Oregon may have started slow against UCLA, but a flurry of points and breaks in the fourth quarter gave the Ducks a 28 point victory over UCLA and gave the Predictalator its fourth straight victory against-the-spread in the Game of the Week, extending the record of this feature to 7-1-1 (88% ATS) on the season. This week, we are calling for an outright upset as the Oklahoma State Cowboys head to Lubbock, Texas to take on Kliff Kingsbury's Texas Tech Red Raiders. Both teams have used multiple quarterbacks effectively to manage their innovative aerial attacks, while both defenses rely on a "bend-but-don't-break," opportunistic philosophy. It should be a great game between similar teams that could go a long way to deciding the Big 12 race. Ultimately, the team that is a little more talented and a little more experienced should hold on to win in a close one.
Playing against the 52nd toughest schedule in FBS thus far in 2013, Oklahoma State is 6-1 straight-up and 3-3 against-the-spread on the season. The Cowboys currently rank 14th overall in our College Football Power Rankings, good for second best in the Big 12. While Mike Gundy's squad is best known for its offense, it has been the Oklahoma State defense that has led the way to victory for this team more often than not. The Cowboys rank 13th against the pass and 12th against the run in our strength-of-schedule-adjusted efficiency metrics. Senior quarterback Clint Chelf has been under center more often than not in back-to-back wins over TCU (24-10) and at Iowa State (58-27). Chelf has a great grasp on the offense, yet has only completed 49.4% of his passes on the season. However, don't be surprised if sophomore J.W. Walsh takes meaningful snaps or even starts in this game. Walsh is the more effective player with his arms and his legs, though he does not have the experience and decision making edge in the comparison to Chelf. Either way, the Cowboys have an offense that is good enough to win tight games when the defense is playing as well as it has been.
Texas Tech is 7-1 straight-up and 4-3 against-the-spread, playing the 77th ranked FBS schedule on the year. The Red Raiders rank 32nd in our Power Rankings, which is not only far behind Oklahoma State and outside of the top 25, it is only good for the fifth best ranking in the Big 12. This middle-of-the-pack conference team has only played one of the teams ranked ahead of it, losing to Oklahoma, 38-30, in Normal, OK last week. Though the record is strong, Texas Tech only ranks inside the top 25 in one of our efficiency metrics, coming in 24th in run defense. The Red Raiders are below average relative to BCS-automatic qualifying teams in run offense and pass defense. This team has also used two quarterbacks over the course of the season, switching from true freshman (walk-on) Baker Mayfield to true freshman Davis Webb after Mayfield's injury issues. Webb has attempted more than 50 passes in three straight games. And, while the numbers look pretty good, Texas Tech is only 1-2 ATS in those games and barely covered in its one ATS win over West Virginia (a TD with 1:01 left put Texas Tech up 10 points to cover a 7 point spread; the Red Raiders were losing by 11 points late in the third quarter). Webb's opponents as a starter rank #107 overall and #89 against the pass (Texas State), #87 overall/#57 against the pass (Kansas), #75 overall/#80 against the pass (Iowa State), #59 overall/#94 against the pass (West Virginia) and #22 overall/#8 against the pass (Oklahoma). Look for Saturday's outcome to look more like what happened last week at Oklahoma than any previous Texas Tech game, especially given the fact that Oklahoma State has a far more effective overall offense right now than the Sooners.
According to 50,000 games played by the Predictalator, Oklahoma State wins outright over Texas Tech 53% of the time and by an average score of 32.6-28.8. As 2.5 point underdogs winning by about four points on average, Oklahoma State covers the spread 55.8% of the time, which would warrant a $36 wager from a normal $50 player. With as good as the Oklahoma State defense is, the UNDER (66.5) covers 54.2% of the time, strong enough to justify a $19 play from a normal $50 player.