Arizona vs. Houston - 9/9/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Houston Cougars (0-0) at Arizona Wildcats (1-0)
College Football: Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 10:30 pm (Arizona Stadium)
The Line: Arizona Wildcats +2.5 -- Over/Under: 65.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: ESPN U
The Houston Cougars will travel to Arizona Stadium to take on the Arizona Wildcats this Saturday night in College Football action.
The Houston Cougars will kick of their 2017 season after their 1st game against the UT-San Antonio Road Runners due to Hurricane Harvey. Houston started last season out with a bang, upsetting 3rd raked Oklahoma in their season opener, however, the Cougars struggled down the stretch and finished the season with a 9-4 record which included a 34-10 loss in the Las Vegas Bowl against San Diego State. Houston will look like a different team this season after Head Coach Tom Herman left for Texas and duel threat QB Greg Ward Jr. graduated, but 1st year head coach Major Applewhite still has talent on both ends of the ball to make Houston a contendor in the AAC. Leading the way at the QB position for Houston will be former Texas A&M standout Kyle Allen, who sat out last year due to the NCAA transfer rules. Allen has a lot of returning talent at the WR position led by Linell Bonner (8.2 rec/g, 93.2 yds/g, 3 TD), Steven Dunbar (4.1 rec/g, 67.9 yds/g, 5 TD). Houston’s backfield will be led by RB Duke Catalon who finished last season with 4 rushing TD’s while averaging 58.7 yds/g. Catalon is also a receiving threat out of the backfield after finishing last season catching 3 TD’s while averaging 31.2 receiving yards per game. Defensively, Houston was one of the best defensives in the country, holding teams to an average of just 23.5 ppg, and with DT Ed Oliver back on the defensive line, the Cougars look poised to have another solid defensive year.
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The Arizona Wildcats opened up their 2017 season with a bang after defeating the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, 62-24, this past Saturday. Arizona had no issues scoring the football and easily pulled away for the victory after taking a 34-14 lead at halftime. Arizona outgained Northern Arizona by a 595-562 margin and won the turnover battle by a 3-0 margin. The Wildcats were outstanding on the ground as they had 7 players that rushed for at least 40 yards and had a combined 7 TD’s and 506 rushing yards. Arizona had a difficult 2016 season and averaged just 24.8 ppg however, with duel-threat QB Brandon Dawkins returning, along with RB duo Zack Green and Nick Wilson, the Wildcats look like they will have a run-heavy offense that could be tough to stop. For Arizona to have any success this season, the Wildcats will need to find some answers for a defense that allowed their opponents to average 30.5 ppg last season. The Wildcats strength on the defensive end will be on it’s defensive line, however, the Wildcats have to still be a bit concerned with their defensive performance in the opener as although they held Northern Arizona to just 24 points, they did allow the Lumberjacks to gain 562 total yards (377 passing; 185 rushing).
The Cougars are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games in September and 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games on grass. The Wildcats are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games and just 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
Houston lost some major pieces from a team that has made some major noise over the past few season, however, the Cougars have a bunch of talent returning and with Kyle Allen starting at QB, shouldn’t see that much of a dropoff on the offensive end. Arizona has a great running game, but from what I can see, that’s about all they can hang their hat on which will cause problems once their Pac-12 schedule begins. Houston has one of the best rushing defenses last season in all of College Football and as I think the Cougars defense will be able to at least slow down the Wildcats in this one, I think Houston offense does enough to cover this small spread. Take Houston to cover.