Oklahoma is a massive 35-point favorite over Arkansas State according to the latest college football odds at BetUS. The over-under is set at 58 points for the season-opening matchup.
The opening NCAA football odds have the two Big 12 favorites, Oklahoma and Texas, both as sizable 35-point favorites in Week 1.
Despite going just 6-7 in the first season under head coach Brent Venables, the Sooners are among the favorites to win the Big 12 in the Las Vegas odds. The oddsmakers appear to be expecting a bounce-back season in Norman, but first things first: Do the Red Wolves have a chance to hang around against Oklahoma?
The Butch Jones era at Arkansas State has underwhelmed, to put it mildly. Prior to Jones taking over at Arkansas State, the Red Wolves had been a frisky Group of Five team. Remember, this is the same guy that came up with Tennessee’s trash can prop.
If Butch Jones doesn’t have to carry his belongings out of his office in the turnover trash can this will have all been a waste. pic.twitter.com/gmB26ryhFz
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) November 12, 2017
There is some hope that new quarterback J.T. Shrout can give the offense a boost this season. Shrout is a former highly touted prospect who had previous stops at Tennessee and Colorado.
Gabriel, Oklahoma to Make a Statement
If the Sooners want to be contenders, Week 1 is about solidifying 2023 as a different year than last season’s underwhelming 6-7 campaign. This game is also important for Dillon Gabriel to take a firm hold of the quarterback job after an inconsistent first season with the Sooners.
Hello, Dillon Gabriel.
He quickly scans through his progressions and delivers a to Marvin Mims for the touchdown. pic.twitter.com/eGnXvRKdja
— Nick Penticoff (@NickPenticoff) February 18, 2023
Oklahoma went big-game hunting this offseason and landed five-star quarterback recruit Jackson Arnold. If Gabriel does not impress to start the season, the push for a quarterback change in Norman is only going to get louder.
This game means as much to Gabriel as it does Oklahoma in terms of solidifying his QB1 status. Venables has been public about his desire to see more from Gabriel in 2023.
“One of the best quarterbacks in college football last year,” Venables said, per On3.com. “But he’ll be the first one to tell you that he’s gotta become more efficient. He’s got to become a more accurate passer, consistently. Make better decisions. He’s gotta create the sense of urgency with everybody.”
Oklahoma is sure to face challenges this season, but I’m not so sure it will be from Arkansas State. The Red Wolves went just 3-9 in 2022, and this season opener is a recipe for disaster given they are facing what should be a hungry Oklahoma squad.
Bet Oklahoma to Cover the Spread vs Arkansas State
As I mentioned in the Texas-Rice preview, my preference is to stay away from these massive spreads involving the top college football contenders in Week 1. There are so many variables that can take place that put the chances to cash a Sooners ticket at risk, including a late touchdown allowing for an Arkansas State backdoor cover.
If pressed to place a bet in this matchup, I am still riding with Oklahoma to cover the 35½-point spread as the team looks to send a statement to the rest of the Big 12 that times are changing.
PICK: Oklahoma -35½ (-110)