With their national ranking now a thing of the past and their CFB Playoff hopes virtually gone, the Houston Cougars will look to bounce back from their stunning Week 8 loss to take down Central Florida and cover the online betting spread as a double-digit home favorite this coming weekend.
Now, let’s find out if the ‘desperate’ Cougars can get back on track and in the mix for a New Year’s Day bowl game.
Here’s A Closer Look At The UCF Knights At Houston Cougars Week 9 College Football Predictions
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 29, 2016
Where: TDECU Stadium, Houston, Texas
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Betting Odds: Houston -12.5
Analysis: Central Florida Knights (4-3 SU, 5-2 ATS) has won three of their last four games including their solid, but not overwhelming, 24-16 win over UConn on Saturday, one week after losing a heartbreaker to conference rival Temple. Quarterback McKenzie Milton completed 29 of 45 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns against the Huskies, but it was Central Florida’s defense which came up with two huge fourth down stops, that really led the Knights to victory.
Milton has completed 60.7 percent of his passes after taking over for former starter Justin Holman and the Knights are averaging a stellar 212.0 rushing yards per game on the road this season. UCF is averaging a respectable 32.1 points per game to rank 51st nationally while limiting the opposition to 23.7 points per game to rank an equally impressive 41st nationally.
Houston (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS) got completely overwhelmed in their shocking 38-16 smackdown at the hands of unheralded SMU this past weekend while getting dominated on both sides of the ball throughout. While quarterback Greg Ward Jr. had a solid game passing the ball by completing 21 of 33 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns, the dual-threat signal-caller was limited to a paltry three rushing yards on 17 carries in the humbling defeat.
Houston is averaging a stellar 39.4 points per game to rank 20th nationally and Ward Jr. has been mostly rock-solid in completing 69.3 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Defensively, Houston is limiting their opponents to just 21.3 points per game this season to rank 30th nationally, but the Cougars have given up at least 38 points in their two losses this season.
Sure, Houston has had their national championship hopes obliterated and looked like anything but an elite team this past weekend, but their desperation – and recent frustration – are the main reasons I like them to bounce back against Central Florida in week 9.
While Houston has struggled the last three weeks, they still have an elite player in Greg Ward Jr. and I believe he will be the best player on the field this coming weekend. Houston rolled to an emphatic 59-10 road win over UCF last season and should be able to replicate that kind of performance when they meet UCF in the Lone Star State on Saturday.
While UCF has compiled an impressive 4-1 ATS mar in their last five games, the Knights have also lost seven of their last 10 road dates outright. However, with Houston going 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight up (SU) loss and 4-2 ATS in their last six home games, I say the Cougars win and cash in!