College Football Odds, Picks for TCU vs Houston

College Football Odds, Picks for TCU vs Houston article feature image

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Stacy Sneed #21 of the Houston Cougars.

TCU vs Houston Odds

Saturday, Sept. 16
8 p.m. ET
TCU Odds
-105o / -115u
Houston Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

TCU makes the short trip to Houston as both teams open up Big 12 play on Saturday night.

TCU lost a high-scoring showdown in the opener against Colorado but rebounded last weekend with a blowout win over Nicholls. The Horned Frogs are not the same team that went to the national title game last year, but they're fairly big favorites here in Houston.

Houston fell behind, 28-0, at Rice last weekend, stormed back to tie the game and sent it to overtime — only to then lose, 43-41.

The Cougars are going through a bit of a rebuild at the moment after losing their starting quarterback and top wide receiver, so that's why they are such significant underdogs at home.

Let's examine the odds for TCU vs. Houston and make a pick in this betting preview for Saturday, Sept. 16.

Check out our NCAAF Betting Hub for more college football previews, predictions, news and analysis.

TCU Horned Frogs

With Kendal Briles as the new offensive coordinator, TCU is playing at a lightning-quick pace. The Horned Frogs rank third in pace, running a play every 20.2 seconds. That isn't really surprising considering Briles' offense finished in the top 20 in seconds per play at Arkansas in 2022.

The Horned Frogs offense was one of the best in the nation last year. Given what we've seen through two games and considering the transfers they brought in, I'm not sure we're going to see a massive drop-off like some may have expected.

They played in a crazy high-scoring affair with Colorado in the opener, putting up 42 points and averaging 6.9 yards per play.

Chandler Morris was supposed to be the starter last season before getting injured, opening the door for Max Duggan to lead TCU to the national title game and secure a spot in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Morris was inefficient in the game against Colorado and committed three turnover-worthy plays. But he bounced back against Nicholls this past weekend, going 26-of-30 for 263 yards and two touchdowns with a 92.5 PFF passing grade.

TCU's defense returned only seven starters from a unit that ranked 103rd in both explosiveness allowed and Finishing Drives Allowed. The Horned Frogs got torched for well over 500 yards against Colorado in the opener, so it seems like nothing has changed.

Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for college football bettors
The best NCAAF betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

Houston Cougars

Donovan Smith transferred to Houston from Texas Tech after starting four games for the Red Raiders. However, he really wasn't that great of a passer in Lubbock.

He recorded a PFF passing grade of just 65.1 while averaging 6.8 yards per attempt and posting only six big-time throws compared to 11 turnover-worthy plays. He's been pretty average through his first two games with the Cougars, but Smith is really at his best when he can run in space.

Smith ran for three touchdowns against Rice last weekend and has already gained more than 100 yards on the ground through two games.

Speaking of the rushing attack, Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen went into the transfer portal and grabbed Tony Mathis Jr. from West Virginia. Mathis averaged only 4.2 yards per carry in 2022, but he's a very elusive back who forced 33 missed tackles and posted 15 runs over 10-plus yards in 2022.

The Cougars also return their top two rushers from last year in Stacy Sneed and Brandon Campbell. What we've seen so far is that all three are splitting carries. However, Mathis is averaging 6.1 yards per run, so he may emerge as the lead back sooner rather than later.

The Cougars defense was pretty bad in 2022, finishing 93rd in EPA/Play Allowed, 69th in Finishing Drives Allowed and 71st in Success Rate Allowed. They returned seven starters but lost both of their starting safeties and their top linebacker.

They put up a solid performance against UTSA in the opener and then gave up 470 yards — and over 400 yards through the air — to JT Daniels and Rice last weekend in a 43-41 double-overtime loss, so it seems they're still having issues.

How to Practice Responsible Gaming Habits

TCU vs Houston

Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how TCU and Houston match up statistically:

TCU Offense vs. Houston Defense
Rush Success6774
Line Yards9088
Pass Success30113
Finishing Drives6695
Quality Drives3577
Houston Offense vs. TCU Defense
Rush Success5829
Line Yards8826
Pass Success86107
Finishing Drives10391
Quality Drives3577
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling92108
PFF Coverage11570
Special Teams SP+6398
Middle 85733
Seconds per Play20.1 (7)22.9 (13)
Rush Rate49.7% (97)49.7% (116)

TCU vs Houston

Betting Pick & Prediction

The biggest thing for the TCU offense is the addition of running back Trey Sanders and wide receiver JoJo Earle from Alabama.

Sanders was a five-star recruit and the second-ranked running back in the country coming out of IMG Academy. He was never featured as the main back for the Crimson Tide and dealt with multiple injuries in Tuscaloosa. He scored three touchdowns against Colorado in the opener and was limited to just five carries against Nicholls after suffering an injury against the Buffs. So, we'll see if he's unleashed in this game.

If he is, that'll bode well for the over.

With how bad these defenses have been or are projected to be this season — and with both offenses ranking top-20 in seconds per play — I like the value on over 64.5 points

Pick: Over 64.5 (-105 at BetMGM)

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.