The University of Texas El Paso and Oklahoma meet up to start off the 2022 season on Saturday! It's time to continue our college football odds series with a UTEP-Oklahoma prediction and pick.
UTEP (0-1) finished the 2021 season with a respectable record of (7-6). That was their best season under head coach Dana Dimel, who had just five wins in three years prior to that. This team has a lot of returning players that saw a lot of success in 2021. The expectations are finally high enough for the fan base to expect another winning season, or at least a bowl appearance. This could be the start of something special for El Paso. However, they lost their first game of the season 31-13 to North Texas in Week 0.
This was a rough offseason for the Sooners but all will be well if they put on another show in Norman. OU started off the 2021 season (9-0) until Baylor defeated them 27-14. Two weeks later, Oklahoma State would knock off the Sooners' playoff chances with a 37-33 win in Stillwater. Oklahoma didn't give up on the season and bounced back nicely with a win over Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. They lost some crucial talent but still have a chance to win the Big 12 Conference.
Here are the UTEP-Oklahoma college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: UTEP-Oklahoma Odds
UTEP: +30.5 (-112)
Oklahoma: -30.5 (-108)
Over: 57.5 (-110)
Under: 57.5 (-110)
Why UTEP Could Cover The Spread
El Paso didn't start the season off like they thought they would. North Texas controlled the game but the UTEP offense just couldn't get anything going in the first half. The Minors did see some nice things from quarterback Gavin Hardison. He had a tough time completing passes but didn't throw an interception, however, did lose a fumble. Hardison ended with 293 yards and one touchdown to receiver Tyrin Smith. Smith ended with seven receptions and 127 yards as well. Those two will need to be in sync if they want a chance to cover this spread. The run game was nonexistent in the loss and that will need to be a part of their plan if they want to have a chance at keeping this game close.
The Minors have eight defenders returning and they have a chance to be even better this season. They played well as a defensive unit last year, allowing just 25 points per game. That is a good sign as Oklahoma will have to be at their best if they want to score a ton of points on this defense. Breon Hayward and Tyrice Knight are back and combined for 210 tackles last season. Those two will need to lead the defense Saturday afternoon.
Why Oklahoma Could Cover The Spread
Brent Venables takes over as head coach for the Sooners after Lincoln Riley took his talents to Southern California. This team is on the cusp of being moved to the SEC, and so Venables has a lot of pressure to keep this thing going. Oklahoma has been one of the best teams in the NCAA over the last decade despite zero championships. They are arguably the face of the Big 12 but that isn't going to be happening much longer. They have a lot to prove to put themselves in championship conversation this season but it would start with a blowout win over UTEP.
Jeff Lebby left Ole Miss to take the OC job in Norman. He lead the Rebels' offense last year which was 12th in the nation in rushing and 118th in time of possession. That means he worked fast. Very fast, to say the least. That is perfect for what the Sooners are used to utilizing in their offensive attack. Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler are gone. But enters Dillion Gabriel from UCF. He's an experienced playmaker that can put up huge numbers for this offense. He will likely be in the conversation for the Heisman if he puts up the numbers we all expect him to … well because every OU QB is in the convo.
OU can cover this spread by establishing their dominance early in the game. They will keep the UTEP defense guessing and don't be surprised if they let Gabriel loose with a huge game.
Final UTEP-Oklahoma Prediction & Pick
There is no doubt that Oklahoma will start off the season (1-0). I think UTEP gives them a little bit of a battle and so it's tough to take OU on the spread with the new system. There will be points, however, so take the over at 57.5.
Final UTEP-Oklahoma Prediction & Pick: Over 57.5 (-110)