College Football Picks: Southern Methodist vs. Houston

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:22 PM GMT

The Houston Cougars host the SMU Mustangs clash on Friday at Reliant Stadium. Where does the best value lie for our sports picks?

According to college football betting odds Houston is a 9.5-point favorite. The home team has covered 4 of the last 5 meetings between these two teams.

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Bowl Eligibility on the Line

After getting off to a 1-4 start to the season the SMU Mustangs have won 4 of their last 5, and have given themselves a chance to become eligible for a bowl game. Their two remaining games at Houston this week, and hosting nationally ranked Central Florida next week, certainly doesn’t make attaining that all important 6th win an easy task. Compounding the task at hand is the fact that their starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert went down with a knee injury in their previous game versus South Florida. All the senior signal-caller has done this season is throw for 3528 yards, 21 touchdowns, just 7 interceptions, and completed 66.5% of his pass attempts. He’s also rushed for 267 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Mustangs will most likely go with redshirt freshmen Nate Burcham in place of Gilbert. Burcham is 13-23 this season for 122 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The good news for SMU is they will be facing a Houston defense which is 96th nationally in total defense allowing 431 yards per game, and 117th versus the pass.

Fine Line between Winning and Losing

The Houston Cougars were off to a terrific 7-1 start until enduring a recent 3-game losing streak. When examining the Cougars season, with a bit of luck they could easily be 10-1 or 11-0. Their four losses were all by 7 points or less, and by just 20-points total. In addition the 4 losses came to opponents with a cumulative 35-8 record this season. This is a much better football team than their record indicates. A real positive for the Cougars has been the play of true freshmen quarterback John O’Korn. The youngster has started all 11-games this season throwing for 2644 yards, 24 touchdowns, and just 6 interceptions.

Make sure to check out SBRs:

College Football Picks: Week 14 Betting Odds Report

Final Analysis

SMU will definitely be affected by the loss of their starting quarterback. Both of these defenses are suspect and vulnerable. However, the Houston offense led by O’Korn will be more likely to expose the opposing defense with all considered. I have a small lean toward the home favorite for my college football picks.

College Football Pick: Houston -9.5 over SMU