The Houston Cougars are in trouble. Dana Holgorsen’s squad looks pathetic as they stumbled against Tulane’s backup quarterback last week to fall to 2-3.
Hopefully, the Cougars can bounce back against… checks notes… the 4-1 Memphis Tigers?
That’s right. After a Week 1 loss to Mississippi State, the Tigers have won four in a row. However, the schedule has been relatively weak and the Tigers failed to cover in two of the four victories.
This all makes for an interesting spot. Which team has the edge?
Let’s break it down. Read on for our Houston Cougars vs Memphis Tigers Broncos odds, picks, and predictions.
Houston Cougars vs Memphis Tigers Odds
The smart and sharp money is all over Houston. The Cougars opened at +4.5 but have since been bet down to +3. At the time of writing and according to my resources, just 27% of the tickets are on Houston but almost 80% of the handle.
The early indications are that the value is on Houston. But is that really the best angle we can take?
Houston Cougars vs Memphis Tigers Prediction
Houston is in trouble.
The rush defense isn’t there. Derek Parish, one of their best players and one of the players that reside on sack avenue, is hurt for the season. This is a massive blow to a defense already struggling.
The Cougars have the top pass rush unit in the league, still. But the rush defense is abysmal. Texas Tech rushed for 118 yards. Then Kansas rushed for 280. Then Tulane rushed for 90.
All three games were losses.
The Cougars have a half-decent offensive line despite their inexperience, but nobody has taken advantage. Clayton Tune has played up to expectation at times and flailed at other times – he has seven Turnover Worthy Plays to seven Big Time Throws.
It’s tough when your offense only manages 3.9 yards per carry.
But if there’s a team to make a comeback against, it’s these Tigers. Memphis is 4-1 with one of the easiest schedules in the nation. After the bad loss to MSST, they played Navy, Arkansas State, North Texas, and Temple.
This is a big wake-up call for Ryan Silverfield’s team.
The advanced stats aren’t great, either. Memphis ranks outside the top-100 in both Pass Success Rate allowed and Havoc created, thus creating the perfect opportunity for Tune and receiver Tank Dell to cook. Offensively, the Tigers’ offensive line is a mess after losing their only first-team All-AAC lineman last season.
The time to buy Houston is now. We are buying low on the Cougars and selling high on the Tigers.
Besides, SP+ only makes this spread Memphis -1.3. The value is there.
Houston Cougars vs Memphis Tigers Key Matchups
Key Matchup No. 1: Houston’s Front Seven vs Memphis’ Rush Game
Key Matchup No. 2: Houston’s Run Game vs Memphis’ Rush Defense
The Cougars have looked horrific against the run game while also producing very little on the ground themselves.
This is their chance to right the ship.
The Memphis offensive line can’t get it going and they’ve averaged just 3.9 yards per carry this season. Houston can adjust to life without Parish and shut down an underwhelming rush game.
Meanwhile, the Cougars need to see some progress on the ground themselves. They shouldn’t have an issue throwing on Memphis, but the Tigers have a half-decent run defense. Can the Cougars finally create and take some pressure of Tune?