College Football Picks - Louisville Cardinals vs Houston Cougars - Week 12

Houston Cougars  QB Greg Wards In Action

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 8:46 PM GMT

It’s very rare to see a late season college football non-conference matchup like we’ll see on Thursday night when Houston and Louisville collide. There’s key factors that SBR contributor Ross Benjamin uncovers in this betting preview.

Premier College Football Week 12 Non-Conference Battle

The #6 Louisville Cardinals go on the road to face a dangerous Houston Cougars team on Thursday night. The opening kickoff time is 8:00 PM ET, and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Houston came away with a 34-31 upset win at Louisville a season ago, and did so as a 13.0-point underdog.

The current college football betting odds at BetOnline.com indicates that Louisville is 14.0-point road favorite, and there’s a posted total of 68.5. BetOnline.com is widely considered to be one of the top online betting sites.

 

Strong Home Field and Superb Underdog Resume

The Houston Cougars enter this week riding a 15-game win streak at home. This will be just the 2nd time during that stretch in which they’ve been installed as an underdog. The only other time it occurred was during this year’s season opener against Oklahoma. Houston defeated the Sooners 33-14 on that day as a 13.5-point underdog. As a matter of fact, this will be a first time since that opening game in which Houston will be an underdog at home or on the road. The Cougars are a perfect 4-0 SU&ATS as an underdog under head coach Tom Herman, and there was a double-digit point spread on 3 of those occasions. Furthermore, dating back to 2011, Houston is an unscathed 14-0 ATS its last 14 games as an underdog.

 

Louisville Controls Own Fate

It’s simple for Louisville, win your last 2 games against Houston and Kentucky, then leave it in the college football committee’s hands. They can’t worry about what they can’t control other than the outcomes of those 2 contests. Quite frankly, if they do win both games, it would be extremely difficult for the committee to deny them an opportunity to play for a potential national championship. After all, they’re only defeat came at #5 Clemson by a narrow 6-point margin.

 

Final Analysis and Pick

The best sportsbooks delayed putting out a point spread and total on this contest due to Houston quarterback Greg Ward’s uncertain health status. Ward injured his shoulder during last week’s win at Tulane. Nevertheless, Ward has been listed as probable as of Tuesday (11/15) morning.

My personal power index numbers indicate to me that Louisville should be a 7.5-point favorite over Houston. I’m sure the adjustment on this point spread is more to do with Ward not being deemed 100% healthy, and being one good hit away from being sidelined. Although I’m not calling for an outright upset, I like Houston to stay inside this sizable number, and one of college football week 12 picks will be indicative of that forecast.

 

Free College Football Pick: Houston +14.0Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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