As good as the sixth-ranked University of Houston has looked through two weeks, there are probably only two games this regular season that the Cougars can realistically lose as they try to become the first Group of Five school to reach the College Football Playoff. One of those potential losses is Thursday night at Cincinnati in AAC action. UH is a TD favorite on college football lines.
How To Bet on the Houston at Cincinnati Week 3 Expert Pick, Odds & TV Info
When: Thursday, Sept. 15, 7:30 PM ET
Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati
Opening NCAAF Lines: Houston -7; total 64
Why Bet on Houston?
The Cougars (2-0) played Lamar on Saturday without star QB Greg Ward Jr. and running back Duke Catalon but it hardly mattered in a 42-0 win. The Cougars had three players top 100 yards rushing for the first time since 1974, and piled up 381 yards on the ground. Kevrin Justice had 111 yards and two touchdowns, freshman Mulbah Car added 109 yards and a score in his debut and backup QB Kyle Postma scrambled for a career-high 106 yards with two TDs. Houston finished the game with 511 total offensive yards. The last time the Cougars reached 500+ yards was against Navy on November 27, 2015 with 555 yards. Houston’s defense managed to force Lamar into 10 punts, while holding the Cardinals to just 15 rushing yards on 28 total carries.
Ward was held out of the game with a mild right shoulder injury. Catalon missed the game with a sprained ankle. Head coach Tom Herman said both players will be available for Thursday. The 5-foot- 11, 185-pound Ward, a senior, went 23-40 for 321 yards and two TDs in a Week 1 win against Oklahoma in a victory that helped give the Cougars’ playoff hopes a major jolt. Cornerback Brandon Wilson, who suffered a lower leg contusion against Lamar, was limited in practice and is listed as day-to- day, Herman said.
The second-year coach has plenty of respect for Cincinnati.
“As good as they were last year they’ve improved on both sides of the ball. Their defensive line and their defensive tackles seem to be in a lot better shape,” he said. “They’re moving around better. Their two safeties are really good players that make a ton of tackles for them. They seem to be a little bit more sound in what they’re doing. They’re in the right places at the right time on defense. On offense, the quarterback is playing at an extremely high level. He’s a really good player behind a massive offensive line. They’re running the ball a little bit better than they have in years past. It will be a challenge.”
Why Bet on Cincinnati?
The Bearcats (2-0) beat Purdue 38-20 last weekend, the school’s first road win at a Big Ten school since 1957. Quarterback Hayden Moore passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more, and linebacker Mike Tyson intercepted Purdue's David Blough three times. It was the first time a UC player had intercepted three passes in a game since DeAngelo Smith did it in the 2007 PapaJohns.com Bowl.
Cincinnati converted 12 of its first 14 third-down situations. Moore threw touchdown passes of 5 and 28 yards to Nate Cole and 20 yards to D.J. Dowdy and ran 9 and 23 yards for scores. His 23-yard TD run with 2:19 iced the outcome. The Bearcats, who did not turn the ball over against Purdue, are now plus-5 in turnover margin through two games. They were minus-19 last season, which ranked 124th of 127 teams nationally. Cincinnati has recorded seven interceptions this season through two games. The Bearcats did not register their seventh interception of last season until the ninth game of the year at Houston.
Cincinnati improved to 10-0 under head coach Tommy Tuberville when rushing for 200 or more yards. The Bearcats also improves to 13-0 over the past three-plus seasons when rushing for more yards than their opponents.
Last year, Cincinnati lost at Houston 33-30. UC gained 589 yards to Houston's 427 in that game, but turned the ball over three times and lost an ill-advised on-side kick with the score tied at the start of the second half.
This will be the first time a Top 10 team has played in Nippert since Nov. 17, 2007, when the Bearcats lost 28-23 to No. 5 West Virginia. Nippert Stadium was renovated and expanded to 40,000 capacity last season. The stadium record crowd is 40,140 against UConn for a Homecoming game Oct. 24, 2015, a 37-13 Bearcats victory. This crowd will be the biggest in school history.
My Expert Pick
Bearcats are 2-5- 1 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Bearcats are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games in September.
Cougars are 21-4- 1 ATS in their last 26 road games.
Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Cougars are 4-1- 1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
Cougars are 7-2- 1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Give the points here on NCAA football lines.