Cotton Bowl betting preview: Texas A&M vs Oklahoma odds and prediction

USA TODAY Sports

Does the Heisman Trophy give Johnny Manziel more or less motivation as Texas A&M faces Oklahoma? The Cotton Bowl betting odds seem to suggest the Aggies can handle their old Big 12 rivals.

Texas A&M just left the Big 12 last year, but here they are in a major bowl game, facing a familar foe in the Oklahoma Sooners. The 10-2 Aggies, led by the Heisman-winning QB Johnny Manziel, face the 10-2 Sooners in the 77th edition of the Cotton Bowl on Friday, Jan. 4 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington (8 pm ET, Fox).

The early Cotton Bowl betting odds had A&M favored by four points, and most books have since bumped the Aggies to -5. Updated Cotton Bowl betting odds are right here until kickoff.

The SEC is 7-1 SU in the past 8 editions of the Cotton Bowl.

To review, Texas A&M moved to the SEC this season, where it was expected to finish somewhere behind Alabama and LSU and others in the West Division. Before the campaign began, a 4-4 conference season and a trip to a bowl would probably have been considered a success.

Instead, sparked by the exploits of freshman Manziel, the Aggies lost just two games all season, to Florida and LSU (by a combined eight points), and caused shock-waves when they upset No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa in November, 29-24.

With Manziel throwing for 3,400 yards and 24 touchdowns and running for nearly 1,200 yards and 19 more scores, A&M averaged 552 YPG on offense and 45 PPG. But they have struggled in bowl action in the past decade, going just 2-7 ATS in nine games.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, was supposed to win the Big 12 this season, and maybe even play in the BCS championship game. Instead the Sooners lost an early game to Kansas State, which ended up costing them the conference title, and later lost at home to Notre Dame, and looked bad doing it.

Since that loss to the Irish back in October, OU has won five games in a row over bowl-bound teams, beating Oklahoma State in overtime in the Bedlam game and finishing with a road victory at TCU.

Led by a diverse passing game directed by QB Landry Jones, who compiled a 29/10 TD/INT ratio, the Sooners averaged 505 yards and 40 PPG this season.

Oklahoma has won three bowl games in a row; last year the Sooners beat Iowa in the Insight Bowl 31-14.

A&M had lost five bowl games in a row before beating Northwestern in something called the Car Care Bowl last year 33-22.

In their last meeting as conference rivals OU beat the Aggies last season 41-25, although of course Manziel was not available to A&M that day.

Cotton Bowl Pick: All the attention heading into this game will fall on Johnny Football. So this seems like just the right time to take Oklahoma and the points. Courtesy of PickShark.com.

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