UL Monroe vs. Texas Odds, Picks: Bijan Robinson to Lead Longhorns in First Half

UL Monroe vs. Texas Odds, Picks: Bijan Robinson to Lead Longhorns in First Half article feature image

Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Texas running back Bijan Robinson.

  • The UL Monroe Warhawks travel to Austin on Saturday to face Texas in a Week 1 college football matchup.
  • The Longhorns are led by Bijan Robinson and Quinn Ewers, who is making his Texas debut Saturday.
  • Read on for Mike McNamara's full ULM vs. Texas betting preview and pick.

UL-Monroe vs. Texas Odds

Saturday, Sept. 3
8 p.m. ET
Longhorn Network
UL-Monroe Odds
-105o / -115u
Texas Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

After a long offseason, man is it good to have college football back! Just like a year ago, I look forward to previewing games each week and hopefully finding another healthy share of winners. As a current resident of Austin, it only makes sense for my first full-game write-up of the 2022 season to feature Texas.

The Longhorns welcome in a Louisiana-Monroe program looking to start anew after a rough 2021. This game will likely be closely followed in Tuscaloosa as both teams have battles set with the #1-ranked Crimson Tide in the coming weeks.

While there may be a talent disparity on the field in this matchup, there's still plenty to monitor for both teams. And as always, any time there is a spread and total on the table, there is money to be made. Let's find out where the value lies in this one.

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

The Warhawks will enter DKR Texas Memorial Stadium as substantial underdogs. Like the Longhorns, the Warhawks are led by a veteran coach in the second year of a major rebuilding process.

Terry Bowden, like Steve Sarkisian, is a football lifer who has had his ups and downs. His career started with an unreal five-year run at Auburn but disintegrated into stints at the likes of Samford and Akron.

Bowden was brought in last year to try to breathe life into a Warhawks program that has steadily declined since its magical 2012 season and appearance in the Independence Bowl.

Unfortunately for Bowden, he lost both of his coordinators in the offseason.  Matt Kubik was brought in to run the offense, and Vic Koenning was hired to bring his 3-3-5 defense into town.

Warhawks Offensive Line Will Struggle in the Trench

Offensively, the Warhawks should be in better shape. They return eight starters on offense, most importantly mercurial quarterback Chandler Rogers. Rogers shared the starting role in 2021 but won the job this year in camp.

He will lean on junior running back Andrew Henry and versatile running back/wide receiver Malik Jackson, the two leading playmakers from last year’s 4-8 squad. Jackson gained 451 yards on the ground last year while averaging nearly six yards per touch.

While the skill positions have talent, the Warhawks' offensive success will be determined by the offensive line. Last year was a struggle for a group that allowed 39 sacks and 104 tackles for loss. The job of rebuilding the line is made more difficult with the departure of left tack Willie Tyler to Rutgers.

All in all, the Warhawks look to be overmatched in the trenches against what should be an improved Texas defensive front.

Woodard Leads the Warhawks Defense

In 2021, the Warhawks had loads of issues on defense. They surrendered 30 total touchdown passes and allowed nearly 300 passing yards per game. To make matters worse, the secondary lost two starters via the transfer portal.

Koenning is counting on several transfers to grasp his new schemes. Overall, only four starters return from last season. Star middle linebacker Zach Woodard returns and will lead the defense after putting up team highs in tackles (89) and sacks (3.5) last year. Unsurprisingly, Bowden has called him the team’s best player. With a new defense breaking in several first-time starters, it's hard to see the Warhawks having much success stopping the Longhorns in a road opener.

Texas Longhorns

The program’s expectations are as high as ever in Austin, particularly since a certain Arch Manning is set to wear the burnt orange in 2023. That said, Sark will need to improve on a 5-7 finish from a year ago that left an already restless fanbase pretty upset. After a 4-1 start, the wheels came off for the Longhorns, starting with a blown 28-7 lead at the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma.

Ewers Takes Over Longhorns Offense

Last year's starting quarterback Casey Thompson left for Nebraska, so the 2022 offense will be led by former Longhorn commit Quinn Ewers. Ewers sat out last year at Ohio State, so there are no stats to draw upon, but he was a highly regarded five-star talent coming out of Southlake Carroll in the Dallas area.

Ewers’ main job will be getting the ball into the hands of All-America candidate Bijan Robinson. In just 10 games last year, Robinson racked up over 1,400 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Overall, the Texas rushing attack averaged 5.3 yards per carry, good for 11th in the nation.

Preseason All-American receiver Xavier Worthy will be another key weapon for Ewers. Worthy set Texas freshman records for receptions (62), yards (981) and touchdowns (12) and will likely improve on all those categories in his sophomore year.

Defense Will Make or Break Texas' Season

While the offense figures to be a strength, the biggest issue holding Texas back in the past decade has been its defense, including last year when Texas gave up 30 or more points eight times.

There is talent on the defensive side of the ball, but the Longhorns simply do not create enough Havoc plays on a consistent basis. Just look at two key returning pieces in fifth-year linebacker DeMarvion Overshown and defensive tackle Moro Ojomo. The duo combined for over 100 tackles last year but only had three tackles for loss and two sacks.

The secondary was especially problematic in 2021 for the Longhorns. Ohio State transfer Ryan Watts should be a welcomed boost, and you'd have to think the addition of Gary Patterson to the staff should provide a jolt from day one. The defense's improvement (or lack thereof) will likely determine what kind of season materializes in Austin.

UL-Monroe vs. Texas Betting Pick

When looking at this matchup from a betting perspective, I think it's important to factor in the Alabama matchup next week for the Horns. Texas checks in as a substantial 37.5-point home favorite in this potential lookahead spot.

It's fairly likely that Sarkisian will take his foot off the gas in the second half and try to give as much rest to his starters as possible before next week.

With that in mind, I think you'll see a hyper-focused start to this game from the Longhorns on both sides of the ball. Live reps are important before the meat of the schedule arrives, and Sark will want this game out of reach before intermission.

UL Monroe will not have any answers for Robinson, and Ewers should be comfortable right out of the gates against a soft Warhawks front. Give me Texas to take control early and never look back.

Pick: Texas 1H -23.5

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