Houston 2018 Betting Preview: How to Profit Off Applewhite Being on the Hot Seat
Troy Taormina-USA Today Sports. Pictured: Ed Oliver
Houston 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +120000
- To win the AAC: +1050
- To win the AAC West: N/A
- Win Total: 8 (over +135, under -165)
Always shop for the best line.
Houston 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 7.1
Bet To Watch
Houston Win Total Under 8 (-165)
Houston is in a similar boat to Memphis, as it ranks 120th in returning offensive production. And after some behind-the-scenes politics, there have been changes in the offensive staff for the Cougars.
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Kendal Briles comes over as offensive coordinator after a successful year at Florida Atlantic. There has been plenty of discussion about Briles’ recruiting tactics, a morality clause, and the Houston administration making this hire (not Major Applewhite himself).
The Cougars will be led by their two stars. On offense, they have D’Eriq King calling the shots under center, but he is their only proven star on that side of the ball.
The defense will again be anchored by defensive end Ed Oliver, who could be a top-three pick in the 2019 NFL draft. The bulk of the Cougars’ defense is back in 2018, and last year it ranked 19th in the nation at preventing explosive plays. Houston did struggle with defensive efficiency, as plenty of teams had positive rushing and passing success rates against the Cougars.
Houston’s schedule features some very good offensive teams (Arizona, Texas Tech, South Florida, SMU and Memphis). The Cougars have two unwinnable games (Arizona, Texas Tech) and three coin flips (Navy, South Florida, SMU). If there is no motivation heading into the Memphis game on Nov. 23, the politics and university president may catch up to Major Applewhite.
What else you need to know about Houston
Check out Rice +24 hosting Houston in Week 1. My projections have this game much lower, while ESPN FPI and S&P+ make this line 14. This is the Owls’ second game of the season after starting Week 0 (Aug. 25) against Prairie View A&M.
I have high praise for new Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren, and there should not be any first-game jitters against his new crosstown rival. Houston may be caught looking ahead to Week 2, when it will play an Arizona team led by former Cougars head coach Kevin Sumlin and Heisman candidate Khalil Tate.