The Troy Trojans travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys Saturday night. This looks to be a much closer match-up than the public or oddsmakers think.
The Cowboys opened up as 7 ½ point favorites, but over the course of the week the line has gradually risen to 13 ½ or 14 points, depending on the book, check our college football lines page for updated odds. The public is still hitting the Cowboys hard, playing them at over 95%. Given the heavy betting and big line movement, this has become an excellent opportunity to play Troy on the moneyline. The moneyline is currently +400 at most sites, which is a great way to turn a modest bet into a large return.
The main reason for the public’s betting and the wide line movement is what happened in week 1. Oklahoma State throttled Washington State, 65-17. Running back Kendall Hunter ended up with 257 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. On the flip side, Troy snuck out a win against Bowling Green at home, 30-27. Both teams were sloppy, committing 13 turnovers apiece. With OSU stomping a Pac 10 team and Troy slipping by a MAC team, the public likely sees Oklahoma State as a sure-win. But when a line looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Troy has a legitimate chance of winning this game. The Trojans beat the Cowboys back in 2007, 41-23. Although the game was at home, Troy obviously has the ability to line up with OSU and beat them soundly. Regarding last week, OSU played one of the worst teams in college football in Washington State. I think WSU should play New Mexico every week until one of the two teams can actually compete with other teams in the country. As for Bowling Green, they’ve been decent in recent years. They played in a bowl game last year and should’ve won. Also, the Falcons beat Troy the year before. In other words, don’t overestimate Washington State and don’t underestimate Bowling Green.
Oklahoma State returns the fewest number of starters (8) in the Big 12 and tied for fewest returning starters in the entire country! The OSU offensive line brings back a sophomore starter. Beyond that none of the other 4 o-linemen have started a single game in college. Sure, Kendall Hunter is a great back. But can he find room to run when OSU isn’t playing Washington State? Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant are both gone, so this will likely be a rebuilding year for the passing game. Without being able to throw the ball as effectively and with an inexperienced offensive line, Kendall Hunter will find the rest of the season to be much tougher than the first week. The defense, like the offense, brings back only 4 starters. The entire linebacking corps is replaced. Only one member of the secondary returns. The d-line will be serviceable, but should not be relied upon. This will likely be a tough year for the Cowboys.
For Troy, experience is also a problem. On the bright side the offense brings back 7 starters. The wide receivers look to be the team’s strength, especially 1st team all-Sun Belt performer Jerrel Jernigan. The running backs have experience and should run well behind an offensive line that returns 3 starters. At quarterback, Jamie Hampton replaces Levi Brown. Hampton might not be as accurate a passer as Brown, but by all accounts he’s a better athlete. Expect this offense to put a ton of pressure on OSU’s unproven defense.
The defensive side of the ball doesn’t look as bright as the offensive. Only 4 starters are back. The front 7 is a cause for concern, especially the defensive line, which replaces all four starters. The secondary should be solid, though. Having said that, this defense will have to really work to keep Kendall Hunter under 150 yards.
This looks like a shootout to me, and given the extra value for Troy, I think playing the Trojans on the moneyline can end up being a wise investment. But like always, the best investment is playing with the professionals at Maddux Sports. With guaranteed picks and an awesome run to start the season we are 9-1 our last 10 football picks, don’t miss out on a sure way to gain a hefty return on your sports investment. Click here for college football picks from Maddux Sports.