Houston at South Florida
Saturday, 12:45 pm PT - ESPNU
CRIS Opener: South Florida -10 O/U 57.5
CRIS Current: South Florida -11 O/U 56.5
Recommendation: South Florida
Houston has taken a major step back during the post Tom Herman/Greg Ward Jr. era. Major Applewhite is in his first season as head coach and the Cougars are a underachieving 4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS through seven games. One of the biggest issues has been mediocre quarterback play from the duo of Kyle Allen and Kyle Postma. And once thought to be a strength, the defense has been ripped apart in each of the last two weeks giving up 40+ points in consecutive games to Tulsa and Memphis. The Cougars were able to knock off Arizona prior to the return of Khalil Tate, they beat lowly Rice, notched a 7-point win against Temple but failed to cover and were able to take down SMU by double-digits despite being outgained by 81 yards. They also failed to come up with a key stop last week against Memphis as the Tigers came from behind and stole one on the road. Houston is now on a 1-4 ATS slide and facing without question its toughest opponent to date.
South Florida is 7-0 with its eye on reaching the postseason playoffs. They boast an explosive offense that has scored 41.6 ppg thanks to the talented trio of QB Quinton Flowers, RB Darius Tice and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Houston had a tough time stopping Memphis last week and could be without a key contributor with LB Matthew Adams, who is second on the team with 57 tackles, questionable due to an ankle injury. On paper, the Bulls should be able to march the ball up and down the field. There is some question about USF’s strength of schedule. Despite Houston being “down”, this is the most talented team the Bulls have faced. But you can’t control who you play and last week’s wake-up call (nearly blew a 34-7 lead vs. Tulane) should have this team fully focused for an opponent that has one of the better reputations in the AAC. Lay the points with the home side.