This Friday the Houston Cougars (6-4, 4-3 AAC) will host the Navy Midshipmen (6-4, 4-3 ACC). Kickoff is set for 12:00 EST at TDECU Stadium and will be televised on ESPN.

Oddsmakers currently have the Cougars listed as a 4.5-point home favorite with the total set at 55.5 points. Click here for a full look at our Week 12 betting schedule and for more links to our individual game previews.

Navy vs Houston Betting Odds & Vegas Game Preview

The Midshipmen come into this one off a strong showing in a 17-24 loss at Notre Dame as a 21-point underdog. Navy looked to be in prime position to pull off the upset, as they had a 17-10 lead midway through the 3rd quarter, but the offense stalled and the Irish closed out the game on a 14-0 run.

The Cougars enter off a disappointing effort at Tulane, where they fell 17-20 as a 8-point favorite. Houston did a nice job rallying from a 3-13 halftime deficit to take a 21-17 lead in the 4th quarter, but on the very next drive after taking the lead they gave up a 64-yard touchdown pass that ended up being the difference in the game.

Last year the Midshipmen stunned undefeated and then No. 6 Houston 46-40 as a 16-point home underdog. That win ended up propelling Navy to the American Athletic West title.

Free NCAA Football Predictions & Betting Pick: Houston -4.5

I would lay the points here with the Cougars at home against the Midshipmen. I just think this is a tough spot for Navy after that big game against Notre Dame, where they had the No. 8 team in the country on the ropes. I know they have a week off after this game against Houston, but I also think it will be hard for the Midshipmen to not look ahead to their huge rivalry game against Army, which means a little more than normal after last year’s loss to the Black Knights.

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As for Houston, I look for a big bounce back effort here after laying an egg on the road against Tulane last week. The Cougars will also be out for revenge, plus have a little extra motivation here with this being their final home game of the season, which means senior day.

The big key here is I believe Houston has the talent up front to really cause problems for Navy’s triple-option attack and it all starts with star sophomore defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who has helped guide the Cougars to the 39th ranked rushing attack, giving up just 142.7 yards/game. Note that last week they held Tulane, who is currently 22nd in the country at 237 rushing yards/game to just 166 yards on 47 attempts (only 3.5 yards/carry).

If they can keep the Midshipmen from running at will, it’s going to keep Navy from controlling the clock and let Houston’s offense pick apart a weak Navy defense. If the Cougars can get their offense going early, this could turn into a bit of a blowout, as the Midshipmen aren’t built to play from behind.