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The Houston Cougars have struggled to find any level of consistency this season, having dropped seven out of their first 10 games played. The Cougars are coming off a disappointing loss at home against the Memphis Tigers.
Meanwhile, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane have stumbled to much of the same fate this season, dropping seven out of their first 10 games. However, the Golden Hurricane were able to upset the UCF Knights at home last Saturday.
All of this sets up the chance for these teams to grab late-season momentum.
Cougars plagued by defensive woesIt has been a frustrating season for the Cougars that has seen them fall well below the .500 mark on the year, due to their lack of consistency on the field with a large chunk of that coming from their play defensively this season. They have been one of the least efficient teams in the nation, giving up 32.8 points per contest along with 467.6 total offensive yards, including 297.3 passing yards per game. Their lack of fluidity on that end of the ball has continued to put them in a tough spot offensively that has led to them dropping four out of their last five contests. It also comes to no surprise that the Cougars have given up at least 38 points in each of those losses over the last few weeks.
Houston's defensive inefficiencies will flare up once again against the Golden Hurricane, which will set the stage for a higher-scoring affair on Saturday night. It will put more pressure on their offense to keep pace, which has struggled to do so much of this year. That will need junior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson to be a factor in the passing game as he has tallied 41 receptions for a team-best 755 receiving yards and seven touchdowns this season. His play has been huge providing the Cougars with much-needed firepower on that side of the ball. Ultimately, if Houston hopes to pull out a road win, they will need their defense to buckle down.
Tulsa's struggled tied to offensive shortcomingsLike the Cougars, the Golden Hurricane have had their own share of equal struggles that have put them at a 3-7 mark heading into Saturday's contest. Tulsa has also had plenty of issues flare up with their defense as well giving up 32.8 points per contest along with allowing 412.3 total offensive yards, including an abysmal 201.5 rushing yards per game. They haven't been able to stop any opposing team's offense this season as they have also given up north of 38 points in three out of their last four losses that have come in convincing fashion. Their defensive issues should also set the stage for it being a higher-scoring affair on Saturday.
Meanwhile, what has been more concerning is that the team has struggled to put up consistent production, averaging just 25.4 points per game that have been a big part of their shortcomings. They were able to take a step in the right direction last week by grabbing the upset win over the Knights, but they have been extremely unreliable this season in putting points up on the board. In two of their last four losses, they have failed to crack 20 points scored that speak to their struggles. The team has had some strong play from junior running back Shamari Brooks, who has 822 rushing yards and six touchdowns, but there hasn't been much outside of that has given much reason for optimism that the Golden Hurricane will turn it around offensively. If they hope to edge the Cougars, they will need their offense to step it up at home.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Tulsa is 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games against a team with a losing road record.
- Tulsa is 3-8 ATS against a team with a losing record.
- Tulsa is 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games following an ATS win.
- Houston is 10-3 ATS in their last 13 road games against a team with a losing home record.
- Houston is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following an ATS loss.
- Houston is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
These two teams have had plenty of struggles this year, but it's hard to trust Tulsa more on the offensive end of the spectrum. Their utter lack of offensive stability will put them at a disadvantage aginst a more stable team in Houston, who are averaging nearly 400 total offensive yards game. It will be a shootout, but the Cougars hold the edge.
Prediction: Houston +2.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Although Tulsa has had their issues offensively this season, this is a game that should see plenty of scoring from both sides as each team has struggled defensively. They have each allowed for opposing offenses to roll through them and that will be the case once again. Expect scoring, scoring, and more scoring.
Prediction: Over 60