Houston vs SMU 2012: Betting odds, preview, trends and pick

Bob Levey - Getty Images

Houston is a road favorite and has won 7 of 8 road games overall. But SMU is getting some betting attention in Vegas, but is the UNDER the best play? It's 7-1 past 8 when the Mustangs are underdogs.

Houston has won the last six meetings with the SMU Mustangs, and they are favored to make it seven Thursday night in college football betting action. But just because the Cougars, who racked up 513 yards of offense in beating the Mustangs 37-7 a year ago, are favored by six at most sportsbooks doesn't mean SMU will be a pushover here.

The Houston Cougars nearly made it to a BCS bowl last year, but they started 0-3 in 2012. But a 2-0 start in Conference USA play has Houston feeling encouraged going into a Thursday night game in Dallas (8 pm ET).

Can the Cougars, who won CUSA's West Division last year, get to 3-0 in CUSA play? Or can the Ponies pull an upset?

Houston is 3-3 overall, but has already played two different seasons. The Cougars opened by losing to upstart Texas State, gave up 56 points in losing to Louisiana Tech, then got blown out by UCLA. But after an off-week Houston won at Rice, beat North Texas and, last week, defeated UAB 39-17.

On the season the Cougars are averaging 534 YPG on offense, 350 YPG through the air and 184 YPG on the ground. On defense the Cougs are allowing 468 YPG, 179 YPG on the ground.

SMU, meanwhile, is 2-4 overall and 1-1 in conference play. The Mustangs opened with a 59-24 loss to Baylor, beat Stephen F. Austin (FCS) 52-0, got toasted by Texas A&M 48-3 and then lost a tough one in the rain to TCU 24-16.

Southern Methodist then began CUSA play with a 17-0 win at UTEP. But last Saturday the Mustangs gave up a touchdown with under a minute to go to lose 27-26 to Tulane, allowing the Green Wave to break a 15-game losing streak. On the season the Mustangs have been outgained, on average, by a 409-368 YPG margin, and outrushed 120-115.

Most CFB books opened this game with Houston favored by four points, the total pegged at 60. But in the early betting the Cougars had been bumped to -6

Free Pick: After a slow start, Houston might be coming around. But we expect a bounce-back performance from SMU. So we take the Mustangs as home dogs Thursday. (courtesy of PickShark.com)

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