College Football Picks: South Florida vs. Houston

Jeff Grant

Monday, October 28, 2013 1:58 PM GMT

The Houston Cougars are perfect against the number this season, but they may get caught looking past the South Florida Bulls Thursday. Where do we believe that the best value lies for our College Football Picks?

Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this American Athletic Conference matchup at Reliant Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Knocked back down

South Florida was feeling pretty good about itself in putting together a two-game winning streak, but it was snapped in suffering a 34-3 blowout defeat to the Louisville Cardinals as 20-point home underdogs last Saturday.

The Bulls have been out-gained by a triple-digit yardage margin in their last four contests, while the UNDER is 3-1 in that span.

First-year head coach Willie Taggart stated after last week’s game that true freshman quarterback Mike White would make his first start in this affair.

Covering the number

Houston is 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS during the 2013 campaign, as it has covered the number by an average of 14.6 points per game.

The Cougars are coming off a visually-impressive 49-14 blowout victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights as 5.5-point road underdogs in Week 9, while winning the statistical battle by 191 yards.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 7-1 SU and 5-3 ATS as favorites of 10.5 to 21 points, with no clear edge in terms of the betting total (4-4 Over/Under).

Quick turnaround

College football handicappers may have a hard time backing the Bulls in this spot, considering their defense was on the field for over 41 minutes last week, but the program was coming off its bye prior to that matchup.

The stop unit did manage to tally season highs of five sacks and 11 tackles for loss against one of the more efficient offenses in the country with a Heisman Trophy candidate under center last week.

Dominating statistics

The Cougars are worthy favorites in this affair, as they lead the nation with 27 forced turnovers—a statistic that can lead to dramatic shifts of momentum over the course of a football game.

Houston is outscoring opponents by a 150-110 margin in the first 30 minutes of play this season, but own a significant 240-46 edge in the second half.

[gameodds]6/241045/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Bulls for their college football picks, as the Cougars may get caught looking ahead to upcoming road games against UCF and Louisville.

College Football Pick:  South Florida Bulls +17