The No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners (9-1, 6-1 in Big XII) hosts the Iowa State Cyclones (6-4, 4-3) for a Big XII battle at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium Saturday. The game airs on Fox at noon E.T.
Iowa State has alternated between winning and losing over the past four games. The latest was a 41-38 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders as 13-point road favorites this past weekend. Cyclones senior WR Xavier Hutchinson has the most receptions (68) in the conference and the second-most receiving yards (798).
While Cyclones junior RB Breece Hall leads the Big XII in TDs (18) and has the second-most rushing yards (1,172), Iowa State is 4-6 against the spread (ATS) and 5-5 Over/Under (O/U) with the 23rd-toughest schedule in the country, according to USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin.
Oklahoma had its undefeated season ended with a 27-14 Week 11 loss at the No. 11 Baylor Bears as 4-point road favorites. Baylor trampled Oklahoma, gaining 296 rushing yards on 47 carries with two rushing TDs. According to Sagarin, the Sooners are 4-6 ATS and 6-4 O/U with the 66th-toughest schedule.
These teams split their two meetings less season, with Iowa State winning the first 37-30 on Oct. 3, 2020, and Oklahoma got revenge in the 2020 Big XII Championship with a 27-21 victory. The winning team covered in both meetings and as did each side of the total.
- Opening Line: Oklahoma -6
- Current Line: Oklahoma -3.5
- Total (Over/Under): 58.5
The market smashed Iowa State’s spread after this game opened up, steaming the Cyclones down from a 6-point underdog to the current price. Now that the market beat the Iowa State-Oklahoma line into place, Pregame.com says a slight majority of the cash and more than 60% of the bets are on the Sooners.
We’re seeing similar betting splits for the total. Iowa State-Oklahoma opened with a 61-point total but has been moved down despite roughly 75% of the cash being wagered on the Over (Pregame.com).
Head coach Matt Campell took over the Iowa State football program back in 2016. Since then, the Cyclones have been a Big XII-best 32-21 ATS in conference play, 9-6 ATS as a road underdog, 15-10 ATS vs. ranked teams, and 20-8 ATS following a loss.
Since head coach Lincoln Riley succeeded Bob Stoops in 2017, Oklahoma is 21-24-1 ATS vs. Big XII teams, 17-13 ATS as a home favorite, and 2-3 ATS following a loss.
Also, Iowa State plays more to the Under in this spot under Campbell. For instance, the Cyclones are 8-17 O/U vs. ranked teams and 12-18-1 O/U in road games since 2016. However, Oklahoma trends far more to the Over since Riley took over in its comparable betting splits.
Oklahoma getting cheaper despite being the more popular side is an example of a “reverse line movement” that every sports bettor should be wary of. It raises red flags whenever you see sportsbooks make the more popular side cheaper. A fair takeaway is the sportsbook is trying to goad sports bettors into taking the losing side.
Aside from that, Oklahoma isn’t 3.5 points better than Iowa State, regardless of how disappointing the Cyclones’ season has been. Iowa State has higher yards per play and Havoc rate differentials and has played a more difficult schedule.
Furthermore, this is a much better spot for Iowa State, who’s bounced back from losses well in the Campbell era. Not only has Iowa State covered 71.4% of its games following a loss, but the Cyclones have a +7.1 spread differential in those contests.
Moreover, Iowa State has more balance on offense, and Oklahoma’s passing defense is very poor. Oklahoma’s pass defense ranks 109th in non-garbage time predicted points added (PPA) and 129th out of 130 charted football programs in Havoc rate by the secondary. Usually, when QB Brock Purdy plays well, Iowa State wins. Purdy is set up for success vs. an awful Oklahoma pass defense.
PICK: Iowa State +4
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