tackler Jordan Evans (98) was selected by the Bengals in the 2017 NFL’s Draft while 2nd ranked tackler Emmanuel Beal (81) graduated. Also, Sooner’s 3rd best tackler in previous season, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (71) graduated and some new blood in the linebacker corps is much needed.
Their top corners in last season Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas who recorded 2 INTs each also graduated, meaning that almost entire Sooners’ defense will need to be rebooted and filled with younger players.
On special teams, Sooners were also subpar as they averaged 21.76 yards allowed per kickoff return (86th in the NCAA) and 7.44 yards per punt return allowed in average (59th nationally). On the other side, they averaged solid 23.29 yards per kickoff return (22nd in the NCAA) and 10.17 yards per punt return (29th nationally). Top kick returner was Joe Mixon with 23.5 yards per return in average and 1 TD while Dede Westbrook averaged 27.1 yards per return in nine attempts.
The Oklahoma Sooners witnessed the end of an era after the 2016 season ended. On June 7th Oklahoma University Athletic Department confirmed that Bob Stoops would retire immediately after 18 seasons spent at as the team’s head coach. Team’s offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley was promoted to head coach position. Lincoln sure has big boots to fill and we’ll see how he handles a head coaching role for the first time in his 12 years long coaching career.
Prior to his engagement with the Sooners he spent six years at various coaching positions at Texas Tech, before the four years tenure as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in East Carolina. In 2015 he was appointed as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma and on 2015 he received the Broyles Award, the annual accolade given to honor the best assistant coach in college football.
Team’s departures and recruits
- Joe Mixon, sophomore RB, declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and was picked by Cincinnati Bengals in the second round as 48th overall pick.
- Dede Westbrook, senior WR, declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and was picked by Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round as 110th overall pick.
- Samaje Perine, junior RB, declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and was picked by Washington Redskins in the fourth round as 114th overall pick.
- Jordan Evans, senior LB, declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and was picked by Cincinnati Bengals in third round as 193rd overall pick.
5, Geno Lewis, senior WR, declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Cincinnati Bengals.
- Ahmad Thomas, senior DB, declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Oakland Raiders.
- Jordan Wade, senior DT, declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Oakland Raiders.
- Charles Walker, senior DT, declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Philadelphia Eagles.
- Najee Bissoon, senior RB, graduated.
- Grant Bothun, senior WR, graduated.
- Daniel Brooks, senior RB, graduated.
- Christian Daimler, senior OL, graduated.
- Eric DeLay, senior WR, graduated.
- Sam Grant, senior OL, graduated.
- Dylan Hartsook, senior OL, graduated.
- Will Jhonson, senior DB, graduated.
- Ashton Julious, senior OL, graduated.
- Connor Knight, senior FB, graduated.
- Baker Mayfield, senior QB, graduated.
- Riley Nolan, senior OL, graduated.
- Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, senior LB, graduated.
- Darius Owens, senior CB, graduated.
- Dalton Rodriguez, senior LB, graduated.
- Matt Romar, senior DT, graduated.
- Jordan Smallwood, senior WR, graduated.
- Cole Swayze, senior DB, graduated.
- Jaxon Uhles, senior FB, graduated.
- D.J. Ward, senior DT, graduated.
- Erick Wren, senior OL, graduated.
- Jonathan Alvarez, senior OL, graduated.
- Dakota Austin, senior CB, graduated.
- Jarvis Baxter, senior WR, graduated.
- Emmanuel Beal, senior LB, graduated.
- Hatari Byrd, senior S, graduated.
- Danley Jamal, senior OL, graduated.
- Matt Dimon, senior DE, graduated.
- Kapri Doucet, senior LB, graduated.
- Dimitri Flowers, senior FB, graduated.
- Wesley Horky, senior LS, graduated.
- Jeffrey Mead, senior WR, graduated.
- Steven Parker, senior S, graduated.
- Austin Roberts, senior DE, graduated.
- Stanvon Taylor, senior CB, graduated.
- Ahmad Thomas, senior S, graduated.
- Jordan Thomas, senior CB, graduated.
There were 11 enrolled players and 16 players who were signed after the letter of intent.
- Justin Broiles, CB, John Marshall, Oklahoma City, OK;
- Levi Draper, ILB, Collinsville, Collinsville, OK;
- Addison Gumbs, WDE, Stellar Prep, Hayward, CA;
- Chris Robison, PRO, Horn, Mesquite, TX;
- Trey Sermon, RB, Sprayberry, Marletta, GA;
- Grant Calcaterra, TE, Santa Margarita Catholic, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA;
- Marquise Brown, WR, College of the Canyons, Valencia, CA;
- Creed Humphrey, OC, Shawnee, Shawnee, OK;
- Kenneth Murray, OLB, Elkins, Missouri City, TX;
- Marcelias Sutton, ATH, Lackawanna C.C., Scranton, PA;
- Jeremiah Hall, TE, Zebulon B. Vance, Charlotte, NC;
Signed Letter of intent:
- Robert Barnes, S, Southlake Carroll, Southlake, TX;
- Tyrese Robinson, OG, MxKinney Boyd, McKinney, TX;
- CeeDee Lamb, WR, Foster, Richmond, TX;
- Tre Brown, CB, Union, Tulsa, OK;
- Charleston Rambo, WR, Cedar Hill, Cedar Hill, TX;
- Kennedy Brooks, RB, Mansfield, Mansfield, TX;
- Marquis Hayes, OG, Pattonville Sr., Maryland Heights, MO;
- Adrian Ealy, OT, East Ascension, Gonzales, LA;
- Ryan Jones, AZH, Mallard Creek, Charlotte, NC;
- Isaiah Thomas, WDE, Memorial, Tulsa, OK;
- Zacchaeus McKinney, DT, Weatherford, Weatherford, TX;
- K’Jakyre Daley, OLB, Suncoast, West Palm Beach, FL;
- Tre Norwood, CB, Northside, Fort Smizh, AR;
- Troy James, SDE, Madison Prep Academy, Baton Rouge, LA;
- Tyreece Lott, DT, Ardmore, Ardmore, OK;
- Reeves Mundschau, P, Canyon, New Braunfels, TX;
Total wins predictions
The Sooners will have their star QB available one more year but his weapons will severally be limited as two team’s top RBs and WRs went to the NFL. On the other side, Bob Stoops retired as a head coach and Lincoln Riley stepped in.
Lincoln and Mayfield proved to be on the same page during the last two seasons and there is no reason to believe that something might be different in 2017 but still, I’m not convinced that team can overpass these big changes with no bumps. Having in mind that the total wins bar for the Sooners is set at 9.5 wins, I would go with under.
Total wins prediction: 9.5, Under +100.