NCAA Football Betting Lines: UTEP Miners vs. Houston Cougars
(1-0, 0-1 ATS)
(1-0, 0-1 ATS)
Last season, the BCS hopes for the Houston Cougars disappeared on the back of a bad loss to the UTEP Miners. This year, they’ll look for some revenge, as these two teams duke it out in a nationally televised college football betting shootout in the Lone Star State.
Only beating Arkansas Pine Bluff 31-10 last week was nothing for the Miners to really be proud of. The only thing that they could possibly hang their hat on is the fact that RB Donald Buckram, who ran wild in this series last year, didn’t play. Buckram is listed as questionable with a knee injury for the date with the Cougs on Friday, and if he doesn’t play, UTEP will be hard pressed to find a victory. The depth is there at running back, but though RB Joseph Banyard (19 carries, 94 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Vernon Frazier (6 carries, 89 yards, 2 TDs) both put up solid games last week, the Golden Lions don’t nearly pose the same sort of threat that the Cougars do. Houston will force UTEP to score and score quite often in order to come away with yet another huge upset in Conference USA play. QB Trevor Vittatoe had a fantastic game against Houston’s porous defense last year, but his start to the season was mediocre at best, as he went 17-of-27 for 229 yards with no scores and an INT against Arkansas Pine Bluff.
We really haven’t learned a lot about the Cougars yet this season, as we already knew that their offense was great and their defense stunk. Both were accentuated last week in a 68-28 win over Texas State. QB Case Keenum might have thrown five TD passes, but he didn’t exactly make the strongest Heisman Trophy case in the world in Week 1. Keenum only threw for 274 yards and did toss a pair of INTs against a team that otherwise would have had no shot of stopping this offense. Last year, the Miners racked up over 500 yards of offense on this Houston defense, and this could be a similar situation again in 2010, especially if Texas State’s 345 yards and 11-for-20 on third downs is an indicator. Someone has to step up for the Houston defense, or it will have to win games by scoring 50+ points all season long, and though Keenum is capable of doing that, inevitably, if he has a down game or makes a mistake or two, the Cougars are going to be in a lot of trouble.
These two teams have only met in Houston twice before, with the hosts winning 42-37 in 2008 and 34-17 in 2006. UTEP has now covered the spread in three straight in this series, and we can’t help but wonder if it will become four on Friday night. This defense just scares the you know what out of us for Houston, as we know that the Miners, with or without Buckram, are probably putting 400+ yards on the board. The backdoor could be left wide open for a 24 point game to become a cover in the dying moments. There are too many possibilities that could happen to lay this type of chalk.
Selection: UTEP Miners +20
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