The Houston Cougars welcome the Connecticut Huskies to campus Thursday night. This is the second game in three weeks where Houston has had a weekday college football date. The first went well in Cincinnati, which turned into a 40-16 blowout in their favor. The game was a lot closer than the score indicated, with the Cougars outscoring the Bearcats 28-6 in the 4th quarter. Houston gets Connecticut tonight, who are a much inferior opponent, but like we saw against Cincinnati, it took them a while to take them seriously.
These weekday games for good teams can be dangerous, and Houston decided to wake up after they realized they better get their game in gear. Houston is playing with a lot on the line. They’re 4-0 and would make the college football playoff if they win out, presumably. One loss would do them no good, and dependent on how the other teams shake out, they may need some help from voters even with an undefeated record. The Oklahoma win does not look all that snazzy after they got toppled by Ohio State at home. Houston became the biggest fans of the Sooners after they beat them in Week 1. What help they are.
There was some speculation regarding the health of Greg Ward Jr. However, Ward is entering Thursday night with a clean bill of health, as he appears to be completely healthy for this matchup with the Huskies. Lamar Jackson has stolen the spotlight as the most dynamic quarterback in college football. Ward has taken a backseat to Jackson, who has been unbelievable, lighting the scoreboard up with ease. Ward and Jackson bring similar characteristics to the football field. They are both mobile quarterbacks who can make it happen on a variety of fronts. However, Jackson brings top-level speed that a lot of running backs can’t even duplicate.
Nevertheless, Greg Ward Jr. is a talented quarterback who brings a lot of talent to the table. Ward took a week off after the Cincinnati game and came back against Texas State, with 2 touchdowns and 289 yards passing. He didn’t need to do much offensively, as Houston ran all over the Texas State defense. Ward will be asked to do more against Connecticut, but as -28.5 favorites, they should beat the Huskies by a comfortable margin.
Connecticut Huskies vs. Houston Cougars NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Houston -28.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Connecticut vs. Houston Pick:
Houston hasn’t lost a game, but thanks to the struggles Oklahoma is having stat-filler games against Texas State and Lamar, they’re 5th in the country. Clemson has had a sloppy start to the season, which has pushed them out of the top 4, into 6th behind Houston. You can’t put Houston ahead of Louisville or Michigan, so 5th looks just about perfect for them. The Huskies enter tonight with a record of 2-2. Their only wins came against Maine and Virginia in 3-point games, so it isn’t much. They put up hard efforts against Navy and Syracuse, though, but they came up short, 28-24 and 31-24. UConn at their best is a team that allows under 20 points per game. Averaging around 30 points to Syracuse and Navy is not Connecticut football.
Attracting offensive talent to their program has been a hard chore. When they were a team, five or so years ago, flirting in the top 25, an offense would have made them a top 10 team. Their defense was that good, but the offense has been dead for more than a decade. The Huskies upset Houston last year, a 20-17 win. That was the last lost for Houston, as they’ve won seven straight games since then. In this sense, there is a sort of revenge angle for Houston in this game. As -28.5 favorites, they are expected to smack them pretty good tonight.
The Houston offense has averaged 44.75 points over the first four weeks of the season. An average of 36.5 against Oklahoma and Cincinnati. The Orange threw for 407 yards on Connecticut, this was the first team they played that had an adequate passing game. The Huskies used to have a stout secondary, but they’ve lost a lot of talent in that regard. The Cougars should be able to get their points in this game. I am thinking in the low 40s or high 30s. This is a pretty big spread, though, which has backdoor written all over it. Connecticut should be able to scrap for 14-17 points. This leaves the spread up in the air for me personally. With a low total of 50 points, the OVER looks like it will be able to get there.
PICK: OVER 50 POINTS (-110)