Oklahoma vs Cincinnati Preview: Bearcats Make Big 12 Debut

No. 16 Sooners Take to Road for Conference Opener

The Cincinnati Bearcats play their first Big 12 Conference game on Saturday, as the Oklahoma Sooners visit town. It’s not going to be easy this season for Cincinnati, which isn’t fielding one of its top teams in recent years. But the Bearcats can recruit well and have some good athletes. The Sooners are off to a fast start, which has them No. 16 in the NCAA football rankings. Cincinnati stumbled against Miami (Ohio) last week after winning its first two games of the year. The Oklahoma vs Cincinnati preview shows the Sooners are 14-point favorites and the total one the game is 60.5.

Sooners logo Oklahoma Sooners at Cincinnati Bearcats Bearcats logo

Line: Oklahoma -14
Total: 60.5
Streaming: FOX

Sooners’ Passing Game Has Been Lights Out

Dillon Gabriel is off to a fast start for the Sooners. Now in his second year at Oklahoma, Gabriel has completed 82.5% of his passes for 905 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception. Even backup Jackson Arnold has gotten into the act, completing 1 of 15 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. As a team, the Sooners are completing 83.2% of their passes and have been sacked once in 95 attempts.

The rushing game is holding its own, with 528 yards and eight touchdowns through three games. The Sooners are averaging 4.3 yards per carry, which is a bit low considering how well the offense has played. Tawee Walker is the team’s leading rusher and may see more carries now that the conference season is here. Oklahoma has been distributing the ball to a number of backs. Seven different players have scored on the ground for Oklahoma.

The defense has been impressive, holding teams to 9.3 points per game. But the level of competition has to be taken into consideration. The Jeff Sagarin ratings have the Sooners as having played the No. 108 schedule in the country. Oklahoma has been especially solid against the rush, allowing just 2.3 yards per carry.

The Sooners are 3-0 against the spread this NCAAF season. Their blowouts over Arkansas State and Tulsa were never in doubt in regards to covering the spread. But they did just sneak by SMU, winning by 17 as 16.5-point favorites. The Bearcats are fairly comparable to the SMU in terms of power ratings.

Cincinnati Looks to Regroup After Overtime Loss

Cincinnati had a golden chance to defeat Miami (Ohio), but had a field goal blocked at the end of the game. The Warhawks won in overtime, getting the best of Cincinnati in the college football scores, 31-24. The Bearcats don’t have time to dwell on the loss, which dropped them to 2-1 straight-up and against the spread.

Former Florida and Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones struggled against Miami (Ohio), going 18 for 34 for 265 yards, but two costly interceptions. Cincinnati had a 538-358 yardage advantage and ran for 273 yards. It was a game the Bearcats should have won.

Cincinnati is a little better than average offensively on the season, scoring 25.5 points per game. But much like Oklahoma, Cincinnati’s strength of schedule leaves a bit to be desired. The Bearcats have been a better running team than passing team.

Cincinnati’s defense has been a little shaky at times. It’s been solid against the run, allowing 3.5 yards per carry. But the Bearcats are allowing 8.0 yards per pass, which could spell trouble against the Sooners.

What to Expect

The Sooners aren’t going to shy away from running the ball despite Cincinnati’s run defense. But Oklahoma will use Gabriel as much as needed if the rushing attack is faltering. The Bearcats are going to have to respect the pass, which could open up a few more holes for Oklahoma running backs.

The Oklahoma vs Cincinnati preview believes the Bearcats aren’t going to win the battle up front against the Sooners. Cincinnati could have a tough time running at Oklahoma, so the Bearcats should have some designed running plays for Jones. He can slow down the Oklahoma rush if he breaks off a few decent runs. The Bearcats will likely have to throw more than the 40% of the time they’ve passed this season. Cincinnati at least needs to attempt a few long passes to keep the defense from crowding the line of scrimmage too much.

Who to Bet On?

The Oklahoma vs Cincinnati preview notes the line of Oklahoma -14 is pretty much spot on. The line dropped to 13.5 Sunday night briefly, but is back up. It’s hard to see the Sooners going off any less than a 14-point favorite. But it might not be quite as easy as it looks at first glance. The Bearcats may have been guilty of looking past Miami (Ohio), a team it had beaten 16 straight times. Cincinnati was its own worst enemy that game. But the Cincinnati mistakes were ones that can be cleaned up for the most part.

The college football predictions have Oklahoma winning by 13.6 points, so there’s really no value on the side. The under probably offers the best betting value in this one.

For NCAAF betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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