Oklahoma vs. Florida Betting Predictions

Cotton Bowl Oklahoma vs Florida
Oklahoma vs. Florida, NCAA Football, Cotton Bowl, December 30

This looked like it was going to be a down year for Oklahoma after the Sooners opened up with consecutive losses in Big 12 play. But the Sooners have won every game since and have steadily improved as the season has progressed. Meanwhile, Florida has had an up-and-down season with two straight frustrating losses headed into this contest. Momentum is even more important in this bowl season and Oklahoma has that on their side.

Oklahoma vs. Florida Betting Odds

Give Oklahoma a lot of credit for how it handled itself after a tough start to the Big 12 season. Oklahoma lost its first two conference games then had to hang on against rival Texas to secure that first Big 12 victory. But since that game, Oklahoma has rarely been under pressure and comfortably won the next six– including a revenge win over Iowa State in the conference title game. The stats from Spencer Rattler are not the jaw-dropping totals we’ve seen from the past few Oklahoma quarterbacks, but 2,700 yards and 25 touchdowns in 10 games is not too shabby. The Sooners have really relied on a strong rushing attack as opposed to an aerial assault this season and three players, including Rattler, have at least five rushing scores this year. T.J. Pledger had a strong start to the season, but it’s been Rhamondre Stevenson who has taken over the last five weeks as the main back. Stevenson is averaging nearly six yards per carry in five appearances this season and he’s averaging nearly 100 yards per game on the ground as well. On defense, the Sooners have been active at getting to the quarterback with three players with at least five sacks, and Tre Norwood and Tre Brown are the only players with multiple interceptions. That combination has limited Big 12 offenses to 21 or fewer points five times in the last six games.

Florida was in the running for a spot in the playoffs until the inexplicable loss to LSU two weeks ago. The Gators then were outgunned by Alabama in the SEC title game, sending them to the Cotton Bowl with their Heisman Trophy-candidate quarterback. Kyle Trask has been spectacular for Florida this year with more than 4,000 passing yards to go with 43 touchdowns and five interceptions in 11 games this season. His favorite target has been tight end Kyle Pitts before Pitts decided opt out of the remainder of the season. Kadarius Toney is actually the Gators leading receiver with 70 catches, including 10 touchdowns, for nearly 1,000 yards. Florida has a suitable rushing game to complement Trask and the passing attack, but the Gators are winning games with offense this season. The unit is averaging 508 yards per game this year and 7.4 yards per play while scoring 41.6 points per game. It helps overshadow a defense that has really struggled in the back half of the season. Most of the competent offenses in the SEC have been able to move the ball against this Gators defense and score enough points to stay competitive.

If we were betting just the point total in the game, the Cotton Bowl betting odds are kind of tricky. The line is set at 71.5 points by the football betting sites in New Jersey and that seems a bit high for this game. That is an average of 35 points for each team and that both overestimates the Oklahoma offense and underestimates the Sooners’ defense. Oklahoma has not allowed more than 28 points in six straight games, though this high-octane Gators offense that has scored at least 31 points in every game this season will challenge that total. But the Sooners have also only scored 27 points in consecutive contests, beating up on weaker teams in the Big 12 but have been kept in check by the better teams in the league. Florida’s defense is vulnerable after giving up 52 points in the SEC title game against Alabama and the better offenses Florida has faced have been able to put up points. I think it will be a lower-scoring game than many are anticipating and will just sneak under the 71.5-point total, so I’m betting the under at -107 odds.

Oklahoma to win

I cannot fault the schedule this year for Florida in this pandemic, but it’s striking to look at the Gators’ performance against their slate. The Cotton Bowl betting line favors Florida by 2.5 points at the New Jersey online football betting sites despite the Gators’ 2-3 record against teams with records at .500 or better. Florida beat up on a weak SEC East for six of their wins and they looked mundane really on defense the last two weeks. The odds for the Cotton Bowl are all wrong in this regard as Oklahoma is surging at the right moment. They are playing some of the best defense the program has played under Lincoln Riley, and the offense hasn’t been as explosive, but still plenty talented. The Sooners are going to exploit the same weaknesses that Alabama and LSU took advantage of the past two weeks and cruise to a win. That is why I’m betting heavy on Oklahoma to win the game at +128 odds on the moneyline against a Florida team lacking motivation as the main bet in my Cotton Bowl predictions. I’m going to also add a pair of parlays with Oklahoma on the moneyline and over 71.5 points at +320 odds and Oklahoma straight up with the under at +330 odds.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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