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Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Point Spread - Pick

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 7:30PM EST
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Oklahoma
TV: Fox Sports One

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: TLSA +17/OKST -17
Over/Under Total: 74

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane come to Stillwater to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys, as each team kicks off their 2017 season. Oklahoma St. looks to open their season with a bang as the nation's tenth-ranked team. They have their sights set on a Big 12 title, with that conference having re-instituted their title game this season. Like most contenders from that conference, the offense is high-octane and their defense is a potential obstacle to making a splash on the national scene. Meanwhile, the Golden Hurricane are coming off a ten-win season and a bowl win and hope to play better than what is being forecasted by the 17 point spread in the Cowboys' favor.

On the positive side for the underdogs, Tulsa showcased a potent offense in winning 6 of their last 7 games last season. But a lot of that production is gone. And in playing a top-ten team, they won't be rolling out a bunch of new players on offense against a feared defense, as the Cowboys are suspect in that area. Still, a lot of questions exist. They have a great system under a keen offensive mind in head coach Phillip Montgomery, who faces a major challenge in his third season at the helm in maintaining the high standards he set.

Offensive lines can be big at this level and put a new light on an offense. Tulsa returns 4 of 5 O-linemen who were really gelling at the end of last season. That makes it a lot easier for new potential playmakers at the skill positions to thrive. Tulsa QB Chad President has big shoes to fill with the departure of Dane Evans. They also need to replace a productive running back in James Flanders. The situation is less dire than some would think. Returning is their second-leading back from last season in DeAngelo Brewer, who put up a big 1435 yards last season. A little maturity should also make receivers Justin Hobbs and Keenon Johnson bigger weapons this season. Tulsa is also more than just an offensive showcase, as their defense can do some of the heavy lifting, as well. Their secondary returns top tackler Jordan Mitchell, with some veteran corners who will be depended on to keep the Cowboys from overflowing with aerial success in week one.

Tulsa is built to be solid from the ground up. They might not make much of a splash outside the AAC, but they're not the type of team to be bowled over by anything other than a clearly-elite team—a contender for the national championship, namely. Montgomery took a program that had fallen on hard times and through sheer hard work, has them back on the road to respectability. Look for them to not fold like a cheap tent, even with the immense offensive pressure the Cowboys are capable of inflicting.

Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph returns and is an NFL-caliber prospect that could get a sniff of some Heisman mojo if all the stars align. Last season, en route to a 10-win campaign, the Cowboys averaged 39 points per game. Serious weapons remain, like sophomore back Justice Hill, who galloped for 1142 yards last season. It's a little disconcerting that top aerial weapon James Washington is dealing with hernia issues heading into the season. Though listed as probable, you wonder if they'll push the envelope with him this early against this type of opponent. Also at Rudolph's disposal are Jalen McCloskey, transfer Tyron Johnson, Chris Leary, and Marcell Ateman, who is back from injury. For the purposes of this matchup, that should be more than enough. The right side of the line is intact and should be big, but there are some voids on the left side. They hope guys like Cal transfer Aaron Cochrane can deliver and we will see how that pans out as the season carries on in 2017.

Against a Tulsa team that has hit its stride offensively even with a revamped cast, the defense will likely determine if the Cowboys cover the spread. To their credit, they give up a lot of yards, while also being bizarrely consistent on some levels and usually winning the turnover battle, which keeps opponent's scoring in check. The line is talented, but young. They have a legit playmaker in the middle with Chad Whitener, along with tough safeties in Tre Flowers and Ramon Richards, who movers over from corner. But the lack of experience at corner is something Tulsa could potentially exploit to some degree.

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The last time these teams played, Brandon Weeden was the Cowboys' quarterback, so there is no recent point-of-reference upon which to rely. It can be tricky in week one of the college football season, as we really don't know until we know. There are enough blind-spots to make it a bit dicey, regardless of what you bet this early. The thought here is that Tulsa's newness on offense will not enable them to keep pace with the high-octane Cowboys' point-scoring machine. We see Oklahoma winning by 20 or more.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Oklahoma State Cowboys minus 17 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Golden Hurricane vs. Cowboys game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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