Dana Holgorsen welcomes a familiar program to town in the West Virginia at Houston betting matchup. The current Cougars head coach was at the helm in Blacksburg from 2011-2018 before resigning in 2019 to take the UH gig. Is Thursday’s game a revenge game – and if so for who?
WVU fans will likely say good riddance to Holgorsen, as his replacement Neal Brown has been off to his best start in 2023 at 4-1 and undefeated in the Big 12. The Cougars meanwhile have dropped three of four, yet are only +2.5 underdogs in this initial meeting between the two schools.
Why West Virginia Has Value at -2.5
The Mountaineers definitely have the momentum advantage between Thursday’s two combatants, coming into TDECU Stadium with four straight wins. The last two have come as underdogs, 20-13 vs. Texas Tech (+6.5) and 24-21 at TCU (+13.5) – two squads that Houston has lost to 49-28 and 36-13 this year respectively.
The Cougars defense has allowed 36+ points in three of their last four (O/U 49.5), including 49 in their last game against Texas Tech who compiled 239 yards on the ground. The running game just happens to be WVU’s strength heading into the West Virginia at Houston betting matchup as their 191.8 ypg is 31st in the nation led by C.J. Donaldson (348 yards, 4 TDs).
Houston has a solid passing attack (281.0 ypg) but defense is the Mountaineers’ calling card. West Virginia is 30th in the nation allowing just 19.0 ppg, and they had held three straight opponents to 17 points or less before giving up 21 in the win at TCU. That game vs. the Horned Frogs was also two weeks ago, so the short week shouldn’t be a problem as both teams are coming off the bye.
Why Houston Has Value at +2.5
Home underdogs in conference play is the first thing you look at in this matchup. The Cougars are 2-3 on the year, but two of those losses came on the road. They’ve beaten UTSA and Sam Houston State at home this year, and should benefit from last week’s bye.
West Virginia has a good defense, but Houston QB Donovan Smith threw for 336 yards and 4 TDs in the loss to Texas Tech. Smith has led the Cougars to the country’s #26 passing attack at 281.0 ypg.
If the Houston offense can get going, West Virginia cannot hang with them in a shootout. Granted it will be hard to get into a high scoring affair against the WVU defense, but the Mountaineers have almost no passing game at just 155.6 ypg which ranks 123rd. The Cougars defense needs to step up after the bye considering they allow 242.2 ypg through the air.
Free Week 7 West Virginia at Houston Betting Pick
68% of the betting public like West Virginia on the road in this one, but this game has a weird feeling to it as the Cougars seem like they should be 5-6 point underdogs the way they’ve been playing over the past month. The Mountaineers defense is tough, but it’s their offense that lets them down in this one.
Free Pick: Houston +2.5