Texas and Oklahoma will enter this year's Red River Showdown both ranked in the top 25. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

Bucking the line: Competitive Longhorns have made some people a lot of money

Posted October 19th, 2017

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And you thought Texas only led the Big 12 in moral victories.

The Longhorns are not only tied for first in the conference against the line, they have one of finest records in the country.

Any gambler in Vegas would be envious of the roll Texas is on. The Horns have covered the point spread in each of their last five games since the opening loss to Maryland. Only five other teams have accomplished that.

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The chances of any team enjoying a five-game winning streak vs. the line in a given year are barely 10 percent.

If a person wagered just $10 on Texas to cover the 26-point spread against San Jose State on Sept. 9, and then kept rolling over his winnings for the next four games, he would have about $250 to show for it. And if a high roller laid down $100 on the Longhorns vs. San Jose and kept rolling over his weekly winnings, he’d be a richer man by nearly $2,500 right now.

That brings us to this week. Oklahoma State is a 7-point favorite over Texas. The Longhorns, a good home team, could lose by six or fewer points and still run their winning streak against the line to six and 6-1 for the season.

Approach with caution, though. These lengthy point-spread victory strings are even more difficult to extend than the real thing — straight up win streaks. Texas’ streaking will end one of the next few weeks. The Las Vegas lines are too good to continue consistently underrating the Longhorns.

Oklahoma State has been favored in every game, including three times by 20 points or more. The Cowboys carry a solid 4-2 mark vs. the line.

There is plenty of conflicting handicapping data on this game.

While Texas is an excellent team to bet at home, 11-4 in its last 15 against the spread, Oklahoma State is 6-2 in its last eight on the road and 13-2 straight up in its last 15 games overall.

The Sagarin computer ratings have the line just about right. The Cowboys (90.21) would be a 9-point favorite over the Longhorns (81.34) on a neutral field and a 6-point choice at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

For one more week, Bucking backs Texas as a home dog.

BUCKING THE LINE

I’ve been given an imaginary $1,000 bankroll for the college football season. Will I turn a profit — or need a loan by bowl season?

Update: After a 7-3 spurt, we’re in another rut. A 1-3-1 week, which cost us $36, sinks the season record to 13-19-2.

New bankroll: $858

BEST BETS

Michigan State (-6½) over Indiana: The Spartans (4-2) have bounced back strong from last year’s 3-9 disaster, thanks to the NCAA’s No. 5 total defense. $22

Arizona State (+9½) over Utah: The improving Sun Devils should be able to hang because the Utes are offensively challenged. $22

San Diego State (-7) over Fresno State: Too much Rashaad Penny as the Aztecs rebound strong from last week’s first loss. $22

Northerrn Illinois (-13½) over Bowling Green: The Huskies, who’ve beaten Nebraska and dropped close ones to San Diego State and Boston College, step down in competition here and should roll. $22

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