Tulsa-Houston: Oliver, Cougars to Dominate AAC Thursday Game

Sunday, September 30, 2018 9:51 PM UTC

Sunday, Sep. 30, 2018 9:51 PM UTC

We return to the American Athletic Conference this Thursday night on ESPN as Tulsa visits Houston in the conference opener for the Cougars.

Matthew's 2018 NCAAF ATS Record: 6-5

Tulsa (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) at Houston (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)Thursday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free NCAAF Pick: CougarsBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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It’s almost like ESPN doesn’t want to go up against the Thursday night NFL game this year because the Thursday NCAA package has been rather weak. Bit of a meh matchup this week, too, as Tulsa visits Houston in American Athletic Conference action.

These schools have a decent history as they first played in 1973. They both were then in Conference USA for a while, with their last meeting as C-USA members in 2012. They have played each of the past four years as West Division foes in the AAC. Houston leads the all-time series 23-19 but had a three-game winning streak snapped last year in a 45-17 blowout in Tulsa.

That was surprising not because UH was all that good, but Tulsa won just two games all year and the other was over Louisiana. The Golden Hurricane gashed the Cougars for 288 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 53 carries. They attempted only 18 passes. Houston had 404 yards of offense but turned it over three times. An interception led to a short touchdown run, and Tulsa's Petera Wilson Jr. recovered a Kyle Postma fumble and returned it three yards for a late touchdown.

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ICYMI: Take a look back at highlights from Houston's 70-14 win over Texas Southern to improve to 3-1. #HTownTakeover #4verCoogs #3rdWard #GoCoogs @TamiGirl10 & Mike (@ 3 - 8 seconds mark @Parkenberger and future NFL 1st round pick #EdOliver_10). Congratulations on #89 TD catch. pic.twitter.com/eflau9gj89

— Coog Nation (@CoogNation247) September 23, 2018
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Oliver Worth Watching

There’s definitely one good reason to watch this game if you don’t otherwise care: Houston junior All-American defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who very well could be the top overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. In fact, BetOnline recently had a prop on who goes No. 1 next April, and Oliver was the -150 favorite ahead of Ohio State’s Joey Bosa (+275), Oregon QB Justin Herbert (+750) and any other player (+175). Bosa is hurt so he has fallen back a bit.

Oliver, who deserves an invite to New York as a Heisman favorite, has 27 tackles and five tackles for loss with seven quarterback hurries. He doesn’t have a sack yet, but the guy is triple-teamed at times. He’s the next Aaron Donald.

Houston is capable of winning the AAC West (although it visits both Navy and Memphis), with its only loss coming in a shootout at a pretty good Texas Tech team. The Cougars already routed Pac-12 school Arizona and come off a 70-14 destruction of Texas Southern on Sept. 22. UH had a school-record 671 yards of offense, and it leads the nation with four consecutive games of with at least 550 yards. D’Eriq King is lighting it up with 1,197 yards passing and 15 TDs. He also has rushed for five scores.

If you followed my advice on Sept. 20, you cashed in as I recommended Temple -6.5 over visiting Tulsa. The Owls prevailed 31-17. The Golden Hurricane outgained the Owls 403-300 and held the ball for nearly 37 minutes but turned it over five times – which led to 17 Temple points. Luke Skipper threw for just 195 yards on 41 attempts and was picked three times. He was also sacked six times.

Tulsa has given the ball away 13 times this year, resulting in 55 points for opponents. In going 2-10 last year, the Golden Hurricane had 13 total turnovers resulting in 50 points for opponents.

  • Golden Hurricane are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 conference games.
  • Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.

The Cougars win by three touchdowns, so take Houston for a Thursday NCAAF pick even though Tulsa has covered its past four visits there.

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