SMU vs Houston Betting Odds & Predictions: Can Cougars Keep This Respectable?

SMU vs Houston Betting Odds & Predictions: Can Cougars Keep This Respectable? article feature image
Credit:

Timothy Flores, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Xavier Jones

SMU at Houston Odds

  • Spread: SMU -14
  • Over/Under: 65.5
  • Time: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Odds via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).


SMU at Houston Line Movement

SMU is hot as a pistol. Houston is in disarray. You can probably guess which side is drawing the most action for Thursday night’s lone college football game.

At the time of writing, 74% of the tickets are on the Mustangs, who have moved from -12.5 to -14 at most sportsbooks. Houston did hit +14.5 earlier in the week, but it was knocked back down pretty quickly.

The Over is the more popular side of the total, drawing 60% of the tickets, but there hasn’t been much movement on the Over/Under yet.

Collin Wilson: Is Houston Still Fade-able at This Number?

SMU comes into this old Southwest Conference rivalry undefeated. The Mustangs are also 6-1 Against the Spread (ATS). It’s been a successful start to Sonny Dykes’ second full season in charge of Pony Express.

Not only does SMU’s offense rank inside the top 10 in total offense, rushing touchdowns and total first downs, but the defense has been getting to the quarterback effectively, ranking inside the top 30 in passing-down sack rate.

On the surface, Houston sets up to be a great fade for the rest of the season. A host of players, including quarterback D’Eriq King, are sitting out the rest of the season to remain eligible next year and the Cougars have been a bit of a soap opera since the season started.

Fortunately for Houston backers, No. 2 quarterback Clayton Tune has been cleared for this game and that should boost an offense that still ranks in the top 20 in rushing explosiveness.  That is one area the SMU defense has been pedestrian, ranking 85th.

If the Cougars have any chance of covering this spread, it will likely come down to the effectiveness of their rushing attack because their defense will have a tough time against SMU’s passing game.

The Mustangs rank 19th in passing yards per attempt and 20th in passing explosiveness, so it looks like the school’s investment in “The Seeker,” an expensive robotic quarterback they use in practice, is paying off. SMU figures to have success against Houston, as the Cougars rank 110th in defensive passing success.

In the end, I think Houston’s explosive rushing attack, led by Patrick Carr and Kyle Porter, is talented enough to keep this game within the number as long as the Cougars can keep a relatively clean box score. SMU is 17th in defensive havoc and Houston ranks 82nd in havoc allowed, so that is not a sure thing. However, this stable of running backs put up 190 yards against Cincinnati a few weeks ago and I think they could work out something similar here.

I think this number is a little inflated, especially considering that our projected spread is SMU -11.

The Pick: Houston +14 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]