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Cincinnati Eyes Playoff Berth With Win vs Houston

The Cincinnati Bearcats (12-0 SU, 7-5 ATS) are 7-2 SU and 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games against the Houston Cougars (11-1, 7-5). With a win over the Cougars on Saturday in the AAC championship game, the Bearcats could stay perfect and lock up a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Houston Cougars vs Cincinnati Bearcats
  • Date/Time: December 4, 4 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Nippert Stadium
  • TV Coverage: ABC
  • Opening Odds: Cincinnati -10.5 | O/U 55 (Line History)
  • Houston vs Cincinnati Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The betting line on the AAC championship game has remained steady since opening with Cincinnati as a 10.5-point home favorite. The total has moved down to 53.5 points after opening at 55 points. The UNDER is 5-1 in Cincinnati’s last six games.

Houston News & Notes

The Houston Cougars wrapped up their regular season with a 45-17 win as 32.5-point favorites over the Connecticut Huskies. Clayton Tune went 21-for-30 with 301 passing yards, four touchdown passes and no interceptions in the victory. Tune finished the regular season with 3,013 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Half of those eight interceptions came in Houston’s 38-21 season-opening loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders when the junior quarterback had only 174 passing yards. He’s been rock-solid since then, leading the Cougars to an 11-0 SU and 7-4 ATS record over their last 11 games. Saturday night’s road game against the Bearcats will be the toughest test Tune and the Cougars have faced this season by a significant margin.

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Cincinnati News & Notes

Cincinnati cruised to another blowout win in a 35-13 road victory over the East Carolina Pirates on Friday night. The Bearcats wrapped up their regular season with a 12-0 SU and 7-5 ATS record, winning those 12 games by an average margin of 15.9 points.

Desmond Ridder (3,000 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns and eight interceptions) and Jerome Ford (1,055 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns) led the way on offense while the defense finished third in the nation with only 15.8 points allowed per game.

The Bearcats are one win away from making the unthinkable a reality: a team outside of the Power 5 being selected to the College Football Playoff. The path to a playoff spot looked rocky when the Bearcats debuted in the College Football Playoff rankings at No. 6 in Week 10 despite their undefeated record, but the college football landscape has shaken out to give Cincinnati a shot.

How Houston Will Cover

All of the pressure is on Cincinnati in this one, which should allow Houston to play loose. The Cougars had a strong defense this season, allowing only 19.8 points per game. If the defense and Clayton Tune play their best, a close game and a cover are well within reach.

How Cincinnati Will Cover

The Bearcats won their six home games this season by a staggering average of 32.7 points per game. The score shouldn’t get that out of hand against this solid Cougars squad, but Cincinnati’s home-field advantage could spark the team to a double-digit win.

Computer Pick: Houston +10.5

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Shark Bites
  • Houston is 6-0 SU in its last 6 road games.
  • Cincinnati is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 December games.
  • The UNDER is 4-2 in Cincinnati’s last 6 vs Houston.