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Arizona vs. Oklahoma: Picks, best bets for Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on Thursday

The Wildcats and Sooners meet in San Antonio.

TCU v Oklahoma Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats take on the Oklahoma Sooners in the Alamo Bowl on Thursday, December 28. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:15 p.m. ET from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Arizona (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12) finished their last season as part of the Pac-12 on a strong note, going on a six-game winning streak to wrap up the season. In that stretch, they defeated Oregon State, Utah, and Arizona, among others. Their losses came at the hands of Washington, USC, and Mississippi State — and the latter two both went to overtime. The Wildcats were led by quarterback Noah Fifita, who began starting after Jayden de Laura was injured and proved himself as one of the season’s breakout stars. Fifita finished 2023 with over 2,500 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and five interceptions.

Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big XII) is headed to the SEC in 2024, but had a good campaign in the Big 12 this season. The Sooners’ biggest win of the year came against Texas in the Red River Showdown, but they fell to Oklahoma State in the final Bedlam. The Sooners also lost to Kansas, but put together one of the best and highest-scoring offenses in the nation throughout the year, averaging 43.2 points per game — second only to LSU. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel has entered the transfer portal as Oklahoma moves into the Jackson Arnold era.

Here’s everything you need to know and a pick for the game.

SP+ Rankings

Arizona: 20 overall, 15 offense, 43 defense
Oklahoma: 13 overall, 7 offense, 33 defense

List of injuries and players opting out of game

Arizona

RB Jonah Coleman - Probable (undisclosed)
RB DJ Williams - Probable (leg)
LT Jordan Morgan - Out (draft)
QB Jayden de Laura - Entering transfer portal after game (1120 yards, 10 TDs)
RB Stevie Rocker - Out (transfer portal)

Oklahoma

QB Dillon Gabriel - Out (transfer portal, 3660 yards, 30 TDs, 373 rush yards, 12 TDs)
QB Jackson Arnold - Projected starter
QB Davis Beville - Entered transfer portal, listed as backup QB anyway
K Gavin Marshall - Questionable (undisclosed)
TE Blake Smith - Questionable (undisclosed)
C Andrew Raym - Out (draft)
OT Tyler Guyton - Out (draft)
RB Marcus Major - Out (transfer portal, 308 yards, 1 TD in 8 games)
RB Tawee Walker - Out (transfer portal)
OG Cayden Green - Out (transfer portal)
CB Key Lawrence - Out (transfer portal)
WR LV Bunkley-Shelton - Out (transfer portal)
WR DJ Graham - Out (transfer portal)
TE Jason Llewellyn - Out (transfer portal)
RB Daylan Smothers - Out (transfer portal)
TE Blake Smith - Questionable (undisclosed).
RB Tawee Walker - Entered transfer portal (496 yards, 7 TDs), remains on depth chart

ATS/Total

Against The Spread in 2023

Arizona: 10-2 ATS
Oklahoma: 8-4 ATS

Total in 2023

Arizona: Over 4-8
Oklahoma: Over 7-5

Team Pace

Arizona: 27 seconds per play
Oklahoma: 23.1 seconds per play

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Arizona -3
Total: 61
Moneyline: Arizona -148, Oklahoma +124

Weather

49°F, Partly cloudy, 0% chance of precipitation, 5 MPH winds

Our Best Bet for the Alamo Bowl

Arizona -3

Freshman Jackson Arnold, who will get his first start at QB for Oklahoma in this game, will be the leader of the Sooners’ offense next season. But as of right now, he is extremely inexperienced compared to Fifita. The Sooners’ defense will struggle to shut down this powerhouse Arizona offense, and the Wildcats can take advantage of those defensive weaknesses. This will be a high-scoring matchup, but I think Arizona takes home a win and covers the spread.