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Houston Cougars vs. BYU Cougars Free Total Pick

Opening Line: BYU -18.5
Over/Under: 55

Time: 9 PM EST Thursday September 11, 2014 on ESPN / WatchESPN

Houston Cougars (1-1) vs. BYU Cougars (2-0)

BYU scored one of the biggest upsets so far this season with a thrashing of Texas on the road last week. They are now ranked in the top 25 and while they are big betting favorites facing Houston they cannot afford a letdown. The BYU offense has been solid in the 2 games they have played with over 510 yards of offense in their season opener and then scoring 41 points on Texas last week.

Houston got over their embarrassing loss in their season opener, where they committed 6 turnovers, and easily beat a weak Grambling State team last week. However, they lost to BYU last season in a shootout and are big road betting underdogs facing them this season.

In their last games BYU beat Texas 41-7 and Houston beat Grambling State 47-0.

On the season Houston is 0-2 ATS with an Over/Under record of 0-2 and BYU is 2-0 ATS with an Over/Under record of 1-1.

This is the first home game for BYU this season as well as Houston’s first road game.

In the win over Texas BYU duel threat QB Taysom Hill had another solid game passing for 181 yards with 99 rushing yards and 3 rushing TD. He has a good WR corps and last season in BYU’s 47-46 win over Houston he passed for a career high 417 yards and rushed for 128 yards. It is key that Houston gets to the BYU QB like they did last season when they sacked Hill 8 times.

Last season in the 1-point win BYU played a sloppy game being penalized for 125 yards and Hill had 3 INT. BYU has had issues with penalties already this season and if they can avoid that and Hill can find his own targets BYU should easily win this game.

Hill and Jamaal Williams, who rushed for 89 yards last week against Texas, are a tough duo to stop on the ground. Houston has to contain these guys and keep them from making big plays in the running game.

John O’Korn had a terrible season opener for Houston throwing 3 picks, but had a solid game against Grambling with 1 TD 0 INT and passing for 200 yards. The one player the BYU secondary has to worry about is WR is big play 6’3” WR Deontay Greenberry, who has played well in the 2 games and is by far the main target for O’Korn. Greenberry has over 200 receiving yards on the season and is averaging over 18 yards per catch.

Houston may run some Wildcats packages out of the backfield with WR Greg Ward and BYU also has to play solid run defense facing a Houston team that has two good RB’s and rushed for 275 yards in the win over Grambling State.

BYU has not started the season 3-0 since 2008.

Betting Trends

Houston is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 road games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall, and they have an Under record of 6-1 in their last 7 games.

BYU is 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 home games, 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games following a S.U. win, and they have an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 games.

Free College Total Pick

Yes Houston put 47 on the board against mistake prone Grambling State last week, but they were a turnover machine in their opener against the Roadrunners managing to put a feeble 7 points on the board. On paper they meet by far the toughest defense so far this season and should not be expected to put up more than low double digits. Their defense hasn’t had to face a Taysom Hill type opponent, but if they can even do a marginal job at controlling his damage this game should stay under my projected total of 55.

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