South Florida Bulls (2-5 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Houston Cougars (6-1 SU, 7-0 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date and Time: Thursday, October 31,, 2013, 7:00 pm EST
Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: USF +17/HOU -17
Over/Under Total: 53.5
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The Houston Cougars are one of the surprise teams in all
of college football this season, and this week the Cougars are hoping the
South Florida Bulls dont crash the party and smash their
Jack-o-Lanterns in a special Halloween Night primetime matchup in Reliant
Stadium on ESPN.
The Cougars are 6-1 this season, but bettors are starting to notice the Cougs because of their perfect 7-0 ATS record so far, including an impressive, 49-14, demolishing of Rutgers on the road last week as 5.5-point underdogs. The Houston haters will criticize the early season schedule, but with Central Florida, Louisville and Cincinnati still waiting ahead, no one can blame the Cougars if they bask a little during their fifteen minutes of fame in primetime on Thursday night.
South Florida already played the role of spoiler earlier this season beating Cincinnati at home in early October, but the Bulls were not able to duplicate the same luck last weekend and were drilled by Louisville at home, 34-3.
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Even though both teams are coming off of a short week to prepare, the Bulls could hold an advantage since they dont play again until November 16th. Houston gets to host the national television crew and show off the facilities, but with huge road showdown games against UCF (Nov. 9th) and Louisville (Nov. 16th), this is a classic look-ahead spot to lay an egg if there ever was one.
With the Cougars coming off of a blowout, and the Bulls off the opposite end of a blowout, oddsmakers were forced to open the game with Houston as a season-high 15.5-point favorite in Reliant. The short-minded public has been all over the Cougars so heavy with early money, that the number is all the way up to minus -17.5 at most sportsbooks.
The over/under total is 53.5.
Houstons offense is becoming known as a high-powered passing attack, and this years no different with the plug-in of freshman John OKorn at quarterback. OKorn has nearly 1,900 yards already, a 19-to-4 touchdown to interception ratio and is hitting on 63 percent of his throw to lead the Cougars to the 17th-ranked passing offense in the land (325 ypg). South Florida gives up a lot of big plays and allows over 30 points a game, so little resistance is expected out of the Bulls defense on the road.
South Florida lost starting quarterback Bobby Eveld to an ankle injury last week, and Steven Bench was ineffective as his replacement. But the Bulls were 123rd in offense to begin with, so theres really nowhere to go but up for the Bulls with or without Eveld at QB.
Historically the Bulls have won both of the previous meetings between these two schools, including the last time they traveled to Houston in 2002, 32-14.
But South Florida is also historically terrible on Thursday night, going 0-9 ATS in the games played earlier in the week.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: A week ago I would have thought this point spread was way too high, and it still is, but I have to admit Ive lost some of my love for the Bulls after last weeks steamer at home. I still think the Cougars get caught a little here reading their own headlines and looking ahead to UCF and Louisville, this is as classic a look-ahead spot as Ive ever seen. My head is screaming no dont do it, but my gut is telling me to take South Florida plus the 17.5 points here.
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