Houston Cougars vs Texas Tech Red Raiders Odds, Picks, Predictions (9/10/22)

Dana Holgerson came very close to a disappointing Week 1 loss, barely outlasting UTSA in an overtime matchup in San Antonio.

Texas Tech had no problem dismantling Murray State. But how much can we glean from that victory? We know more about Houston than Texas Tech at this point.

But given our knowledge, should Houston be catching a field goal on the road here?

Read on for our Houston Cougars vs Texas Tech Red Raiders odds, picks, and predictions.

Houston Cougars vs Texas Tech Red Raiders

The line hasn’t budged since opening at Texas Tech -3. The Red Raiders have won nine of the last 10 meetings and are 8-2 ATS during that stretch, but this is the most talent Houston has had during the stretch.

The total has dropped a point since open, although I want to take the over in a Texas Tech game.

Let’s investigate this game a little further.

Houston Cougars vs Texas Tech Red Raiders Prediction & Pick

I felt great about Houston entering this season. They returned quarterback Clayton Tune alongside top playmaker Tank Dell and both coordinators. The defensive line – aptly named “Sack Avenue” – was back to cause havoc for opposing quarterbacks.

But none of that panned out in Houston’s Week 1 matchup. Frank Harris played with Houston’s defense, piling up 337 yards through the air and 63 yards on the ground with four scores.

Harris also made some of the most impressive plays I’ve seen in college football.

UTSA piled up a 45% Success Rate overall in the game, while Houston finished at just 34%. Houston’s 33% Success Rate on Standard Downs worries me. The offensive line has work to do, which is expected after returning just two starters and 65 career starts.

I learned nothing from Texas Tech’s Week 1 blowout. Three different quarterbacks played and no running back compiled more than 50 yards. The wide receiver duo of Jerand Bradley and Loic Fouonji could be great, but they only compiled yards against Murray State.

The big story for the Red Raiders is Zach Kittley, who arrives in Lubbock after creating the most explosive offense in college football history at Western Kentucky. But he still doesn’t have an established quarterback and is working with an inexperienced offensive line.

The Red Raiders have to lean on Tahj Brooks, who returns after being the lead back in 2021. He needs to follow Cole Spencer on the left side of the line. Spencer followed Kittley from Western Kentucky and is the most talented offensive lineman on this team.

After seeing how Harris carved up Houston in Week 1, I’m ready to bet the over. The Red Raiders put up a 64% Success Rate on Standard Downs against Murray State, and they should be able to move the ball against a Houston defense that’s exploitable. And if anyone can beat Holgerson, it’s Kittley.

In the meantime, I have absolute faith in the Tune and Dell to shred Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have never been known for their defense, and I don’t expect that to start here.

Houston Cougars vs Texas Tech Red Raiders Key Matchups

Key Matchup No. 1: Zach Kittley vs Dana Holgerson

Holgerson is considered one of college football’s great defensive minds. This Houston defense should be the best in the AAC with their defensive line.

But the Cougars looked exploitable in Week 1 against UTSA.

So, there’s an opening for Texas Tech, and Kittley is one of the brightest young offensive minds in college football. How does Kittley navigate around Sack Avenue with questions at quarterback? Can he sustain early-down success against a much-better defensive opponent?

On the other side, how do we evaluate Holgerson’s defense if Houston struggles again? It’s easy to dismiss the UTSA struggles to Frank Harris, but this would be much harder to explain away.

This game could have implications for both coaches for years to come.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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