Calling Baker Mayfield’s chances at a national championship isn’t that complicated a matter. OU has a championship offense. The mystery? Whether the Oklahoma defense can hold up over 8 immensely-challenging quarters.
There have been ups and downs. Bedlam lived up to its name, and there were the defensive breakdowns in the loss to Iowa State…and now Baker Mayfield is skipping trips to Disneyland due to having the sniffles. Add it all up – and you’ve got a Big 12 champion that is a slight underdog on the point spread.
If any fellow conference-winner deserves the nod from betting markets, it’s Georgia. The Bulldogs were impressive in all 3 phases in a 28-7 SEC title-game thrashing of Auburn.
Who: Oklahoma Sooners vs Georgia Bulldogs
When: Monday, January 1st 2018, 5 PM EST
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Lines: Georgia (-2.5) at Oklahoma (+2.5) / O/U Total: (60)
Gamblers are getting tricked by “visions” of how the Rose Bowl could go down. Yes, Georgia has a great RB duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. They could dominate. But Oklahoma could also grab an early lead.
So the key match-up is really Mayfield and Georgia freshman Jake Fromm. No reason that Mayfield’s experience couldn’t end up turning the tide. The senior can execute a multiple offense and keep the Sooners in business based off of a powerful running game of their own. Georgia won’t necessarily be allowed to grind the clock for 4 quarters.
Fromm wasn’t very good in Bulldogs’ lone loss at Auburn. Inexplicably, Georgia couldn’t block for the run. There wasn’t another well to draw from. But Auburn eventually fell to a rejuvenated OL and monster LB corps in the SEC championship rematch, and Notre Dame was dismissed at the end of an instant-classic with UGA.
Georgia is a complete team. But with Oklahoma’s defense turning a corner, Fromm’s lack of maturity could be the lone weakness. The opposing team’s pass rush is trending up, and overall the Sooners look more like the team that whipped Ohio State than the one which lost to ISU.
Not going to lie to you – this isn’t a lock. But it’s as close to a sure thing as you’ll get in this College Football Playoff landscape…in spite of everything, the Oklahoma Sooners are still (slightly) underrated.
Take OU and (+2.5) or (+3) points in Pasadena.