Houston at Baylor Free College Football Pick ATS – 9/19/20

baylor football betting
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The Big 12 had a miserable first week of action and Baylor is hoping not to continue that trend in its first game.

Both Baylor and Houston had their first games cancelled because of COVID-19 issues for their respective opponents. And so, they scheduled this outing for their season openers.

Baylor is a -3 point favorite with a total of 62.5 at betonline and MyBookie.

Baylor Off 11 Wins

The Bears are coming off a surprising 11-win season that resulted in a Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia. While they have some hype going into the new campaign, not many are expecting them to contend at the top of the Big 12 again, mainly because of the roster turnover with minimal starters returning on both sides of the ball.

The best unit should be the offense, mainly because Charlie Brewer returns under center after tossing 21 touchdowns on 8.1 yards per pass last year. Top receiver Denzel Mims is gone, but Tyquan Thornton and R.J. Sneed are both expected to step into bigger roles after each of them had more than 40 catches.

Throw in running backs John Lovett and Trestan Ebner, and this offense may be enough to win this matchup after averaging 33.6 points per game last year. The line has some improvement to do, but it returns a few starters and that should help the offense at least match last year’s levels.

Holgorsen in Year Two

Houston coach Dana Holgorsen may have familiarity with Baylor, but that doesn’t mean his defense will be able to stop Baylor. Even with the majority of their starters back in the squad, they were one of the worst in the country last season, allowing 34 points per game and at least 44 points in three of the final four contests. 

The hope for Houston comes on the offensive side with quarterback Clayton Tune back along with all of the relevant skill players. Tune may not be elite, but he didn’t go into last season as a starter because D’Eriq King was still on the squad.

Even though he produced just 11 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions, he averaged 8.6 yards per pass. Now with a tad more experience, he should be set to lead this offense to improved numbers. That’s because top wideouts Marquez Stevenson and Jeremy Singleton are there, as well as running backs Kyle Porter and Mulbah Car.

While Baylor’s defense was tops in the Big 12 last year, allowing less than 20 points per game, it returns just two of those starters. Throw in new coordinator Ron Roberts who held that job at Louisiana the last couple years and there could be some early issues for this defense.

Baylor comes from the bigger conference, but as seen last week, that doesn’t really matter during a pandemic. Due to an inexperienced defense, Houston could have an edge on that side of the field, the one area Baylor thrived in last season.

The question is what Brewer and the offense can do for the Bears. If they come out controlling the line of scrimmage, that may be enough against Tune and company.

Our Pick

These two teams played each other every year from the mod 70’s thru the mid 90’s. The last time they played was 1995. It was an interesting series because while each team was 50/50 in terms of beating the other during that time, the winner usually won by a large margin.

Had this game been played last season, our model would have had Baylor on top by a score of 38-19. The question we need to answer is, has Baylor regressed enough and has Houston improved enough, to shrink that potential margin?

We think the answer is yes to both of those questions. However, knowing how far that gap has closed is impossible to tell.

Considering the Baylor defense took a huge hit in terms of talent lost, combined with the fact that this Houston offense, even with a new qb, figures to do some damage this year, we’ll call for the upset with Houston, but it’s a weak call.

Houston +3

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