Houston vs. Texas Tech Betting Odds & Predictions: Our Top Pick for Saturday’s In-State Showdown
John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith.
Houston vs. Texas Tech Odds
-110o / -110u
|Texas Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
Saturday features several marquee games and is obviously headlined by Alabama's visit to Austin to take on Texas.
However, there's a different game going on in the state of Texas that I think could be one of the more exciting matchups of the entire weekend. Both Houston and Texas Tech notched victories in their opening games last week, but the way those two teams won their games could not have been more different.
Texas Tech was dominant in a 63-10 beatdown of visiting Murray State. The Red Raiders took whatever they wanted on both sides of the ball, and the game was over before intermission.
It was anything but smooth sailing for Houston in its opener. Dana Holgorsen challenged his team with a difficult road test against upstart UTSA. The Cougars pulled out a thriller, 37-35 in triple overtime, which was ultimately decided by a two-point conversion.
Will the close call in Week 1 help prepare Houston for this week's matchup? Or will Texas Tech continue its hot start at home? Let's get into it.
There are lofty expectations in Houston this season, and for good reason.
Holgorsen is starting to leave his imprint on the program, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more experienced quarterback in the country than Clayton Tune.
Tune was terrific last week against UTSA, particularly late in the game when everything was on the line. It will be a hostile environment in Lubbock on Saturday, but fortunately for the Cougars, Tune has played in plenty of tough environments before.
Houston was extremely efficient on third down last week, going 13-of-21 on the money down against a pesky UTSA front.
USC transfer running back Brandon Campbell showed flashes but needs to be a bit better after contact this week.
The Cougar defense will have its hands full against a dynamic Red Raider offense. There were a lot of positives from this Houston group last season, as Houston held opponents to less than 20 points in four of its final five games.
Creating more Havoc in the backfield and forcing turnovers will be paramount for the Cougars if they want to come away with a road win Saturday.
The Joey McGuire era in Lubbock is officially underway. McGuire is known for his loud personality and should recruit the state of Texas very well based on his history.
On the field, the biggest decision for McGuire in the offseason was who would start under center for the Red Raider offense.
After last week, that decision now appears a little bit easier.
Tyler Shough and Donovan Smith battled it out all summer for the starting job, and both saw significant time in the opener. Shough, however, got dinged up midway through the game with a shoulder injury and has been ruled out for at least the next two games.
That means the job now belongs to the sophomore Smith, who was very impressive in the opener. Smith went 14-of-16 for 221 yards and four touchdowns and looked to be in complete control of the offense.
Smith also brings a dual-threat element, as he's an explosive athlete with plenty of size when the ball is in his hands.
Defensively, the issues in Lubbock have been well documented over the years. Getting stops always seems to be optional for the Red Raiders and has cost the program plenty of games in recent years.
McGuire came to Lubbock to help change that narrative, and there should be some improved personnel on that side of the ball. Tech made strides last year, particularly toward the end of the season, with upset victories over Iowa State and Mississippi State.
Tune and the Cougar offense should serve as a good barometer of exactly where this defense is at.
Houston vs. Texas Tech Betting Pick
I'm excited to watch this in-state battle between two programs that both know the importance of this game. These two teams are pretty similar from top to bottom, and I would not be shocked in the slightest if this game is decided in the final couple of possessions.
I give the edge to the Red Raiders for two main reasons.
No. 1, I expect a raucous Jones AT&T Stadium which will make things difficult for the visiting Cougars throughout. Houston struggled when it went to Cincinnati a year ago in a loud environment, and this will be a tough road test early in the year.
On top of that, expect Smith's playmaking ability to cause a lot of problems for the Cougar defense. Smith no longer needs to worry about looking over his shoulder and can go out and play freely in this one.
Texas Tech handed Houston an early loss a year ago, and I believe the Red Raiders will find a way to get it done once again, this time in Lubbock.