November 17, 2016
Tonight's pick was released yesterday.
Take Houston +14 spread against Louisville for 3% of the bankroll.
This matchup between the Houston Cougars and Louisville Cardinals was one of the more talked about matchups of the season, especially when both teams started the year undefeated. Since then the Louisville Cardinals have one loss (Clemson) while the Houston Cougars, who were expected to (potentially) sweep the board has two losses (Navy & SMU). Despite Houston's inability to secure a spot in the College Football Playoff, they are still a quality team that could pose a real threat to Louisville’s chances and play the role of spoiler instead.
There has been a lot of talk about Louisville's Lamar Jackson this season. He is the unquestioned frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy and has been an absolutely gamechanger for this Cardinals' team. He has ability to shred opposing defense with both his arms and his legs and has done so on numerous occasions, even when opposing defenses knows what he is going to do. It has been extremely difficult to stop Jackson for a full four quarters and Houston will undoubtedly have their hands full tonight. That being said, this Houston defense has been extremely opportunistic and poses an interesting challenge for the Cardinals, especially on the home turf. Two touchdowns seem like a bit much to spot a team that was expected to potentially be one of the 4 in the playoffs at the end of the season.
While Louisville’s Jackson is getting all of the hype, he is not too much different than Houston's Greg Ward Jr. While Ward Jr has been nursing a shoulder injury for much of the season, he is just as dynamic a player as Jackson, both with his arm and legs although he hasn't gotten nearly enough credit or exposure. Ward Jr is to Houston just as Lamar Jackson is to Louisville. This will be a great matchup to watch between two of the top teams in the country.
There is no question that there has been a lot of hype surrounding Louisville all season long. That being said, other than their victory over Florida State, the Cardinals haven't actually done anything overly impressive. They have not played a high level of competition and their matchup with Houston, on the road will arguably be their toughest test since their loss at Clemson. Meanwhile, since Houston was upset by Navy and then once again by SMU, they have seemingly fallen out of favor with the betting public. To many they have looked like a team that was overly hyped and finally fell back to earth. We don't believe that to be the case. This is still the same Houston team that defeated a very good Oklahoma Sooners team earlier this season. They were a team that was ranked exactly where Louisville is now, just a few short weeks ago. IT would be a mistake to count out this Houston team, especially considering they are 7-0 as an underdog the last 3 seasons and an impressive 17-3 SU when playing at home over that same span!
There is no question that the oddsmakers and betting public have been all over Louisville given their ability to put points on the board and the fact that they have blown out their last two opponents, while Houston has failed to cover in 5 straight games! We believe both of those trends end tonight as Houston gives the Cardinals all they can handle. If the same Houston Cougars who started the season 5-0 show up to play, they will have the potential to win this game outright and spoil Louisville’s shot at a potential playoff bid. Even if Houston falls short of the outright victory, we find it hard to believe that they will allow themselves to be blown out at home in front of their fans in this contest. Ward Jr should do enough to keep his team within striking distance. This is simply too many points and we believe they will come into play.
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