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Houston vs. Cincinnati 2016 odds: Playoff hopefuls are more than a touchdown favorite

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The Houston Cougars face a difficult road test as betting favorites this Thursday night visiting the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Cougars are 10-5 straight up and 13-1-1 ATS in 15 road games since the start of the 2013 season. The Cougars hope to continue their recent road success facing the Cincinnati Bearcats this Thursday night.

Houston is a 7.5-point road favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. In their last 11 games as a favorite of a touchdown or more on the road, the Cougars are 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS.

With a 33-23 win over Oklahoma in the team's home opener, Houston played its way into the College Football Playoff conversation. Games at home against Louisville and on the road against Memphis loom large at the end of Houston's schedule, but for those to be relevant on the national stage, the Cougars will need a win on Thursday night. The Cougars are 16-1 SU and 11-6 ATS in their last 17 games overall.

In four road trips to Cincinnati since 1998, the Cougars are 0-4 SU and 0-3-1 ATS against the Bearcats per the OddsShark College Football Database. Houston lost to Cincinnati 38-31 in its last trip to Nippert Stadium in 2014.

Betting Line / Total: Houston -7.5 / 64 Points

Trend: Houston is 1-5 SU in its last six games against Cincinnati.

Trend: Houston is 14-1-1 ATS in its last 16 games on the road.

After an underwhelming performance in a 28-7 home win over Tennessee-Martin, the Bearcats offense looked much better in last Saturday's 38-20 road win over the Purdue Boilermakers. The offense, which finished sixth in the nation last season in total yards with 538 per game, will need to be sharp to keep up with this fast-paced Cougars attack.

Cincinnati is 5-0 SU in its last five home games and 11-3-1 ATS in its last 15 games against conference opponents.

Thursday night's total is set at 64 points. The OVER is 6-1 in Cincinnati's last seven games played in the month of September.

After sitting out of Houston's 42-0 win over Lamar last week with a shoulder injury, quarterback Greg Ward Jr. has been cleared to play on Thursday night. Ward held his own against Baker Mayfield in Houston's win over Oklahoma, passing for 321 yards and two touchdowns on a day that he couldn't get much going on the ground.

The duel-threat quarterback should give the Bearcats defense fits if his shoulder injury doesn't slow him down.

Houston Cougars at Cincinnati Bearcats

When: Thursday, September 15, 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Cougars at Bearcats OddsShark Matchup Report