What 2024 college football betting odds say about OU and OSU prospects

What 2024 college football betting odds say about OU and OSU prospects

Two oddsmakers released opening metrics for the 2024 college football season, and they are similarly daunting for OU and OSU.

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

| Mar 1, 2024, 7:00am CST

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

Mar 1, 2024, 7:00am CST

(This story appeared in Guerin Emig’s newsletter. Subscribe here to receive Sellout Crowd in your inbox here.)

Nobody knows how OU and OSU will fare in their new environs next football season — the Sooners in the SEC, the Cowboys in a revamped Big 12 – but two oddsmakers have an idea.

About the same.

BetOnline recently released opening ‘24 season odds for the following: over/under win total for every Power Four team plus Notre Dame, Power Four conference championship odds and College Football Playoff odds.

Fan Duel has posted similar over/under win totals and conference championship odds. 

The breakdown for our particular interest:

OU’s over/under win total according to BetOnline and Fan Duel: 7.5

OSU’s according to both: 7.5

OU’s SEC championship odds: 50/1 according to BetOnline and 40/1 per Fan Duel 

OSU’s Big 12 odds: 16/1 according to both

OU’s opening playoff odds per BetOnline: 10/1

OSU’s: 8/1

There is a noticeable difference in conference championship odds here, but the Cowboys’ 16/1 number still puts them behind seven Big 12 teams. The Sooners trail eight teams in terms of SEC championship odds. 

If we were to turn these odds into February preseason rankings, OU and OSU would both be middle-of-the-packers. 

The Sooners aren’t used to this position. 

Consider that last year, coming off a 6-7 ‘22 season, they were picked third out of 14 Big 12 teams. In 2022, after losing Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams to USC, they were picked second. In 2015, after Bob Stoops fired some coaches in the wake of an 8-5 season, OU was picked third. 

OU’s place in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2012 and 2011 preseason Big 12 polls: first. 

You can picture every cynic, and every OSU fan, across this state digesting those 40-50/1 SEC odds and snickering: “Be careful what you wish for.” 

Not that the Cowboys have it made in the OU- and Texas-less Big 12. 

We all sense Big 12 football will be like riding the old Zingo at Bell’s Amusement Park. The oddsmakers reinforce that here by making OSU’s 16/1 odds the same as TCU’s, tied for eight-best in the league. 

Put another way, bottom-of-the-list BYU checks in at 125/1. That’s still twice better than Vanderbilt and Indiana at the bottom of the SEC and Big Ten (both 250/1) and four times better than Stanford trailing the ACC pack at 500/1. 

OSU’s slightly better CFP odds than OU’s come across as another jolt of SEC reality. 

The Sooners trail the same eight teams here that they do in terms of SEC championship odds: Georgia, Texas, Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas A&M. They also trail Auburn in terms of BetOnline’s opening CFP odds, maybe because they play at Auburn Sept. 28.

Remember when OU was practically an annual playoff team on the strength of practically annual Big 12 championships? We can forget about that, even as the playoff expands from four qualifiers to 12

Realistically, the Sooners now run a race to one of the eight CFP at-large berths… and boy is it gonna be grueling. 

It’s not that different for the Cowboys.

Oddsmakers make OSU a better bet of being in Arlington for a Big 12 title game than OU being in Atlanta for an SEC one. That gives the Pokes a better shot at making the playoff via conference championship bid (assuming the Big 12 champ is among the five highest-ranked conference champs per the 12-team CFP criteria). 

Sure would be nice to punch a playoff ticket that way as opposed to a mad scramble among 2- and 3-loss teams for the last couple at-large bids. The problem with that is the mad scramble just to get to Arlington.

Here are the teams ahead of OSU in terms of Big 12 championship odds per Fan Duel: Utah, Kansas State, Kansas, Arizona, Texas Tech, UCF and Iowa State. TCU is tied with OSU at 16/1. 

Here are the Big 12 teams ahead of OSU in terms of BetOnline’s opening CFP odds: K-State, Utah, Arizona, Kansas, Texas Tech and Iowa State. The Cowboys do appear before UCF and TCU on this list, but BetOnline isn’t keen on them entering the CFP fray. OSU’s 8/1 odds rank 27th. 

BetOnline isn’t any wilder about OU. The Sooners’ 10/1 CFP odds tie Washington for 29th. 

The most jarring numbers are those 7.5-win totals, two more metrics that put OU and OSU outside playoff range. 

If the metrics are right and the Sooners and Cowboys both go 8-4 – we’ll give both the benefit of the doubt and bet slightly over as opposed to slightly under at 7-5 – there are going to be discouraged football fans throughout the state. 

OU hosts Temple, Houston, Tulane and Maine in nonconference. Temple has won 10 total games the past four seasons, Houston just went 4-8 and fired Dana Holgorsen, Tulane just exceeded 10 wins for the second straight season but lost Willie Fritz to Houston, and Maine is Maine. 

Barring something weird, Sooners going 8-4 means they go 4-4 in the SEC. With trips to Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU and resurgent Missouri on the schedule… plus home dates with Alabama and Tennessee… plus You Know Who in You Know What in Dallas… 

Maybe that’s… not so bad? 

Are we ready to accept a world where the Sooners do well to break even in their own conference? Gulp. 

OSU hosts South Dakota State and Arkansas and plays at Tulsa in nonconference. The Jackrabbits are dangerous FCS champs, Arkansas is in the SEC and TU has played the Cowboys tough the past few meetings. Fine.

OSU will still be a double-digit favorite over SDSU and TU, and is more stable and experienced than an Arkansas team that just went 4-8. 

Barring an upset or two, the Cowboys going 8-4 means they go 5-4 in the Big 12. With trips to K-State, TCU, Colorado, Baylor and BYU on the schedule… plus home dates with Utah, TCU, Arizona State and West Virginia…

It kind of feels like they oughta do better than 8-4… 

But then how many of those Big 12 games are we sure of? Or even close to sure of? 

Aren’t the Pokes coming off a season where they horsed around before beating BYU, Houston and Arizona State, went 2-1 in back-to-back-to-back coin-flip games against Iowa State, K-State and KU, and got their doors blown off at UCF? 

Stop and think long enough and 8-4 feels about as right for OSU as it does for OU. 

Which puts the old Bedlam rivals on equal footing six months from the ‘24 season, and uncomfortable footing at that. 

 

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Guerin Emig is a columnist for the Sellout Crowd network. Read his work at selloutcrowd.com and guerinemig.com. Reach out with feedback and/or ideas at [email protected] or (918) 629-6229. Follow him on Twitter at @GuerinEmig and Instagram at @guerin.emig. .

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