This Thursday the No. 6 Houston Cougars (4-0) will host the Connecticut Huskies (2-2). Kickoff is set for 8:00 EST at TDECU Stadium and will be televised on ESPN. Oddsmakers have Houston listed as a massive 27.5-point home favorite. The total for this contest is at 51 points. Click here for Week 5 game previews and betting odds.
Connecticut vs Houston Vegas Betting Preview
The Cougars added to their impressive start to 2016 with a 64-3 win at Texas State on Saturday. Easily covering as a 31-point favorite. Houston is 3-1 ATS on the season.
Connecticut enters off a 24-31 home loss to Syracuse as a 2.5-point favorite. Those that have faded the Huskies early have profited a nice chunk of change. UConn is 0-4 against the spread.
This game has a little extra meaning for Houston. The Cougars lost 17-20 at Connecticut last year as a 10-point favorite. The loss snapped Houston’s perfect 10-0 start to the season.
Free Pick & Point Spread Predictions: Connecticut +27.5
If I’m going to play this game, chances are I’m going to take the points with the Huskies. There’s several factors here that make me believe the value is with Connecticut.
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Even with the massive spread, books know they are going to get a lot of action on this game. The betting public has a hard time not playing these weekday games. Oddsmakers have inflated this line, knowing the public money will be all on the Cougars.
They really have no choice here but to set a high number with the opponent being Connecticut. The Huskies aren’t a popular team and aren’t perceived to be any good. The public would much rather lay the points with a team like Houston than stomach backing the dog. Especially, when that team hasn’t covered a game all season.
While it’s been a rough go for Connecticut against the number, this team could easily be 3-1. The Huskies had a 24-21 lead late in the 4th quarter at Navy, but ended up losing 24-28. They also played well in their loss against Syracuse. They had a 23-19 edge in first downs and controlled the clock for 38 minutes and 30 seconds. The difference in the game being a 22-yard interception for a touchdown late in the 3rd quarter.
I know Houston isn’t going to overlook the Huskies after what happened last year. However, four touchdowns is a big number to be laying in a conference game. At the same time, Connecticut is going to be up for this game. They have a chance to show to play in the national spotlight against a highly ranked team. People also discredit their win over Houston last year, due to Greg Ward Jr. not playing.
Connecticut is holding teams to just 22.5 ppg and only 381 ypg. While not great, defense is one of the strengths of this team. Houston did struggle offensively a couple weeks ago against Cincinnati. The Cougars actually trailed 12-16 in the 4th quarter. Turnovers by the Bearcats late led to a very misleading 40-16 win.
The run defense for Houston has been outstanding of late. They have held each of their last 3 opponents to 33 yards or less. However, they are 0-8 ATS in their last 8 home games after allowing 125 or less rushing yards in 3 straight games.
We also find a solid system in play favoring a fade of the Cougars. Home favorites that are allowing 225 or less total yards in their last 3 games are 9-31 (22%) ATS over the last 5 seasons.