The South Florida Bulls hope their perfect record remains intact after facing the Houston Cougars. Game time is set for 3:45 EST on Saturday, October 28 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Fans can watch the game on ESPNU.

Oddsmakers have the Bulls as 10.5-point favorites. The over/under for the game is 57 points. Click here for a full list of Week 9 betting odds and links to game previews.

Houston vs South Florida Betting Preview & Vegas Game Odds

The no. 17 ranked Bulls continue to be the best team outside the power conferences. However, USF got its first real test last week, escaping with a 34-28 win over Tulane. It was the first time this season the Bulls didn’t win by at least two touchdowns. Nevertheless, South Florida remains undefeated and on a collision course to face fellow undefeated team Central Florida the final week of the regular season.

Houston, meanwhile, is nursing a two-game losing streak and is barely clinging onto hopes of winning the American Conference West division. Last week against Memphis, the Cougars let a 10-point 4th quarter lead slip away in the final minutes, losing the game 42-38. Houston now needs to win at least two of their final four games to reach a bowl game, which is by no means assured at this point.

Free NCAAF Betting Prediction: Over

This is a tough game to pick. The result depends on what team responds better to last week. Can Houston bounce back after blowing a late lead against Memphis? Will South Florida be refocused after nearly blowing a 27-point lead against Tulane? I don’t know the answer to these questions. But I feel comfortable predicting both teams to be on their game offensively, making me lean toward the over.

Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.

South Florida’s offense has been nearly impossible to stop all season. The Bulls are one of the best rushing teams in the country. They have three players who have a chance to reach 1,000 yards rushing on the season, including quarterback Quinton Flowers. 

It’s impossible for opposing teams to focus on stopping just one player because there are so many threats coming out of the backfield. USF can also be a threat throwing the ball downfield. They won’t do it often, but they’ll do it enough to keep defenses honest.

Meanwhile, Houston’s defense has been a disaster lately. They’ve given up over 40 points in each of their last two games. First, they gave up 45 points to Tulsa, a team that loves to run the ball. Then, they gave up 42 points to Memphis, a team with a dynamic passing attack. Those two games don’t inspire a lot of confidence against a USF team that’s averaging 40 points per game. Just an average outing from the Bulls can get more than two-thirds to the total points of 57.

On the other side, the Cougars are also a capable offensive team. Despite the recent losses, quarterback Kyle Postma has started to settle in as the starter after taking the job from Kyle Allen a month into the season. In their last three games, the Cougars are averaging 30 points per game.

Defensively, the Bulls have been inconsistent this season. They’ve held both Temple and Cincinnati to single digits, but they’ve also allowed weak teams like Illinois and East Carolina to put points on the board. I don’t see them being able to keep Houston’s offense out of the end zone, as the Cougars have some talented playmakers that can cause problems for the USF defense.

I was actually quite surprised at how low the total points was for this game. The Bulls can score against anybody, so that’s not a problem. But combined with Houston’s offensive talent and defensive struggles the past couple of weeks, I can envision a shootout that obliterates the over/under of 57 points.