Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST.
HOUSTON +170 over BYU
TDECU Stadium – Houston, TX
Streaming: ON ESPN and also on TSN 1, 3 & 4 in the 3PM Kickoff/Soccer group.
9:30 PM EST. When we first looked at the opening line for this one, our goal was to determine whether the price was an overreaction to BYU having a scare last week as a 34-point favorite, when it edged UTSA 27-20 at home, and/or Houston laying waste to Tulane last Friday before a national audience. Despite the propensity for both to be a factor in the pricing of this contest, we have determined that market perception from last week’s results has not influenced the price on this one.
We’ll now look for other intangibles to try and determine where the value lies and right off the bat, it is noteworthy that BYU is ranked #13 in the country. A ranked team spotting a short price as a road favorite to an unranked opponent is often a club that we like to target because win or lose, we know we’re getting more points than we should be. That doesn’t mean one should always fade ranked teams versus unranked opponents but it’s not a bad place to start every week and then narrow it down from there.
We can break down the X’s and O’s and tell you why Houston can win this game outright, but we are not clairvoyant nor are we in the business of predicting outcomes. What we can do is take a closer look under the hood of both teams and assess the market’s position on both parties.
Prior to last week’s aforementioned win over UTSA, BYU trampled Navy, Troy, and Louisiana Tech by a combined margin of 148-24, working out to an average margin of victory of 41.3 points per game. As a result of its best rendition of a bull in a china shop, Brigham Young was touted by the media to go undefeated and perhaps make a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Some analysts even declared that if utter chaos broke out in the Power 5 Conferences, that maybe, just maybe BYU could steal a College Football Playoff bowl bid. That sentiment will be repeated today, in all pregame previews, as ESPN and all media outlets love to overhype everything, thus fueling the market to chase BYU’s goal of getting there. BYU has played four games but seriously, do we really know how good they are? Remember, they were just a -1 point favorite over Navy and just -14 over Troy the following week so clearly the oddsmakers didn’t trust them when the season kicked off. Four games later against four marshmallows and BYU is priced like they’re Alabama?
Houston comes into this contest with just one game under its belt and the market does not like that. We on the other hand will embrace it because Houston was able to get all the kinks out before playing BYU. A tune-up game, if you will, in a game they turned the ball over five times and still won by 18 points. Houston’s defense played tremendous against Tulane. It’s offense was moving at will. The Cougars of Houston are very likely going to end up ranked higher than the Cougars of BYU when it’s all said and done and we’re the beneficiaries (value wise) of the pandemic turning the college football world on its head. BYU favored in Houston is absolutely wrong and we will therefore play the better team at a ridiculous price straight up.
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HOUSTON +170 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.40)