This Saturday the North Texas Mean Green (2-2) will host the Houston Cougars (1-3). Kickoff for this in-state rivalry is set for 8:00 EST at Apogee Stadium and will be available to watch on Facebook Live.

This line has moved quite a bit due to the news of Houston’s star quarterback D’Eriq King and senior wideout Keith Corbin stating that they will sitout the rest of the season to red-shirt. The Cougars opened up at -2.5 and now it’s North Texas -7 and even -7.5 at some places. The total for this matchup is 58.5.

Click here for a full look at the Week 5 college football odds and for more links to our game previews.

Vegas Betting Odds & Game Preview: Houston vs North Texas

Houston Cougars

When Dana Holgorsen decided to leave West Virginia to become the new head coach at Houston, it’s easy to see why expectations were high going into the 2019 season. Four games in and boy have things changed.

Houston is sitting at 1-3 and while two of the losses were excusable at Oklahoma and at home to Washington State, last week’s 31-24 loss at Tulane hurt a lot. The Cougars had a 28-7 lead less than 5 minutes into the 2nd quarter. After blowing the lead they drove down with less than 30 seconds to play to tie it up at 31-31 only to let Tulane go 71 yards in 2 plays to win in regulation.

North Texas Mean Green

The Mean Green come into this one off a 45-3 win at home over UTSA to open up C-USA play. It was a much needed win for North Texas, as they had lost back-to-back games at SMU (27-49) and at California (17-23). Considering Cal is now 4-0 and ranked No. 15, while SMU is 4-0 and off a win at TCU, those are looking like two solid losses.

Mean Green have covered easy in each of their last two. They were a 14-point dog in a 6-point loss at Cal and a mere 18-point favorite in their 42-point win at UTSA.

Matchup History

This will be the first meeting between these two Texas schools since 2012, which Houston won 44-21 as a 9.5-point favorite. Cougars have won 4 straight in the series. North Texas’ last win over Houston was in 1975.

Free NCAA Football Betting Pick & Predictions: North Texas -7

My early lean here would be lay the 7-points with North Texas at home. I was considering playing the Mean Green here as a home dog when this line first came out and while I’m now forced to lay a touchdown with North Texas I think they cover the line here rather easily.

Click on the link forĀ  more free NCAAF picks from our experts on staff.

It’s one thing to lose one of your best players to injury. It’s another to have two of your top players decide to just quit on their teammates because things aren’t going as well as they had hoped. For senior quarterback D’Eriq King and senior wideout Keith Corbin to pass on the final 8 games because they started out 1-3, is just not right. They are abusing the new rule where you can redshirt if you play 4 or fewer games.

With a defense that is not very good, I don’t know how the Cougars stay competitive the rest of the way without King under center. King is everything to Houston’s offense. He’s thrown for 663 yards and 6 touchdowns and leads the team in rushing with 312 yards and 6 scores. You go from a guy who was getting Heisman consideration to a guy with no experience.

They got a PAR rating that they do, which is a points above replacement value for players. King had the 4th best mark in the country at 18 points above replacement.

I just don’t see Houston’s offense being able to keep pace here with a potent North Texas offense that is led by one of the better quarterbacks you probably haven’t heard of in Mason Fine. Fine should have no problem here guiding the Mean Green offense against a Houston defense that is giving up 300 yards/game and 9.3 yards/pass attempt on the season.

The other big thing is I don’t see North Texas treating this game any differently because King isn’t playing. Mean Green haven’t won a game against Houston since 1975. North Texas head coach Seth Litrell already has 9 wins over in-state rivals in the 3+ years he’s been with the program. I think the Mean Green win and win big. Give me North Texas -7!