Cotton Bowl Betting Picks: #9 Texas A&M Aggies vs #11 Oklahoma Sooners

2013 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
Friday, January 4, 2013, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
#9 Texas A&M Aggies vs #11 Oklahoma Sooners
Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Opening Line: Texas A&M -3 1/2
Current Line: Texas A&M -3 (-115)
Opening Total: 72
Current Total: 73 1/2
Opening Money Line: TAMU -175 / Oklahoma +155
Current Money Line: TAMU -165 / Oklahoma +145

Former Big 12 rivals the #9 Texas A&M Aggies and #11 Oklahoma Sooners face off in the Cotton Bowl. The Aggies are 3 point favorites in Arlington, Texas.

The 10-2 Oklahoma Sooners might have been disappointed not to receive a BCS bid despite being co-champions of the Big 12. They were bumped by Northern Illinois who qualified by winning the MAC and being ranked in the top 16 of the BCS standings. Still, Oklahoma gets a nice consolation prize as they face former Big 12 rival Texas A&M featuring quarterback  Johnny Manziel who last month became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

Texas A&M was a member of the Big 12 for 15 years until 2011. The Aggies moved to the SEC this season. Oklahoma leads the series against Texas A&M 19-11. The Sooners have gone 11-2 against the Aggies under coach Bob Stoops. Oklahoma has won 8 of the last 9 against Texas A&M including 41-25 in Norman in 2011.

Texas A&M is 14-19 in bowl games. The Aggies beat Northwestern 33-22 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas last year to break a 5 game losing streak in bowl games. The Aggies have gone 2-9 in their last 11 bowl games, but two of those losses were to Penn St and were vacated by the NCAA as a result of sanctions.

Oklahoma is 27-17-1 in bowl games. The Sooners are #7 in bowl appearances and #3 in bowl wins. Oklahoma has won 3 straight bowl games, including 31-14 over Iowa in the Insight Bowl last year.

Texas A&M is 10-2 this season and 6-2 in the SEC under first year coach Kevin Sumlin. The only two losses came at home to current top 10 teams Florida 20-17 and LSU 24-19. Texas A&M has won 5 straight games. The Aggies have road wins over SMU 48-3, Ole Miss 30-27, Lousiana Tech 59-57, Auburn 63-21, Mississippi St 38-13 and at then undefeated Alabama 29-24, along with with home wins over South Carolina St 70-14, Arkansas 58-10, Sam Houston St 47-28, and Missouri 59-29 to close out the regular season. Texas A&M is 7-5 ATS and the total is 4-6 this season.

Texas A&M is averaging 552.3 yards per game on offense, including 317.2 passing yards and 235.1 rushing yards. The Aggies are outscoring teams 45-23 this season. A&M is in the top 15 nationally in all offensive categories, including #3 in total offense and #4 in scoring. The Aggies are -5 in turnovers with 20 on offense. TAMU is averaging 56 penalty yards per game, and has allowed 23 sacks. The Aggies are 108/195 on third and fourth down conversions, and 56/64 scoring in the red zone with 47 touchdowns. Texas A&M is allowing 389.3 yards on defense with 248.4 passing yards and  140.9 rushing yards. The Aggies have forced 30 sacks this season and 15 turnovers. Aggie opponents are 79/216 on third and fourth down conversions and 31/40 scoring in the red zone with 24 touchdowns. The Aggies have 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns.

Manziel, nicknamed Johnny Football, is the leading passer and rusher for the Aggies. He has completed 273 of 400 passes (68.3%) for 3,419 yards with 24 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 184 carries, 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns. Running back Ben Malena has 130 carries, 752 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 16 catches, 100 yards and a touchdown. Christine Michael has 88 carries, 417 yards, and 12 touchdowns, along with 8 catches for 48 yards. He was facing a possible suspension for violating team rules, but it appears eh will play in the Cotton Bowl. Trey Williams has 59 carries, 334 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 12 catches for 171 yards.

Receiver Mike Evans has 75 catches, 1,022 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Ryan Swope has 64 catches, 809 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Thomas Johnson has 30 catches, 339 yards, and a touchdown. Uzoma Nwachukwu has 23 catches, 404 yards and 6 touchdowns. Kenric McNeal, Malcome Kennedy, and LaKendrick Williams each have two touchdown catches. Defensive back Dustin Harris has a punt return for a touchdown.

Oklahoma was 8-1 in the Big 12 under coach Bob Stoops. The only losses came at home to current #7 Kansas St 24-19 and #1 Notre Dame 30-13. The Sooners have home wins over Florida A&M 69-13, Kansas 52-7, Baylor 42-34, and against Bedlam rival Oklahoma St 51-48 in overtime, plus a win in Dallas over Texas 63-21, along with road wins at UTEP 24-7, Texas Tech 41-20, Iowa St 35-20, West Virginia 50-49 and TCU 24-17. The Sooners have won 5 straight games. Oklahoma is 6-6 ATS and the total is 7-4.

Oklahoma is averaging 505.2 yards per game on offense, including 340.5 passing yards and 164.7 rushing yards. The Sooners are outscoring teams 40-24 this season. The Sooners are in the top 10 nationally in total offense, passing and scoring. The Sooners are -4 in turnovers this season with 19 turnovers. The Sooners are 95/179 on third and fourth down conversions, and 58/64 scoring in the red zone including 45 touchdowns. Oklahoma has allowed 14 sacks this season and averages 46 penalty yards per game. On defense, Oklahoma is allowing 378.8 total yards, including 197.7 passing yards and 181.1 rushing yards. The Sooners are #25 against the pass. The Sooners have forced 25 sacks and 15 turnovers this season. Oklahoma opponents are 31/38 scoring in the red zone with 24 touchdowns, and 85/205 on third and fourth down conversions. Oklahoma has 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Landry Jones has completed 332 of 507 passes (65.5%) for 3,989 yards with 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has been sacked 12 times this season. Back-up quarterback Blake Bell has 58 carries, 190 yards and 11 touchdowns. Running back Damien Williams has 160 carries, 905 yards, and 11 touchdowns, along with 29 catches for 301 yards and a touchdown. Brennan Clay has 83 carries, 511 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 14 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Dominique Whaley has 39 carries, 243 yards, and a touchdown.  Fullback Trey Millard has 29 carries for 170 yards, along with 29 catches, 331 yards and 4 touchdowns. Roy Finch has a rushing touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Receiver Kenny Stills has 75 catches, 892 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Justin Brown has 66 catches, 822 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with a punt return for a touchdown. Jalen Saunders has 53 catches, 766 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with a punt return TD. Sterling Shepard has 41 catches, 578 yards and 3 touchdowns. Trey Metoyer has 17 catches, 148 yards and a touchdown. Seven Sooners are out indefinitely or for the season, including 4 defensive players.

Texas A&M is 7-1 ATS after allowing 450 yards or more, 4-1 overall and after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 10-3 after gaining more than 450 yards, 3-12 against teams with winning records, 1-4 on fieldturf, 1-5 in bowl games and against Big 12 teams, and 1-9 in neutral site games. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in this series.

Oklahoma is 3-0-1 ATS in Friday games, 4-0 in neutral site games, 6-2 in non-conference games, 1-4 after a straight up win, and after allowing 20 points or less, 1-5 in January, and 0-4 against SEC teams. The Sooners are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 against the Aggies.

Both of these teams are very similar statistically. They both have top 10 offenses and give up just under 400 yards per game on defense. That isn’t great defense, but it isn’t terrible either. Both quarterbacks are fantastic, but Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones finishes his college career with this game and Johnny Manziel has at least one more year in college after a brilliant freshman campaign. This should be a shootout, and Texas A&M comes out on top. Oklahoma certainly has the talent to pull off the mild upset.

Our college bowl picks are available now. Our handicappers are red hot this season.



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