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The Houston Cougars will travel north to play the University of Memphis Tigers in a primetime AAC showdown. Will Houston avoid overtime? Handicapper Matt MacKay is here to make his predictions.
ANALYSIS

Memphis vs. Houston Prediction, Pick, Odds: Can Memphis' Defense Stop Clayton Tune and Houston?

Memphis is off to a hot start under third-year head coach Ryan Silverfield. The Tigers are scoring 34.4. points per game, ranking 45th in the nation. Its defense needs some work though, as it's surrendering 26.2 points per game to rank in the bottom half of the 131 FBS football programs. Playing at home will help, as Memphis is 3-0 straight up in front of its fans.

Dana Holgorsen spent close to a decade at West Virginia, leading the Mountaineers to a couple of big Bowl victories. He's since relocated to Houston, where the Cougars have experienced plenty of ups and downs. In 2021, Holgorsen led Houston to its best season during his four-year tenure, going 12-2 and finishing inside the AP top 20 with an impressive 17-13 win over Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl.

The Cougars have been largely unsuccessful in overtime to begin 2022, going 1-2 in extra time against its opponents. Can quarterback Clayton Tune and the rushing attack hang enough points against a vulnerable Memphis defense? Here are our picks, predictions, and odds for Friday's game between the Houston Cougars vs. Memphis Tigers.

Memphis vs. Houston START TIME AND WHERE TO WATCH

Date: Friday, October 7

Game time: 7:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN2

Memphis vs. Houston ODDS

Spread: Houston +3 (-110), Memphis -3 (-110)

Total: Under 57 (-115), Over 57 (-105)

Moneyline: Houston (+125), Memphis (-145)

Click Here for Memphis vs. Houston Odds

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Memphis vs. Houston INJURY REPORT

HOUSTON

DB Art Green (DTD - Undisclosed), DB Gervarrius Owens (DTD - Undisclosed), WR Joseph Manjack IV (DTD - Hand)

MEMPHIS

DB Julian Barnett (DTD - Undisclosed), OL Jonah Gambill (DTD - Undisclosed), OL Austin Myers (DTD - Undisclosed)

Memphis vs. Houston PREDICTION

Memphis has arguably one of the deepest running back committees in college football. Four players have at least 25 carries or more, while collectively scoring 11 touchdowns on the ground through its first five games. Brandon Thomas and Seth Henigan are the top choices, each handling 54 carries. Wideout Caden Prieskorn leads the Tigers in receptions (18) and touchdowns (five). Sophomore quarterback Seth Henigan is playing well, posting a 9:1 touchdown to interception ratio with a 63.3 percent completion rate.

Houston's defense is not great, which could present problems for the Cougars throughout the matchup. The pass defense is allowing 2.4 touchdowns per game while getting gashed on the ground with 135.6 rushing yards on average. Its offense has not been bad but it will need to bring its A-game against Memphis' pass defense, which is allowing 2.2 passing touchdowns and nearly 300 yards per game. Houston's offense is led by Clayton Thune, who also has nine touchdown passes this season, but three interceptions have proven costly. Top wideout Nathaniel Dell is the clear-cut favorite target for Thune, so expect Memphis to scheme up coverages to take Dell out of the game plan.

The rushing attack will be the deciding factor in this matchup. Memphis has a stable of backs who are averaging 2.2 touchdowns per game, compared to Houston's 1.4 per game. Memphis is also slightly better with its passing defense, which means Thune could be in for a long night on the road. Houston's defense has allowed at least 27 points per game this season. It's not a good situation facing a dual-threat roster like Memphis, who can beat teams on the ground with fresh legs or through the air with solid quarterback play.

Houston did win 31-13 at home in late November last season, so expect Silverfield to have the Tigers prepared for revenge at home with all cylinders firing. Memphis has only covered once in three games at home this year, while Houston is 1-1 ATS while on the road. Two of Houston's losses came in overtime, but Memphis has been on fire since a 49-23 loss to Mississippi State in Week 1. Memphis has won four consecutive games by at least ten points or more, including a 24-3 rout of Temple last week, which is another AAC opponent. Take the Tigers to cover the spread as three-point favorites at home with momentum and revenge on their side.

Memphis vs. Houston PICK

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Article Author

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Matt is an avid writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys analyzing the game within the game which is fantasy sports and sports betting. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his wife and three pets. He likes to read, listen to podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the sports betting industry.

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