Houston vs. Temple Odds & Picks: Betting Value on the Cougars (Saturday, November 13)

Houston vs. Temple Odds & Picks: Betting Value on the Cougars (Saturday, November 13) article feature image

Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Jones

  • The Houston Cougars take on the Temple Owls in AAC action on Saturday.
  • The Cougars are looking for a statement win as 24.5-point favorites over an Owls team that might have thrown in the towel already.
  • Mike Ianniello explains why it's a good idea to bet Houston below.

Houston vs. Temple Odds

Saturday, Nov. 13
12 p.m. ET
Houston Odds
-110o / -110u
Temple Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football oddshere.

Dana Holgorsen took a unique redshirt approach in his first two seasons in Houston to build for the future. The Cougars went just 7-13 over the first two seasons under Holgorsen.

This process is finally bearing fruit as Holgorsen’s squad is 8-1 and ranked No. 17 in the country by the AP Poll, the only poll that matters and only one with an Action Network employee voting. Houston and Cincinnati appear on a crash course toward the Big 12 American Athletic Conference Championship Game.

Temple is also in the third year under coach Rod Carey, but I’m not so sure that there will be a fourth year. The Owls are just 12-17 since Carey took over and are 3-6 this season and a cumulative 4-12 in the last two years.

Will Houston be able to pull away in Philadelphia, or can the Owls keep things close?

Cougars Led By Strong Defense


Quarterback Clayton Tune is someone I have loved to fade because he is turnover-prone. But with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions on the year, he has really cut down on the mistakes.

Since the team’s Week 1 loss at Texas Tech, Tune has 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Tune has a 78.7% adjusted completion percentage per Pro Football Focus and is graded as the ninth-best passer among all quarterbacks with at least 150 dropbacks.

Houston ranks 17th in the country in Pass Success Rate. Nathaniel Dell is the team’s best weapon, sitting second in the AAC with 93.2 yards per game and eight receiving touchdowns on the season.

True freshman Alton McCaskill has really emerged in the Cougars backfield to go along with Ta’Zhawn Henry. McCaskill has 12 touchdowns this season, and Henry has added five. While they have not necessarily run the ball consistently well, ranking just 91st in Rushing Success Rate, only Cincinnati has found the end zone more on the ground in the AAC.

The Cougs are 10th in the country averaging 39.1 points per game. They rank 10th in Finishing Drives and have scored a touchdown on 75% of their red zone attempts, tied with Alabama for seventh in the country.


Cincinnati’s defense gets all the headlines, and the fifth ranked Bearkats have one of the best defenses in the country. But you can make an argument that Houston might have the best defense in the American.

The Cougars rank higher than Cincinnati in Rushing Success, Passing Success, Line Yards, and Havoc created. They have allowed the fewest yards per game in the AAC as they rank ninth in the country.

Now they haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of quarterbacks, but Houston does rank eight in Pass Success rate on defense and should have no problem stopping Temple through the air.

When Temple tries to run the ball, that plays right into Houston’s strength. Good luck running the ball against this front seven as they rank seventh in the country in Rush Success Rate allowed and sixth in Line Yards. Opponents are averaging just 2.9 yards per rush.

This front seven is also dominant in passing situations and is ranked as the best Pass Rush in the country. They rank 12th in the country in Havoc and thrive at getting into the backfield.

An incredible deep defensive line can get after the quarterback from any angle with David Anenih, Derek Parish, Logan Hall, D’Anthony Jones, Latrell Bankston and Atlias Bell all having generated at least 20 pressures.

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Owls Need To Get Offensive


As the weather is getting colder in Philadelphia, so has the Temple offense. It has been held under 300 yards in each of the last four games and is averaging just 6.75 points per game over that stretch.

Temple ranks 116th in Pass Success Rate and now could be without quarterback D’Wan Mathis, who left last week’s game with an injury. Mathis is averaging just 174.7 yards per game with six Big Time Throws and six Turnover Worthy Plays.

If Mathis is unable to go, it will be the third start for true freshman Justin Lynch. He has two Big Time Throws and four Turnover Worthy Plays this year and is completing just 57.6% of his passes.

Running the ball hasn’t been much better for the Owls who sit 89th in Rushing Success Rate and 97th in Line Yards. Two-year leading rusher Re’Mahn Davis transferred to Vanderbilt, and the Owls are now led by Edward Saydee who is averaging just 28 yards per game.

Besides not being able to move the ball consistently, the Owls also do not generate big plays, sitting just 110th in Big Plays. They are 126th in Finishing Drives and their 18.2 points per game rank 120th in the country.


While the Temple offense has not topped 300 total yards in any of its last four games, its opponents all have. In fact, they have all topped 400 with two of the four having cleared 500.

Only five teams have allowed more touchdowns this season than Temple has. If you get past the 40 yard line, it’s almost guaranteed points against a team that ranks 126th in defending Finishing Drives.

The Owls have actually been pretty solid against the pass, ranking 23rd in Pass Success Rate, although they do rank 100th in Coverage Grade. Only Memphis has topped 300 yards through the air on Temple.

However stopping the run has been a different story. Temple sits 111th in Rush Success rate and ranks 123rd in the country allowing 221.7 rushing yards per game.

Opponents have scampered for more than 200 yards in four straight games and have pushed around the Temple defensive line and then ripped through the 114th ranked tackling unit behind them.

Houston vs. Temple Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Houston and Temple match up statistically:

Houston Offense vs. Temple Defense
Rush Success91111
Line Yards116102
Pass Success1723
Pass Blocking**2255
Big Play3266
Finishing Drives10126
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Temple Offense vs. Houston Defense
Rush Success897
Line Yards976
Pass Success1168
Pass Blocking**561
Big Play11038
Finishing Drives12649
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling65114
Middle 885111
SP+ Special Teams85105
Plays per Minute10686
Rush Rate53.2% (79)49.5% (102)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Houston vs. Temple Betting Pick

With the season winding down and just three weeks left, you have to start wondering which teams will continue to fight, and which teams could throw in the towel.

Temple looks like a team that has quit. In its last four games, the Owls have been outscored 180-27. Last week they lost to East Carolina 45-3. The week before UCF pounded them 49-7. Prior to that, a South Florida that hadn’t beaten an FBS school in two years beat them 34-14.

Don’t be surprised if Rod Carey is out of a job before December 1st, and don’t be surprised if Houston runs it up here. As you can you see in the above charts, the Cougars have an advantage in just about every aspect of this game as things are likely to get ugly in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Pick: Houston -24.5 (Play to -28)

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