Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#143 Houston 60 vs.
#144 Baylor -4
Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 12:00pm EDT
Written by Adam Rauzino

The Baylor Bears host the Houston Cougars in their season opener Saturday afternoon from McLane Stadium. The Cougars are looking to build on last season’s 4-8 record and are confident they will yield better results in 2020. The Bears will need a spectacular season to top last years’ terrific 11-3 finish which included an 8-1 mark in the BIG 12. Can Baylor’s potent offense lead to the cover on Saturday?

(this game has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns on Baylor)

Cougars Attempt to Build on Four Win Season

The Houston Cougars are looking for progress this season. They are coming off a tough rebuilding season that led to a 4-8 record including a 2-6 record in AAC action. The Cougars expect a big season from #1 QB Clayton Tune. The junior QB displayed potential last season, throwing for 1533 yards with 11 TD’s although he did toss nine picks. He did not play the full season and should easily surpass last year’s passing yard total.

The running game should be solid. Kyle Porter led the team with 616 rushing yards on an average of 4.7 yards per attempt in 2019 and should build on those numbers. Watch for Marquez Stevenson. The talented senior WR registered 907 receiving yards last season and should be able to reach the 1000 yard mark as he continues to build chemistry with Tune.

The Cougars' defense was their downfall last season. They have an influx of new players via transfers that should definitely help, especially in the secondary. Houston was one of the worst teams against the pass last year. Linebacker Grant Stuard who led the team with 92 tackles is back in the mix.

Houston was selected to finish 7th in the AAC preseason media poll. They averaged a solid 30.7 points in 2019, ranking them 51st overall. The Cougars allowed an average of 34 points, pegging them 113th in the FBS.

Baylor Lands New Coach, QB Brewer Poised for Big Season

The Baylor Bears are glad to finally return to action. They had their season opener against L.A. Tech postponed and negotiated a date with Houston to finally return to action. The Bears are very optimistic and for good reason. New head coach Dave Aranda is fresh off a National Championship with LSU as the defensive coordinator.

Baylor features a terrific offense propelled by Charlie Brewer. The senior QB was among the best in the BIG 12 last season and finished with 3161 passing yards and a dazzling 21:7 TD to INT ratio. The running game is also a threat as 2019 rushing leader John Lovett is back after posting 655 yards. The senior could eclipse 1000 yards this season. Baylor lost last year’s receiving leader Denzel Mims to the NFL but have RJ Sneed ready fill the void. The junior made 42 receptions for 437 yards last year.

The Baylor defense will need to be revamped after losing several starters. Baylor’s defense was elite last season and the result of their season could depend on how effectively the defense adapts. They return Terrel Bernard who led the team in tackles with 112 accompanied by 4.5 sacks.

Baylor was selected to finish 5th in the Big 12 preseason media poll. They averaged 37.5 points last year, good for 27th in the FBS. The Bears held opponents to 19.8 points, placing them 19th overall.

Best Bets for this Game

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Full-Game Side Bet

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I expect a dominating win from Baylor. This spread is a gift in my opinion with an experienced offense up against a poor defensive Houston team that went 4-8 in 2019. The Cougars were one of the worst defensive teams in the entire FBS last season. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer is going to feast on this defense. The senior QB accumulated over 3000 passing yards in 2019 and Houston ranked down at 124th in the FBS against the pass last year.

Furthermore, the Cougars are expected to be a below-average team in the AAC and the offense is decent but I don’t think it will be enough to keep this one within reach. Baylor was one of the best defensive teams in the country last season and while they lost a fair amount of players, they still return last year’s tackling leader.

Prediction: Baylor Bears -7.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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I expect this total to go over. The Bears offense is going to clobber the Cougars which should lead to a high scoring clash. Houston allowed an average of 34 points last season and not only does Baylor have a potent QB in Brewer, they also feature last season’s rushing leader in John Lovett. The over is 6-2 in the Bears’ last eight non-conference games.

In addition, the Cougars' offense is their top attribute. They won’t pile on the points, however, they return their top rusher and receiver from 2019. Baylor lost some key defensive players as well. The over is 10-2-1 in the Cougars’ last 13 road games as an underdog.

Prediction: Over 63

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The Baylor offense is going to put up a big number. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer posted a 10:0 TD to INT ratio in his three games against non-conference opponents last season. The Cougars' defense was consistently exploited last year. They surrendered over 40 points in three out of their last four games of the season.

Prediction: Baylor Team Total Over 35

Half-Time Total Bet

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The under on the first half total is worth a look as well. The Bears defense was the best in the entire FBS in the first half last season. They limited opponents to only 5.8 points in the first half. Baylor also didn’t score a lot in the first half in 2019, ranking 76th with an average of 13.7 points.

Prediction: Under 30.5
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.