Houston Cougars (7-4 SU, 6-5 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (8-3 SU, 7-4 ATS)
College Football Week 15
Date and Time: Saturday, December 6, 12:00pm EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium - Cincinnati, OH
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU +6.5/CIN -6.5
Over/Under Total: 54
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Saturday at noon, tune into ESPN to check out an American Conference showdown when the Houston Cougars travel into Paul Brown Stadium to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats. Houston enters with a 7-4 record while Cincy has an 8-3 mark on the season. As for American Conference standings, the Cougars are 5-2 in the conference and in 4th place while the Bearcats are 6-1 in the American Conference and sitting pretty in 2nd place overall. Of course Saturday is full of big time games and conference title showdowns, but I still like this game to be a good competitive contest.
With the better results against the spread, and going 4-1 at home this year, Cincinnati opens up as a 6.5 point fave at home over Houston in Paul Brown Stadium. The total points are set at 54 combined. Against the spread the season, Houston is 6-5 while Cincy sits at 7-4. These conference games are always tricky and it will not be easy for Cincinnati to cover this 6.5 point spread even thought they are at home.
The Houston Cougars are 6.5 point dogs in this game, but I believe they can go into Cincinnati and get this win. Houston is 7-4 on the 2014, but has won five of their last six games and seem to be improving as the season goes on. What is truly interesting is that Houston is not winning games due to their offense like they have in years past, this team has a great defense. The Cougars are ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just under 18 points per game. Offensively, Houston is about as average as they come. What is typically a high powered passing game, is ranked just 82nd in FBS this season. The run game is a little better, but averaging just 175 yards per game on the ground, they are not even in the top 50 nationally. If Houston plans to go into Cincinnati and get this win, they are going to need to get the offense clicking…at least some. The Cougar defense will do the best they can but at some point the offense will need produce as well. If the Houston Cougars can score somewhere in the mid 20s, I think they have a real shot to win and/or cover this spread.
Cincinnati enters this game as the favorite and are sitting at 8-3 overall. A win over Houston would give them seven conference wins and another nine win season. The Bearcats offense has done a good job in 2014. The passing attack led by Gunner Kiel, is ranked 14th in the nation, gaining nearly 300 yards per contest. The run game for Cincy though could use a little work. They are ranked just 71st in FBS and need to do a better job on the ground if they want to cover this 6.5 against Houston. The key to this game for Cincinnati is to get the offense clicking early. Houston can play defense, but I think Gunner Kiel is talented enough to make some plays down field and get his team rolling. If the Bearcats force Houston to play from behind, I like the chances of the Cougars turning the ball over and getting easy scores for Cincinnati. However, if this game stays low scoring, I think it could be a bad day for the home favorite.
This is a truly tough game to predict. I am not too confident of either team, and I could see this game going either way. Typically in football, I like the better defense, but that is mostly an NFL rule. In the college game, I think the offense usually gets the best of the better defense. For that reason alone, and also for the fact that Cincinnati has played so well at home this year, I will go with the Bearcats. I think Cincinnati wins this game 27-20.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK THE UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI TO COVER THE -6.5!