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Key matchups to watch in Week 1
3:01 | College Football
Key matchups to watch in Week 1
Thursday September 1st, 2016

The Oklahoma Sooners were one of the best teams in the nation last season with an 11-2 straight up and 9-4 against the spread campaign in 2015. The Sooners will try to start another run towards the College Football Playoff this Saturday in Houston taking on the Houston Cougars at NRG Stadium.

Oklahoma is an 11.5-point favorite in Saturday's game at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. This will be Oklahoma's 16th game as a double-digit favorite since the start of the 2014 season.

Under head coach Bob Stoops, the Sooners have been a perennial contender on the national stage. But despite winning eight Big 12 championships over the last 14 years and enjoying 11 seasons of 10 wins or more over that stretch, the Sooners haven't won a national title since 2000.

With quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Samaje Perine both returning for a team that averaged 43.5 points per game last season, expectations are high that this could be the year that Oklahoma gets back on top.

The Sooners are 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in their last four games as a double-digit favorite per the OddsShark College Football Database. The one game in which the Sooners failed to cover the spread in that stretch came against TCU when Baker Mayfield left the game with an injury.

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The Cougars almost put themselves in a position to create a major headache for the playoff committee last season when they started the year off with a 10-0 SU and 6-4 ATS record. The Cougars fell short of a perfect regular season after picking up a road loss against the Connecticut Huskies, but still went a respectable 13-1 SU and 9-5 ATS en route to an American Athletic Conference title.

Houston's backfield took a hit with the loss of Kenneth Farrow this offseason, but the Cougars should still be strong on offense with quarterback Greg Ward Jr. returning.

The total in Saturday's game is set at 68 points for the Sooners vs. Cougars betting matchup. The OVER is a perfect 6-0 in Houston's last six games as an underdog.

Houston is 12-1-1 ATS in its last 14 games as the betting underdog with five outright upsets in its last six games as an underdog. Oklahoma can't afford to take this game lightly in what could be a dangerous season opener for the preseason No. 3 team.

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