Opt-Outs, COVID-19 Makes Oklahoma A Must-Bet in the Cotton Bowl

No, the headline isn’t clickbait. It’s not a Jedi mind trick. It’s not an ad.

Please repeat after me. The Oklahoma Sooners are winning the Cotton Bowl on Wednesday. And you and I are leaving with money in our pocket.

It might be the single best bet you’ll make in 2020. Why? Because the Sooners’ defense is for real. That’s why.

For a more significant reason, the potent Florida offense will be without its four biggest offensive weapons not named Kyle Trask against Oklahoma. The best tight end in the nation, Kyle Pitts, opted out of the game. Wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes followed suit. Today, Jacob Copeland announced he’s tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t play via Twitter.

For those keeping score at home, that’s 2,778 yards of offense and 34 touchdowns Trask won’t have at his disposal, going up against the 18th ranked defense in the nation. The outlook for the Gators is exceptionally bleak. The potent Florida offense suddenly looks beatable, and it’s fair to question if their players even care to win. I’ll expand on that in a few paragraphs.

Sports bettors have taken notice. The line opened at Oklahoma +3. Earlier today, that number ballooned to -3.5, making the Sooners the team sharps are getting on.

If you’re thinking about following their lead and taking the Sooners, do it NOW in the FanDuel Sportsbook before the line goes up. New users can still get a risk-free bet of up to $1,000 at sign-up. Consider using it on this. You can sign-up for an account by clicking this link.

Here are the current odds:

(odds via the FanDuel Sportsbook; subject to change.)

Cotton Bowl: No. 7 Florida Gators (8-3) vs. No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (8-2)

  • Moneyline: FLA: (+32), OU: (-162)
  • Spread: FLA: +3.5 (-120), OU: -3.5 (-102)
  • Total: Over 70.5: (-108), Under 70.5: (-112)

Analysis:

One of the more challenging aspects to determine during bowl season is whether or not a team is motivated to win its bowl game. It’s not a factor in professional sports – those guys have contracts, bonuses, partnerships, and leverage on the line. Those perks don’t apply to college players. That’s why Florida has so many opt-outs, with players choosing to prepare for the NFL Draft instead.

The Sooners, on the other hand, have plenty of motivation to win. They finished the season winning seven straight games, covering the spread in six of them. Freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler has been phenomenal. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson has been the very definition of complimentary. The defense is for real. Sometimes, the situation matters. Play the situation here.

Oklahoma has the 18th ranked defense in the nation this season. They hit hard, create turnovers, and get to the quarterback. There used to be a stigma that Big-12 defenses couldn’t hang with SEC offenses. Is anyone making that case now?

The Sooners are 4th in the nation against the run, playing against a Gators offense that can’t do anything on the ground. They’re not as good against the pass but are no slouch. They’re 8th in the nation in red zone defense, only allowing a touchdown 30% of the time. They’ve sacked quarterbacks 38 times this season, good for 6th in the country.

On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma’s offense is top-20 in scoring and yards per game. Need I say more? If Florida somehow turns this into a shootout, give me the Sooners to match points and come up with big stops late.

Comfortably lay the points with Oklahoma.

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