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Houston vs Penn State in Ticket City Bowl battle

Penn State Nittany LionsHouston Cougars
Jan 2, 12:00 PM | Grass of Cotton Bowl

Penn State Nittany Lions vs Houston Cougars Odds

9-3TEAM RECORD12-1

The Houston Cougars nearly ran the table in 2011, losing the C-USA title game in an upset and they hit the TicketCity Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions as favorites against the marquee school.

Of course, Penn State was shaken this year by the sex scandal involving Jerry Sandusky and they look to shake off a terrible 1-9 SU mark in their last 10 bowl appearances. [ Ticket City Bowl odds preview and wagering trends article ]

Case Keenum threw for more than 5,000 yards and 45 TDs this year in Houston, so the OVER 56.5 looks tempting.

The Cougars sport records of 12-1 and 10-3 ATS heading into this matchup, while the Nittany Lions sit at 9-3 and 3-8-1 ATS on the season. The over under records are 8-5 for the Cougars and 2-8-1 for the Nittany Lions.

View Penn State vs Houston Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Several shops tracked by OddsShark set the Ticket City Bowl point spread at 7 in favor of Houston. NCAA football bettors had to wait for the opening over under value, which settled at 56.5, which could be great value on the high-scoring Cougars.

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How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Houston's No. 1-ranked offense (50.8 PPG) against a Nittany Lions defense that ranks No. 5 at 15.7 PPG. The Cougars passing attack has averaged 443.8 yards per game, more than the Nittany Lions give up through the air (162.2 YPG on average).

In comparing defenses, the Nittany Lions own the league's No. 36-rated front 7 in terms of stopping the run, allowing 142 yards per game when on the road. Houston, on the other hand, rates No. 82 this week in generating rushing yards at home.

Last time out for Penn State, they were a 45-7 loser as they battled Wisconsin on the road. Penn State failed to cover in the match as a 17-point underdog, while 52 combined points moved the game OVER for totals bettors.

Last time out for Houston, they were a 49-28 loser as they battled Southern Miss at home. Houston failed to cover in the match as a 12.5-point favorite, while 77 combined points moved the game OVER for totals bettors.

Penn State Nittany Lions Trends:
When playing in January are 6-4
When playing on grass are 7-3
After being outgained are 7-3
When an underdog on the road are 1-9

Houston Cougars Trends:
When playing on grass are 6-4
After being outgained are 6-4
When favored at home are 8-2
When playing outside the conference are 6-4

A few Nittany Lions at Cougars trends to consider:
Penn State is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Penn State's last 11 games
Penn State is 3-10-1 ATS in its last 14 games
Houston is 12-1 SU in its last 13 games