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College Football Betting Preview: Houston Cougars vs. Rice Owls

September 9, 2023

The Houston Cougars (1-0) and Rice Owls (0-1) battle in their second games of the season and look to improve. Can the Cougars cover the spread or will the Owls take over at home?

  • Date: September 9, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET

  • Location: Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas

  • Coverage: NFL NET

Houston Cougars Betting Preview

The Cougars barely came away with a 17-14 victory against the UTSA Roadrunners. They had a 17-7 lead going into the fourth quarter, but gave up another touchdown and nearly another.

They had a solid game offensively, as they put up 334 total yards and 233 passing yards. They gave up, however, 417 total yards and it was split down the middle between rushing and passing. This cannot happen again, as they will put themselves in a bad position to win.

They finished 8-5 in the American Athletic Conference last season. They have a good chance to achieve a similar record, assuming their defense performs better.

In addition to last year’s performances, they averaged 36.08 points per game and their opponents averaged 32.15. Again, their defense will be a pivotal part of their success this year.

Rice Owls Betting Preview

The Owls took on the 11th ranked Texas Longhorns for their opener of the season. This resulted in a 37-10 defeat, which seemed close at halftime when the Longhorns led 16-3.

They managed to gain 176 yards in total offense, predominantly relying on their passing game for 148 of those yards. On the defensive front, they yielded 458 total yards, with 300 of them stemming from their opponent's passing game. It is expected that their performance will improve in this matchup against a less formidable opponent than the Longhorns.

The Owls wrapped up the previous season with a 5-8 record in the Conference USA, and they are determined to surpass that performance. Their home games showcased their strengths, which could work to their advantage this time around.

Last season, their average score was 25.23 points per game, while they conceded an average of 34.15 points to their opponents. While the chance for improvement exists, they might lack some essential resources to accomplish this task.

Game Odds, Series Trends and Free Pick

The most recent odds update from MyBookie indicates that the Houston Cougars have a slight edge to cover in this matchup. Based on market analysis, their chances of doing so stand at 68.7 percent.

  • Rice Owls +9.5 (-110)

  • Houston Cougars -9.5 (-110)

The Owls had a tough matchup in their opener, while the Cougars had a close encounter with their victory. This will be a closer game, with Rice actually putting up some points. The Cougars are more likely to win and potentially cover the spread by two touchdowns.

Final Pick: Take the Houston Cougars -9.5 (-110)