Sooners flip to favorites vs. shorthanded Gators

The Oklahoma Sooners have flipped from underdogs to heavy favorites entering Wednesday’s Cotton Bowl with the Florida Gators down several players who opted out of the game.

The seventh-ranked Gators opened as 3-point favorites but are now 8.5-point underdogs by PointsBet and DraftKings. Both sportsbooks are also seeing the majority of the money coming in on the sixth-ranked Sooners.

Oklahoma is being backed by 58 percent of the spread handle at PointsBet and 65 percent of the moneyline handle at -310 after opening at +140. The action is a bit more split at DraftKings, where the Sooners are being backed by 53 percent of the spread handle but only 47 percent of the moneyline handle at -265.

Cotton Bowl should feature plenty of scoring

The Over at 65.5 points is garnering 80 percent of the bets at PointsBet, while DraftKings’ 65.5 Over/Under line is seeing 72 percent of the bets backing the Over. However, 61 percent of the Over/Under handle at DraftKings has been on the Under.

Gators quarterback Kyle Trask has emerged as a star this season, throwing for 4,125 yards and 43 touchdowns — 11 more than any other FBS quarterback — with just five interceptions.

Spencer Rattler
Oklahoma Sooners QB Spencer Rattler. Bryan Terry-USA TODAY NETWORK

“He’s done a really good job of using the weapons,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “They’ve got a tremendous scheme that really features what he does well. But you can see, having watched him a little bit more last year, you can see obviously the improvement he’s made.”

Florida Gators down several key players

Trask will be without three of his top targets for the game. Tight end Kyle Pitts, the favorite for the Mackey Award as the top tight end in college football, and wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes, opted out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft.

“Are there going to be a couple of players here and there through the years that maybe think the bowl game is not that important?” Riley asked, per The Oklahoman. “There may be. But we’ve got to be careful and not take the one or two percent and say, ‘Well, that’s how everybody feels.’ Because there’s a big percentage of both of our football teams that are going to be pretty excited to play this football game.

“So I tend to go with the majority and think these games are still pretty darned important.”

While Oklahoma’s offense has garnered plenty of attention since Riley arrived, the Sooners (8-2) have their best defense in recent years. The defense is keyed by their front, which is averaging 3.8 sacks per game, sixth-best in FBS, while allowing just 90.6 yards per game on the ground, No. 3 nationally.

Florida (8-3) has struggled defensively in spots this season, including recently, allowing an average of 511.5 yards and 44.5 points per game in losses to LSU and Alabama.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)