The Houston Cougars went 13-1 a year ago, but didn’t get the chance to compete in the four-team College Football Playoff, mostly because of the conference they reside in and competition they play.
Now, Houston will look to prove that they are a legitimate playoff contender by taking down the Oklahoma Sooners in one of the most intriguing Week 1 matchups on the 2016 college football odds schedule. Now, let’s find out where the value lies in this huge opener.
Can Cougars Pull Off Huge Week 1 Upset Against Sooners?
When: Saturday, Sept. 3, at 12:00 PM ET
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
NCAAF Odds: Oklahoma -10
Bet the Oklahoma Sooners at -10 Because…
The Oklahoma Sooners have one of the best quarterbacks in the country and a huge chip on their collective shoulders after coming up short in last season’s playoffs. Oklahoma (11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS) went 11-2 and a nearly perfect 7-1 in Big 12 conference play last season to reach the College Football Playoff as the No. 4 seed.
Now, heading into the 2016 season, the Sooners will look for even bigger and better things out of quarterback Baker Mayfield after the Heisman Trophy contender led the Sooners offense to finish second in the nation in scoring (45.8 ppg) last season. Oklahoma needs to find a pair of new starters on the offensive line while finding new No. 1wideout to replace former star Sterling Shepard.
Bet the Houston Cougars a +10 Because…
Houston Cougars has an elite quarterback, an explosive offense, an underrated defense – and some legitimate College Football Playoff hopes heading into 2016. The Cougars (13-1 SU, 9-5 ATS) are expecting to contend for a berth in the four-team CFP after winning 13 games a year ago and I believe they will.
Houston needs to find suitable replacements for departed star wide receiver Demarcus Ayers and defensive back William Jackson III, but they’ve got their own Heisman candidate in gifted dual-threat signal-caller Greg Ward Jr. Last season, the fleet-footed quarterback completed an insane 67.2 percent of his passes for 2,828 yards and 17 touchdowns with just six interceptions while leading the Cougars in rushing with 1,108 yards and 21 scores.
The Cougars need to replace a whopping four starters on the offensive line but they’ll also have former Texas high school star and 4-star recruit Duke Catalon on board after transferring from Texas. Houston ranked 12th in the nation in scoring (40.6 ppg), 13th in rushing (240.1 ypg) and 43rd in passing (247.3 ypg) while also ranking 19th in points allowed (20.5 ppg) and 10th against the run (116.0 ypg).
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
Oklahoma is favored to win the Big 12 in 2016, but the Sooners lost a lot on both of their lines and will face a Houston team with tons of talent, not to mention a serious chip on their shoulders to show they can play with anyone in the country. While Oklahoma has a gifted quarterback in Baker Mayfield and a ton of elite talent, it is the Houston Cougars that are my pick to cover the spread as insane double-digit home dogs in this huge opener.
Houston went 13-1 in Tom Herman’s first season a year ago and is clearly poised to build on that eye-opening campaign in 2016. The Cougars have gone 7-2 ATS in their last nine neutral site games while the Sooners are a winless 0-4 ATS in their last four neutral site contests. In the end, Houston covers the college football betting line by winning outright!