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Houston-Tulsa Betting Preview: Cougars Playing at Historically Fast Pace

Oct 04, 2018 10:00 AM EDT
  • Houston has one of the fastest offenses in the country, but Tulsa isn't far behind in pace.
  • Here's how to find betting value in the over/under for this Thursday night matchup.

Houston-Tulsa Betting Odds

  • Line: Houston -18
  • Over/Under: 70
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET on Thursday
  • TV: ESPN

>> All odds as of 11 a.m. ET on Thursday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.


Houston has always played fast. Since the start of the Kevin Sumlin-Case Keenum days almost a decade ago, the Cougars have built high-powered offenses that put defenses on their heels.

This year is no different. Under new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles (formerly of Baylor and FAU), Houston is averaging 3.32 plays per minute. That would be the fastest pace of any team since 2005, when CFBAnalytics.com’s data begins.

The Metrics

By Steve Petrella

Think about all the lightning-fast offenses of the last decade: Art Briles’ Baylor, plus Texas Tech and UCF the last two years. Houston’s playing faster than all of those teams.

Because of this speed, the Cougars are averaging 16 possessions per game, tops in the country. Their opponents are averaging 15.75, which is tied for fifth. There will be a lot of opportunities for both Houston and Tulsa to score in this game.

If you just multiplied average number of drives by points per possession, you’d project 52 points for Houston in this one.

You’d also think that monster 3.32 plays-per-minute number might regress a little when Houston doesn’t need to play as fast against a not-so-quality opponent.

But consider this: Two weeks ago against Texas Southern, the Cougars still ran 90 plays in a 70-14 win. They averaged 3.13 plays per minute and attempted 49 passes. There’s no slowing them down, no matter the opponent.

So what about Tulsa? Will it hold up its end of the offensive bargain? The Golden Hurricane have averaged 4.78 yards per play, tied for 117th in the country.

But they also play fast, ranking sixth in adjusted pace and 16th in plays per minute.

Bet to Watch

By Ken Barkley

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Credit:

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: D’Eriq King

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