For those betting college football, it is clear Houston’s status has changed as they and the American Conference get a prime time Thursday spot again on ESPN, which only enhances both parties.
The Cougars only loss in the last two seasons has come against Connecticut, losing 20-17 as 10-point road favorites. However, based on the spread alone, you might recall outstanding quarterback Greg Ward Jr. did not play in that contest and the Huskies defense was up to the challenge at home.
With the college football odds at BetDSI showing Houston at -24.5, let’s look to improve on 15-10-1 ATS record here on the collegiate gridiron.
Despite having 10 offensive starters back, including quarterback Bryant Shirreffs, the Connecticut offense has been dismal in averaging 21.3 points a game. Both the running game and passing game are duller than light vegetable soup, ranked 10th in rushing yards and 10th in passing yards in the AAC. Coach Bob Diaco came to Storrs as a defensive mastermind and it shows, with the offense having averaged 17.2 PPG and 15.5 PPG in the past two years to go along with this crew.
Defensively, the Huskies have done a nice job in holding opposing offenses to 22.5 PPG, but this Houston bunch is a completely different animal with Ward Jr. on the field. It would seem UConn’s only shot would be to create turnovers. The Huskies are 13-22 ATS as conference dogs since 2006 and 6-11 ATS if it is by double digits.
While the Cougars might have been a surprise team a year ago, this season they are legit across the board. Ward Jr. and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson are two of the best and most exciting quarterback in college football. Ward can make all the throws is an elusive runner and has skilled and speedy runners and pass catchers with him.
What does not get enough credit is the offensive and defensive lines. In last year’s Peach Bowl win over Florida State and this season over Oklahoma, they were better on both sides of the line scrimmage. This has become the key element, as coach Tom Herman took over a talented roster, but made it more cohesive and his recruiting has now added size and more skill to what was already in place. Though the spread is very large, the Cougs are 11-3 ATS as conference favorites of 20 or more.