Thursday Night College Football Betting: Houston Cougars at SMU Mustangs
Houston Cougars at Southern Methodist Mustangs
Thursday, October 18, 2012, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: FSN
Gerald Ford Stadium – Dallas, Texas
Opening Line: Houston -3
Current Line: Houston -6
Opening Total: 56 1/2
Current Total: 60
Opening Money Line: Houston -200 / SMU +170
Current Money Line: Houston -230 / SMU +190
The Houston Cougars and SMU Mustangs were predicted to contend for the Conference USA West division title this year. However, both have gotten off to slow starts, and this is a must win for both teams. This is the 28th meeting between the schools. Houston leads the series 17-9-1, and the Cougars have won 9 of the last 10 games in the series. Houston won last year at home 37-7. The last win in the series for SMU came in 2005. Surprisingly, SMU hasn’t beaten Houston in Dallas since 1992, when both were members of the Southwest Conference. Both schools will join the Big East in 2013.
Houston is 3-3 this season and 2-0 in Conference USA under first year coach Tony Levine. The Cougars started off 0-3 but have since won 3 games in a row all by 21 points or more. Houston has home losses to Texas St 30-13 and Louisiana Tech 56-49, along with a road loss at UCLA 37-6. The Cougars have wins over Rice 35-14, North Texas 44-21, and last week against UAB 39-17. All three were in Houston, but the Rice game was a neutral site game at Reliant Stadium, where the NFL’s Texans play. The Cougars are 3-3 ATS this season and the total is 2-4. Houston was a 13 point favorite at home against UAB and the total was 66.5.
Houston is averaging 534 yards per game on offense including 350.3 passing yards and 183.7 rushing yards. The Cougars are #11 nationally in total offense and #6 in passing offense. Despite this, Houston is scoring only 31 points a game and is giving up 29.2 points a game. The Cougars are -3 in turnovers and are averaging 60 penalty yards per game. They have allowed 6 sacks this season. The Cougars are 46/112 on third and fourth down conversions and 21/27 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchdowns. On defense, Houston is allowing 468.2 yards per game, including 289 passing yards and 179.2 rushing yards per game. The Cougars have forced 20 sacks this season. Houston opponents are 36/102 on third and fourth down conversions and 22/26 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns.
Houston quarterback David Piland has completed 187 of 309 passes (60.5%) for 2,084 yards with 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 23 carries, for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Charles Sims has 105 carries, 643 carries, and 6 touchdowns, along with 24 carries, 204 yards and a touchdown. Kenneth Farrow has 36 carries, 215 yards and two touchdowns along with 9 catches for 79 yards. Ryan Jackson has 23 carries, 68 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Dewayne Peace has 38 catches, 417 yards and 2 touchdowns. Daniel Spencer has 29 catches, 415 yards and 2 touchdowns. Larry McDuffey has 14 catches, 226 yards and 2 touchdowns. Deontay Greenberry has 22 catches, 222 yards and a touchdown. Receivers Andrew Rodriguez and Isaiah Sweeney are both out indefinitely with injuries.
SMU is 2-4 this season under coach June Jones and 1-1 in Conference USA. The Mustangs have losses at Baylor 59-24, home against Texas A&M 48-3 and TCU 24-16, and last week at Tulane 27-26. The Mustangs have wins at home against Stephen F. Austin 52-0 and at UTEP 17-0. The trip to New Orleans for the Tulane game was the first time SMU had left the state of Texas this season. SMU is 3-3 ATS and the total is 2-3 this season. The Mustangs were 18.5 point favorites in the Tulane game and the total was 48.5.
SMU is averaging 367.8 yards per game including 253.3 passing and 114.5 rushing yards. The Mustangs are being outscored 26.3-23 this season. SMU normally has one of the most explosive offenses in the country under Jones’ run and shoot system, but that hasn’t been the case this season. SMU has 15 turnovers but has forced 16 on defense. The Mustangs have allowed 15 sacks this season. SMU is 36/108 on third and fourth down conversions and 12/19 scoring in the red zone with 5 touchdowns. On defense, the Mustangs are allowing 408.8 yards per game including 288.7 passing and 120.2 rushing yards. SMU is #33 in rush defense, but 114th out of 124 teams against the pass. The Mustangs have forced 8 sacks this season. SMU opponents are 39/108 on third and fourth down conversions and 12/18 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns.
SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert has completed 138/279 passes (49.5%) for 1,393 yards with 7 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has been sacked 14 times this season. Running back Zach Line has 128 carries, 604 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 20 catches for 141 yards. Jeremy Johnson has 37 catches, 371 yards and 2 touchdowns. Der’rikk Thompson has 19 catches, 252 yards and 2 touchdowns. Darius Johnson has 24 catches, 235 yards and a touchdown. Keenan Holmes has 19 catches, 218 yards and a touchdown.
Houston is 4-0 ATS in road games against teams with losing home records, and after allowing 100 rushing yards or less, 7-0 in October, 9-1 in Conference USA games, and after a straight up win, 8-1 after a cover, and after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 4-1 in road games, on fieldturf, and after allowing more than 280 passing yards or more, 10-3 after passing for more than 280 yards, 16-5 against teams with losing records, 11-4 overall, 5-2 after passing for 450 yards or more, and after allowing 20 points or less.
SMU is 8-3 ATS after allowing 100 rushing yards or less, 13-27 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 4-9 overall, 4-11 after gaining more than 450 total yards, and 1-6 in Conference USA games.
Almost everything SMU struggles at is a strength for Houston. The Mustangs are one of the worst teams in the country against the pass, and Houston is a top ten passing team. The leaky Mustang offensive line gives up a lot of sacks, and the Cougars force a lot of sacks. After a terrible start, Houston seems to have found their groove this season. I like the Cougars to continue their winning streaks, both this season and against the Mustangs.
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