It’s an all-Texas affair in the Texas Kickoff Classic, as the Texas Tech Red Raiders will take on the Houston Cougars at NRG Stadium. Oregon transfer QB Tyler Shough will make his debut for the Red Raiders, who are one-point underdogs given the latest college football odds.
|Game: Texas Tech (0-0) at Houston (0-0)
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
In 32 total meetings, the Cougars lead the series 18-13-1. Meanwhile, Texas Tech has won seven of the last eight meetings between these teams. The Red Raiders bludgeoned Houston in 2018, winning a 63-49 shootout. Houston last defeated Texas Tech in 2009, 29-28 by the skin of its teeth. This could potentially become a regular meeting as Houston is reportedly being considered for Big 12 expansion.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Next game: vs Stephen F. Austin
The Red Raiders bowl game drought extended to four seasons in 2020. In head coach Matt Wells’s second season, Texas Tech went 4-6 overall and 3-6 in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders couldn’t get anything going away from Lubbock and compiled an 0-4 record and 2-2 ATS record on the road. Texas Tech underperformed its college football spreads with a 4-6 ATS record on the year.
While the offense was merely average, defense was a huge concern in 2020 and could be once again. Tech allowed 37.1 points per game, one of the bottom-20 figures in the country.
QB Alan Bowman entered the transfer portal following the conclusion of the season but leading rusher SaRodorick Thompson is back. Thompson totaled 610 yards on 109 carries and averaged an impressive 5.6 yards per carry but is nursing an injury.
RB SaRodorick Thompson, game-time decision.
Next game: at Rice.
Houston wasn’t terrible in 2020 but was just 3-5 in Dana Holgorsen’s second season. The Cougars certainly weren’t a good pick for betting online, also compiling a 3-5 ATS record.
Blown out by superior opponents BYU, UCF, and Cincinnati, Holgorsen will have to go back to the drawing board to secure his first winning season in 2021. Houston has suffered back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 2001-02
QB Clayton Tune never got into much of a rhythm due to COVID cancellations and struggled with accuracy, throwing ten interceptions. Despite the turnover woes, the Cougars had a functional offense, averaging 30 points per game. Houston also hovered around average on defense, but could do with more consistency in 2021.
Betting on the Game
The moneyline has stayed relatively consistent and Houston has an implied 54.5% probability of coming away with a victory. The teams that Texas Tech beat last year had a combined 9-23 record, so it’s easy to see why bettors are hesitant to trust the Red Raiders.
However, Shough could be a huge difference-maker. The Oregon transfer finished with 1559 yards, 13 TDs and six picks as he helped the Ducks win the Pac-12 title. With Thompson’s status for the game in question, though, it’s hard to recommend betting on Tech.
Houston has been consistently below average for the past couple of seasons. While it may help the Cougars to play in their hometown, they’re certainly not a lock to win.
Texas Tech is 4-1 in its last five games vs Houston, including 3-2 ATS. However, both teams have wildly underperformed expectations in recent seasons.
Texas Tech has just a 4-8 ATS record in its last 12 games while Houston is 1-4 ATS in its last five games. The spread has moved from Houston -3 to Houston -1 despite Thompson’s injury.
The latter certainly appears to be a fairer line, as Texas Tech has brought in a bunch of transfers to bolster its squad. Even without Thompson, Texas Tech has a good shot to cover and win.
The total in the online sportsbook has remained relatively constant since the line opened. Neither defense is particularly strong which could mean another shootout like the last meeting.
Shough flashed his lofty potential last season at Oregon and he could take the Red Raiders to the next level on offense. However, Texas Tech also gave up 50 points three times last season and received a scare in 2020’s opener vs Houston Baptist. Texas Tech entered the game as the whopping 40-point favorite but narrowly won vs the FCS squad, 35-33.
Plus, the Red Raiders allowed opponents to gain 427.7 yards against them last season. Houston was markedly better on defense and returns most of its key players on that side of the ball. It’s a high total, but Tune and Shough could put on a show and put a lot of points on the board for their respective teams.