A couple of 12-win teams from a season ago meet up in San Antonio on Saturday afternoon in the week 1 Houston at UTSA matchup. The Cougars lost to Texas Tech in the opener and undefeated Cincinnati in the season finale, but rattled off 11 wins in between and then capped off their year with a 17-13 victory over Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl as -2 point favorites.
Some people might think that UH should be more than a -4.5 favorite in their opener against the Roadrunners, but UTSA is no slouch after a 12-2 campaign in 2021. The team has now amassed 19 wins in two years under coach Jeff Traylor and has a 10-game home win streak.
Hard to Fade Houston Here
Nearly 80% of the betting public are on the Cougars -4.5 and the line still has stayed relatively firm. Although that might suggest that taking a play on Houston is a trap, this team is just too good to automatically fade. The Cougars biggest advantage is their balance, having a top 25 passing offense last season but also the #6 total yard defense allowing 297.4 ypg.
Clayton Tune returns at QB for Houston entering his senior season. Tune threw for 3,546 yards with 30 TDs and 10 INT a year ago and if healthy he will join Case Keenum and Kevin Kolb as the only other 10,000 yard passers in school history.
As great as Tune and the Cougars passing attack was in 2021, there’s reason to believe they could be even better this season. Tune and top receiver Nathaniel Dell (90 rec, 1,329 yards, 12 TDs) seemingly share the same brain on routes and freshman Matthew Golden has been so impressive in camp that he’s already earned a starting spot. UH has also added transfers from USC, Oklahoma, and West Virginia in the offseason so Tune has no shortage of weapons.
UTSA Still Trying to Prove Legitimate
Traylor has 19 wins in his two years at UTSA, the same amount the previous regime had in four seasons. That success has led the Roadrunners heading to the AAC next season, so the week 1 Houston at UTSA matchup is a good primer to see how they stack up against their future conference frontrunner.
Is UTSA getting -4.5 points at home on Saturday a gift? They return 73% of their production from last year where they were 12th in the country scoring 37.8 ppg. Of course a big bulk of that is QB Frank Harris, a dual threat who threw for 3,100+ yards last season with 27 TDs and has over a 1,000 yards and 15 TDs on the ground combined in the last two years.
Harris gets back all three members of his “Bomb Squad” receiving trio as Zakhari Franklin (80 rec, 1,022 yards), Joshua Cephus (71-819), and De’Corian Clark (52-755) combined for 25 TD catches last season and have even bigger goals for 2022.
Free Week 1 Houston at UTSA Betting Pick
This Saturday afternoon contest its looking like it’s shaping up to be the winner is the team to have the ball last. The O/U of 61.5 seems low and this is definitely a Houston fade.