Texas Tech Red Raiders (0-0) vs. Houston Cougars (0-0)
September 4, 2021 7:00 pm EDT
The Line: Houston Cougars +1.5 / Texas Tech Red Raiders -1.5; Over/Under: 69.5
(Click here for latest betting odds)
The Texas Tech Red Raiders meet the Houston Cougars in college football action from NRG Stadium in Houston in week 1 college football action on Saturday night.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders will look to rebound in 2021 from a disappointing 2020 campaign that saw the Red Raiders finish at 4-6. The Red Raiders have a new face under center with Tyler Shough coming in as a transfer from Oregon, as he led the Ducks to a Pac-12 title last year and is one of the more highly-touted QBs in the country. SaRodorick Thompson is back after leading the Red Raiders with 610 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last season while Xavier White and Tahj Brooks will compliment Thompson in Texas Tech’s backfield. Eric Uzekanma is back and is likely to be Slough’s favorite target after leading Texas Tech with 46 catches and six touchdowns last season while also bringing back speed threat Myles Price as a secondary volume option. Defensively, Texas Tech wasn’t great last year, but a ton of experience is returning with the super senior season in effect after the pandemic last season. 11 of the top 13 tacklers are back including Colin Schooler, Krishon Merriweather and Riko Jeffers at linebacker while Eric Monroe is back and Marquis Waters transfers in from Duke to bolster Texas Tech’s secondary. As a team, Texas Tech averaged 29.1 PPG while allowing 36.7 PPG last season.
The Houston Cougars will be trying to bounce back in 2021 after a frustrating 2020 season where the Cougars went just 3-5, with all three wins coming when the Cougars scored at least 37 points, while going 0-5 when scoring less than 37. Clayton Tune is back at QB for the Cougars after throwing for 2,048 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 INTs last season. There are options at running back for the Cougars, with Ta’Zawn Henry in after sitting out last season and Alton McCaskill who could be the starter right from the word go for Houston. The receiving corps took a bit of a hit, but leading receiver Nathanial Dell is returning after picking up 29 catches for 428 yards and 3 TDs last season while KeSean Carter ironically transfers in from Texas Tech, Seth Green transfers in from Minnesota and Jaylen Erwin from UCLA to play for Dana Holgorsen this season. Defensively, the group returns 11 starters that helped Houston finish second in the AAC in sacks and fourth in total defense. David Anenih returns after logging 4.5 sacks and 6.5 TFLs last season while Derek Parish is back along side after finishing behind Anenih in third in both sacks and TFLs last season. Donavan Mutin is back after nursing injuries in 2020 following a 61-tackle 2019 season, but the secondary for Houston boasts four of the top five tacklers from last year’s team. As a team, Houston averaged 30 PPG while allowing 32 PPG last season.
Texas Tech is 1-4-1 in their last 6 games in September and 4-8 ATS in their last 12 games overall while the under is 8-1 in their last 9 games as a favorite. Houston is 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games on Saturday and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 Saturday home games.
This is a hard game to call in my opinion, as the addition of Slough definitely helps Texas Tech, but the Red Raiders still aren’t a good defensive bunch. On the other hand we’ve yet to see Houston really break out under Dana Holgorsen and while it could happen this season, it’s a matter of having to see it to really believe it. Instead, I’m going to side with the over as I’m expected a track meet here and a game where both teams could end up scoring into the 40s.