College Football Pick: Rutgers -7 over Houston

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, October 25, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

The Houston Cougars come off of their first loss of the season and they could now easily suffer their second straight defeat as they visit Rutgers on Saturday.

The home favorite could actually be undervalued vs. a high-powered offense Saturday afternoon when the Houston Cougars (5-1, 3-0 away) pay a visit to those Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-2, 3-0 home) at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, NJ at 12:00 Noon ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNews.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Rutgers as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -7 with odds of -102.

Rutgers has certainly had ample time to prepare for this Houston offense as the Scarlett Knight have been off over two full weeks not playing since a competitive 24-10 loss to Louisville on Thursday, October 10th! The Knights have done the best job this year of shutting down Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville offense with those 24 points representing a season-low for the Cardinals, so they will not be intimidated by this Houston attack.

The betting public apparently disagrees as this line has been bet down from an opener of Rutgers -9, as people will almost always be partial to high-scoring offenses compared to more disciplined teams that play some defense like Rutgers, and bettors are also no doubt enthralled by the Cougars’ last game, ironically in their first loss of the season.

That is because Houston went out of conference from AAC play last week to face the BYU Cougars, a team that has played as well as any team in the country over the past four games and that is threatening to crack the national rankings, and the Cougars went toe-to-toe before suffering a wild 47-46 loss.

However, a closer look reveals that Houston scored on a kickoff return, an interception return and a safety, and even more alarmingly the Cougars only put up eight points in the second half after building a 38-34 halftime lead with the aforementioned help from the defense and special teams.

While it is true that Houston is ranked 25th in the country in total offense at 477.7 points per game and 15th in scoring with 40.8 points, keep in mind that the Cougars have faced a schedule ranked just 109th in SOS. Also, Houston is 2-0 in AAC play, but in those two wins vs. the Temple Owls and Memphis Tigers, two teams that are a combined 2-11 for the season, the Cougars scored only 22 points vs. Temple and 25 vs. Memphis!

In other words, the Houston offense has dominated weaker defenses but wilted a bit when the going got tough, and Rutgers showed what it can do defensively vs. Bridgewater & Co. in its last game over two weeks ago. And that is not to mention Rutgers is 5-2 with a couple of “good” losses, as besides playing what was then an undefeated Louisville team tough on the road, the other Scarlet Knights loss was by one point in overtime on the road at 15th ranked Fresno State.

Furthermore Rutgers is 3-0 at home including a nice come-from-behind win over Arkansas out of the SEC, and the Scarlet Knight defense allowed just 11.3 points and 263.0 total yards per game in those three home wins, including only 197.0 passing yards on 6.2 yards per pass attempt, which is really all that matters vs. the Houston offense.

Look for the Cougars to struggle offensively here more than they have in any other game this season to this point, and for Rutgers to win this game by enough to cover the touchdown spread on Saturday.

[gameodds]6/247532/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

College Football Pick: Rutgers -7 (-102)