College Football Pick – Hosting the New Cinderella

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houston cougars

By Greg Dempson

Bovada Odds: Houston Cougars -8.5 at Cincinnati Bearcats +8.5 Total 64

I believe this game will be more entertaining to watch and offer up more fireworks than my perception of what should be a defensive struggle between the Jets and Bills, but, since I’m a football junkie, I’ll be watching both of them.

The Bearcats haven’t played a top 10 team in a prime time game at Nippert Stadium for quite some time, back in November of 2007 to be exact, when they hosted #5 ranked West Virginia, as a home dog getting +5.5 points, (23–28,) covering vs. the Mountaineers by a hook!

In tonight’s game Cincinnati is a home dog of +7.5 points at the majority of books with one exception being Bovada, as that offshore book has the Bearcats +8.5 as I write this report. Cincinnati returns senior quarterback QB Gunner Kiel returns along with four other offensive starters along with eight on defense.

This is the media’s Cinderella aka Houston Cougars, third game since September 3, and they’re playing four games in 20 days with their next contest at Texas State on Saturday 24th. I have the Cougars favored by about 28 points next Saturday, (if I can grab more than 28, I might look at backing the home dog next weekend.)

Last week the Cougars were able to rest star quarterback Greg Ward, (shoulder,) as well as running back Duke Catalon, who rushed for 88 yards vs. the Sooners in week 1. Resting the two starters was a no brainer as they hosted cupcake rent-a-victim, Lamar. As expected, Houston took Lamar out to the woodshed, (42–00,) pushing ATS in a game that was delayed for six hours due to weather.

Cougars/Bearcats History

  • Last season Cincinnati outgained Houston by 162 yards, losing straight up, (33–30,) but covering as a 9 point road dog.
  • The Bearcats are on a 6–1–1 ATS run vs. the Cougars, (8–2 ATS overall,) and their past three AAC rivalry games have been decided by a combined 17 points.
  • Houston is 0–5 straight up at Cincinnati and 0–4–1 ATS.
  • Cincinnati is 37–19 ATS and +16.10-units after a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better since 1992.
  • The Cougars are 02–11 ATS and -10.10-units after allowing 6 points or less in their last game.

All Systems Go

  • In the first month of the season, play against road favorites of –3.5 to –10.5 points after they closed out their last season with three or more wins, while having a straight up winning record. This system is  36–11 = 77% ATS as well as 9–1 = 90% ATS the past five seasons.
  • Play on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points with a returning starting quarterback who had a completion pct of 58% or better. This system is 28–07 = 80% ATS the past 10 seasons as well as 15–01 =  94% ATS the past five seasons. (When the team completed 62% or more of their passes the previous season, the home dog is 26–05 = 84% ATS the past 10 seasons.

To Summarize

  • I make the line on this game at 10.5 points and the dog is getting +8.5 at Bovada and +7.5 at the majority of books. So, the line value is with the road team but… it’s understandable the books would not post Houston as a road favorite of more than 10 points in this Conference game, especially with the past few results being, 33–30, 38–31 and 24–17.
  • One concern I have is this; Cincinnati allowed 500 yards to Purdue last week and won in part due to five turnovers by the Boilermakers, however, I do note Cincinnati is 13–03 ATS after a game where they forced 5 or more turnovers
  • Houston is on an ATS streak of 7–1 as a road favorite plus 13–01–01 ATS on the road the past four seasons with their only blemish at UCONN last season as an –8/–7.5  point road favorite, losing straight up to the Huskies, (20–17.)

College Football Pick 

If I could catch +10 with the host, I would definitely make a more substantial wager on Cincinnati, but, such is not the case, so, I have a top opinion on the Cincinnati Bearcats getting +8.5 points, (as well as +7.5 or more,) and backed the Bearcats for a small play.

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