The Oklahoma Sooners and Houston Cougars will kick off the 2016 college football season with one whopper of a matchup featuring two teams that will likely be ranked inside the national Top 10 when they square off in the highly-anticipated 2016 Advocare Texas Kickoff on Saturday, September 3. Make no mistake about it gridiron gaming enthusiasts…this matchup could very well turn out to be one of the most exciting games of the year.
Better yet, I believe this pairing of legitimate national title hopefuls is offering a ton of value, making my college football picks and betting prediction on this regular season opener closer to a lock selection than anything else. Okay, let’s get started.
2016 Week 1 Sooners vs Cougars Expert Predictions
When: Saturday, Sept. 3, at 12:00 PM ET
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
NCAAF Odds: Oklahoma -10
Bet the Oklahoma Sooners at -10 Because…
The Oklahoma Sooners have one of the best quarterbacks in the country and a huge chip on their collective shoulders. Oklahoma (11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS) won the Big 12 in 2015 by going 11-2 last season and a nearly perfect 7-1 in Big 12 conference play. More importantly, the Sooners reached the College Football Playoff as the No. 4 seed and found out they have a gem of a quarterback in the process.
Now, heading into the 2016 season, the Sooners look like locks to win the Big 12 in 2016, even if they aren’t locks to win their opener. The Sooners suffered both of their losses a year ago on the road so that doesn’t bode well. While quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to be one of the frontrunners to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy award, the Sooners need two new starters on the offensive line and Baer lost elite wide receiver Sterling Shepard to the NFL Draft.
The Sooners ranked second in the nation in scoring (45.8 ppg) last season, 17th in rushing (235.0 ypg) and 18th in passing (307.9 ypg) while also ranking 21st in points allowed (20.8 ppg) despite finishing outside the top 30 against the run and pass.
Bet the Houston Cougars a +10 Because…
The have an elite quarterback and some very realistic playoff chances heading into 2016. There’s no other way to say it. The Houston Cougars (13-1 SU, 9-5 ATS) are expecting to contend for a berth in the four-team CFP after winning 13 games a year ago, and I believe they will.
Houston needs to find suitable replacements for departed star wide receiver Demarcus Ayers and defensive back William Jackson III, but they’ve got their own Heisman candidate in gifted dual-threat signal-caller Greg Ward Jr. Last season, the fleet-footed quarterback completed an insane 67.2 percent of his passes for 2,828 yards and 17 touchdowns with just six interceptions while leading the Cougars in rushing with 1,108 yards and 21 scores.
The Cougars need to replace a whopping four starters on the offensive line but they’ll also have former Texas high school star and 4-star recruit Duke Catalon on board after transferring from Texas. With an easily manageable schedule, I say the Cougars are locks to play over their 9-win O/U total.
Houston ranked 12th in the nation in scoring (40.6 ppg), 13th in rushing (240.1 ypg) and 43rd in passing (247.3 ypg) while also ranking 19th in points allowed (20.5 ppg) and 10th against the run (116.0 ypg).
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
Oklahoma is favored to win the Big 12 in 2016, but the Sooners lost a lot on both of their lines and will face a Houston team with tons of talent and a serious chip on their shoulders to show they can play with anyone. While Oklahoma has a gifted quarterback in Baker Mayfield and a ton of elite talent, it is the Houston Cougars that are my pick to cover the spread as insane double-digit home dogs in this huge opener.
Houston went 13-1 in Tom Herman’s first season a year ago and is clearly poised to build on that eye-opening campaign in 2016. The Cougars have gone 7-2 ATS in their last nine neutral site games while the Sooners are a winless 0-4 ATS in their last four neutral site contests. In the end, Houston covers the college football betting line by winning outright!