Memphis vs. Houston Odds, Picks, Predictions: Your AAC Betting Guide (Friday, November 19)

Memphis vs. Houston Odds, Picks, Predictions: Your AAC Betting Guide (Friday, November 19) article feature image
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Credit: Joe Murphy, Getty. Memphis celebrates after a touchdown against East Carolina.

Memphis vs. Houston Odds

Friday, Nov. 19
9 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Memphis Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+9.5
-115
59.5
-105o / -115u
+280
Houston Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-9.5
-105
59.5
-105o / -115u
-365
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Friday night college football is here, and it brings a quality AAC matchup between the Memphis Tigers and Houston Cougars.

After opening the season 3-0, Memphis has dropped five of its last seven games. Bowl season, which was once a near certainty for the Tigers, has now become a major concern.

Their path begins tonight with their matchup against Houston.

The Cougars saw themselves in the most recent set of College Football Playoff rankings at No. 24.

Houston secured its spot in the American Athletic Championship game after defeating all seven of its conference foes this season. The Cougars will likely have a date with the Cincinnati Bearcats in what will be their first appearance in the conference championship since 2015.

That feelin’ when you clinch a spot in the @American_Conf Championship game 😤#GoCoogs pic.twitter.com/Eu574s7zZi

— Houston Football (@UHCougarFB) November 13, 2021

Memphis upset SMU two weeks ago with the return of quarterback Seth Henigan, which was its only win over the last four games. Houston will need to avoid the let-down spot after securing its spot in the conference title game last week.


Memphis Tigers

Memphis has had a rollercoaster season that has lacked any glimpse of consistency. The Tigers opened the season at 3-0 which included a victory over SEC-opponent Mississippi State.

They followed that game by blowing a 21-point lead to UTSA, along with losses to Tulsa and 127th-ranked Temple (according to Collin Wilson’s power ratings).

The program bounced back with an impressive victory over SMU but then laid an egg last week losing to East Carolina. Predicting which Memphis team will show up on any given Saturday is a tough task.

Overall, the program is 5-5 and needs to win one of its final two games to become bowl eligible.

Part of the blame can be attributed to the injury bug recently. Henigan missed the loss to UCF due to injury, and the true freshman is now back. He’s tossed 21 touchdowns this season while averaging 9.1 yards per pass attempt and 309 yards per game.

His go-to receiver, Calvin Austin III, missed the last game against ECU with injury, but he’s expected to be back against Houston. Austin is one of the most explosive receivers in the nation and he’ll be playing in this year’s Senior Bowl. Austin leads the Tigers with 1,000 yards receiving and 10 total touchdowns this season.

The duo has led Memphis to 32 points per game and the 14th ranking in Passing Success Rate.

Defensively, Memphis has struggled this season, allowing 29 points per game. The group hasn’t been able to get off the field on third down, allowing opponents to convert on 47% of its attempts (120th nationally).

Memphis should be able to slow down the rushing attack of Houston, but it’ll need to focus on the aerial assault from the Cougars. Houston ranks 16th in Passing Success Rate while Memphis sits at 83rd defensively. The Tigers have allowed 7.2 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 50th in the nation.

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Houston Cougars

The Cougars have been rolling over their nine-game winning streak, outscoring opponents by an average score of 41-19 during that span. The issue is they have had one of the easiest schedules in the country, according to PFF. The Cougars have faced the 124th-ranked strength of schedule through the first nine weeks.

Houston struggled with Navy, only defeating the Midshipmen by one score. The Cougars also needed overtime to escape East Carolina at home.

They returned a kickoff in the final seconds to beat SMU and needed a second-half surge to survive South Florida.

Opponent Collin Wilson Power Rating Rank
Rice 123
Grambling State N/A
Navy 46.5
Tulsa 78
Tulane 90
East Carolina 72
SMU 32
South Florida 101
Temple 127

Offensively, the group has struggled to run the ball, averaging 3.9 yards per carry and sitting 84th in Success Rate. Though Houston runs the ball on 53% of its snaps, the rushing attack has attributed to just 35% of the Cougars’ total offensive yards.

The offense is reliant on the arm of Clayton Tune, who has thrown 21 touchdowns while averaging 8.4 yards per attempt and nearly 250 yards per game. He’s spread the ball out nicely with nine separate players catching touchdowns, but his go-to receiver is Nathaniel Dell, who is averaging 87 receiving yards per contest.

The Cougars offense has struggled to prevent Havoc, ranking 109th in the nation, but they’ve thrived at Finishing Drives. ranking 12th.

Defensively, the Cougars have been strong this season, allowing less than 300 yards per contest. They rank in the top 12 in Rushing and Passing Success Rates. The unit has amassed 28 sacks and ranks first in pass rush.

Much of those stats can be attributed to the lack of strong offenses that they have matched up with. The defense has struggled at times, allowing 38 points to Texas Tech, 37 points to SMU and 42 points to South Florida.


Memphis vs. Houston Matchup Analysis

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

Memphis Offense vs. Houston Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 69 11
Line Yards 74 7
Pass Success 14 5
Pass Blocking** 84 1
Big Play 44 32
Havoc 34 16
Finishing Drives 82 42
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Houston Offense vs. Memphis Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 84 70
Line Yards 122 83
Pass Success 16 83
Pass Blocking** 17 98
Big Play 44 21
Havoc 109 103
Finishing Drives 12 64
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 19 74
Coverage 33 26
Middle 8 74 68
SP+ Special Teams 88 94
Plays per Minute 15 110
Rush Rate 49.8% (98) 53.4% (74)

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


Memphis vs. Houston Betting Pick

Memphis has had Houston’s number in this matchup historically, winning the last five meetings. The Cougars have benefited from an easy schedule and have beaten up on some bad teams this season. This will be one of the most explosive offenses that the Houston defense has seen all year.

Memphis will finally be healthy for this matchup and is in a must-win position if it wants to make it to bowl season.

According to our PRO Report, Houston has seen 96% of the money, yet the line has dropped from 10.5 to 8.5 in favor of Memphis due to sharp action.

Houston will likely be uninspired after clinching a berth in the conference championship and should be on upset alert in this battle.

Pick: Memphis +8.5 (Play to +7.5)

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