Thursday Pick: Tulane Green Wave vs. Houston Cougars Betting Preview
Tulane Green Wave (5-5 SU, 8-2 ATS) vs. Houston Cougars (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 11
Date/Time: Thursday November 15th, 2018. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: TDECU Stadium Houston, T.X.
Point Spread:TUL +10/HOU -10
Over/Under Total: 67
The college gridiron will provide an intriguing matchup this Thursday when the Houston Cougars host the Tulane Green Wave at TDECU Stadium. The Cougars have surprisingly lost their last two games falling to 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS on the season. As a result of the back to back losses, the Cougars are now in a 3-way tie with SMU and Tulane for the American Athletic West Division. Therefore, this Thursday’s showdown with the Green Wave carries some AAC Championship implications or at least could shape who represents the West Division. Currently, the Cougars are listed as 10.5 point favorites as they try to end their two-game losing streak.
Cougars defensive concerns linger into Thursday
The reason Houston’s season has potentially been derailed from a conference championship is because of the continued struggles of the defense. Despite having one of the most potent offenses in college football, Houston has given up 104 points combined in the last two outings. In last week’s 59-49 loss to Temple, Houston’s defense gave up 312 yards on the ground alone. Temple running back Ryquell Armstead rushed for 210 yards and scored 6 touchdowns to propel the Owls to victory in the shootout. For Houston, it was the same story for the 2nd week in a row. Despite big offensive numbers, the Houston defense simply could not get off the field, and that is a concern that will linger into Thursday night’s showdown with Tulane.
Tulane vs. Houston matchup favors scoring
One of the reasons I find this Thursday’s matchup intriguing is because both offenses have the advantage over the opposing defense. Houston’s offense is equipped with a dangerous passing offense behind quarterback D’Eriq King and a strong receiving corps. King reminds me of Drew Brees mainly because of his height at 5’10. However, King emerges from the offensive line with consistent passing and has tallied 35 touchdowns with just 6 picks on the year. Receivers Marquez Stevenson and Keith Corbin have combined for 1,454 yards with 17 touchdowns as the main components to the passing attack. This week Houston gets to take aim at one of the worst pass defenses in the country in Tulane who is giving up 280 yards per game which ranked 120th in the FBS.
However, Houston is not the only offense that will have an advantage in terms of the matchup this Thursday. I spoke about the struggles surrounding this Houston defense earlier specifically their inability to stop the run. The Green Wave have a duo of solid running backs in Darius Bradwell and Corey Dauphine who are both averaging more than 6 yards per touch. The duo has combined for 1,500 yards on the ground with 15 touchdowns. Surely, Tulane’s rushing attack is going to cause problems for this Houston defense if they continue to play at the level we have seen in recent weeks. If that happens, I have to believe that both of these offenses are going to move the football rather easily.
Tulane QB Justin McMillan primed for the spotlight
Another reason I am expecting the scoring to be high this Thursday is because of the change at quarterback for the Green Wave. The previous quarterback Jonathan Banks was largely inefficient, but backup senior quarterback Justin McMillan has come off the bench to provide a spark in recent weeks. In last week’s 28-14 victory over East Carolina, McMillan had his best performance of his career with 372 passing yards with 3 touchdowns and 0 picks. Instead of Tulane’s offense being a one-dimensional running attack, McMillan provided some balance with big throws down the field. If McMillan can provide another strong outing, Tulane’s offense will only be that much better against this Houston defense.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the Green Wave to keep the pressure on the Cougars defense this week. I expect a lot of scoring consider a small play on the over as well. Take Tulane +10