NCAA Football Free Betting Preview: South Florida Bulls vs. Houston Cougars

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In a battle featuring two schools that prefer running the football, Cougars of Houston (-8) are gearing up to welcome the No. 21 South Florida Bulls to TDECU Stadium. This crucial AAC game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET and ABC is scheduled to televise the action.

Betting Preview: Houston Cougars vs. South Florida Bulls

South Florida is getting picked to play the role of underdog and is currently getting 8 points in this AAC game. The Bulls are also receiving +250 moneyline odds while the Cougars are -330. Oddsmakers have determined the over/under (O/U) to be 72.5 points, and if one team can create a bunch of points early, it will probably lead to a nice in-game betting opportunity.

Sharp bettors are siding with the over, as the game’s total originally opened at 71.5.

Each of these teams has posted a positive return this season as the Bulls have gained 5.5 units and the Cougars are up 3.0 units.

The Bulls have gone 7-0 straight up (SU), including 3-0 SU against AAC opponents. The Cougars are 6-1 SU overall and are also 3-0 SU in conference play.

When these two programs met last year, Houston earned the win 28-24.

The Bulls are looking to remain undefeated after a 38-30 win over Connecticut last week where Blake Barnett completed 20 passes on 28 attempts for 265 yards, one score and two interceptions. Jordan Cronkrite (103 rushing yards on 16 attempts) and the signal-caller Barnett (78 yards on 10 carries, one TD) led the ground attack. Tyre McCants (six receptions, 49 yards) and Mitchell Wilcox (four catches, 43 yards) shared the receiving duties in the win.

Houston is coming off of a 49-36 win over Navy. The team’s defense allowed the Midshipmen to rush for 344 yards on 68 attempts, including four rush TDs. Taylor Jackson was a bright spot in the loss, posting 120 yards on five catches for Navy. For Houston, D’Eriq King completed 25-of-38 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns. King (56 yards on seven rush attempts, one TD) handled the running game while Marquez Stevenson (eight receptions, 141 yards) and Keith Corbin (six catches, 104 yards, one TD) led the pass-catching corps in the win.

South Florida has run the ball on 55.2 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Houston has a rush percentage of 50.6 percent. The Bulls have run for 236.9 yards/game (including 237.0 per game against American Athletic Conference opponents) and have 19 scores on the ground this year. The Cougars are logging 234.0 rushing yards per game (208.7 in conference) and have 19 total rush TDs.

It seems like the Cougars may hold an edge in terms of RB effectiveness. Their running backs has logged 6.2 yards per carry while the defense is allowing 3.3 YPC to opponents. The Bulls have tallied 5.9 yards per carry while allowing 4.8 yards per rush attempt to opponents.

The Bulls offense has tallied 268.1 yards/game in the air overall (227.7 per game against conference opposition) and has 10 passing scores so far. The Cougars have put up 321.3 pass yards per outing (276 in the AAC) and have 26 total pass TDs.

On the defensive side of the ball, South Florida seems to have the upper hand when it comes to limiting the pass. The team has allowed 229.4 rush yards and 180.3 pass yards per game. The Houston D has allowed 333.6 yards per game to opposing passers and 148.6 yards per game on the ground. The Bulls are giving up an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of just 4.28 to opposing QBs, while the Cougars have allowed a 6.64 ANY/A.

King has been sharper than Barnett lately. His adjusted net yards per pass attempt sits at 10.29 for the season and 11.02 over his past two games while Barnett’s ANY/A is 7.57 (and 5.28 over the last two outings).

South Florida Bulls vs. Houston Cougars Free Prediction

SU Winner: Houston, ATS Winner: Houston, O/U: Under

Team Betting Notes,

  • The O/U for South Florida’s last game was set at 67.5. The over cashed in the team’s 38-30 win over Connecticut.
  • South Florida has averaged 7.7 yards per rush attempt across its past three contests and 7.1 over its last two.
  • Houston has averaged 5.7 yards per carry over its last three outings and only 4.6 over its last two.
  • The Houston offense has lost four fumbles this season while South Florida has lost three.
  • In its last three contests, South Florida is 1-2 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
  • The O/U for Houston’s last matchup was set at 59.5. The over cashed in the 49-36 victory over Navy.
  • Over its last three contests, Houston is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • The Bulls offense has created 10 pass plays of 40+ yards, while the Cougars have accounted for 11 such plays.
  • The South Florida defense has allowed three pass plays of 40+ yards, while Houston has given up eight such plays.
  • The South Florida offense has created 14 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while Houston has created 16 such runs.
  • The Bulls defense has allowed 17 rushing plays of 20+ yards, while the Cougars have given up five such runs.
  • The South Florida defensive unit has 21 sacks on the year while Houston has just 15.