NCAA Football

Free Picks: Houston vs. Pittsburgh Gambling Lines & Handicapping Preview


Two teams; zero head coaches. That’s the storyline for the Armed Forces Bowl when the Houston Cougars and the Pittsburgh Panthers meet on Friday night. Both coaches have jobs else where in the 2015 season and will not be on the sidelines for the bowl matchup.

NCAA Football Odds

Houston Cougars (7-5) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6)
Friday, Jan. 2
12:00 PM ET
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, Texas)
NCAA Football Betting Lines: Pittsburgh -2
NCAA Football O/U: 53
***2014 CFB BONUSES***
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Click here to view… ATS Stats & Expert NCAA Betting Prediction Insight!

That being said, Houston and Pittsburgh are excited to take part in a post season bowl game and will both be looking to finish off an inconsistent season with a win.


On December 8th, Houston informed former Head Coach Tony Levine that he would not be the coach any longer of the Houston Cougars. Levine was 21-17 overall as the head man in Houston, but failed to ever really have a standout season throughout his tenure with the Cougars. Defensive Coordinator, David Gibbs, will get the nod to lead the Cougars in their post season bowl.

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Houston’s offensive numbers won’t impress many. The Cougars had the 70th best passing offense in the nation with 226.6 yards. They had the 49th best rushing attack with 181.5 yards a game. With a somewhat balanced offense, the Cougars scored just over 4 touchdowns a game with 29.3 points per contest (62nd).

Sophomore QB Greg Ward Jr. took control of the Houston offense on October 2nd in the teams game against Central Florida. Ward Jr. threw for 1736 yards with 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Turning the ball over was the achilles heel for Ward Jr. throughout the entire 2014 season.

Houston relied on their defense to get themselves to 7 wins this season. The Cougars defense allowed just 19.5 points a game (12th).

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The Cougar defense allowed just 335.4 yards per game defensively.


After starting the season off 3-0, Pittsburgh fell into a trend of sloppy football and struggled to gain any consistency on offense or defense. The Panthers dropped 6 of their next 7 games, but recovered to win their 2 final games and clinch a post season berth. Head Coach Paul Chryst announced he was leaving Pittsburgh to take the head coaching job with the Wisconsin Badgers.

Pittsburgh tends to have success when RB James Conner is running on all cylinders. Conner had 1675 yards rushing to go along with 24 touchdowns. Conner really got it going down the stretch, scoring 15 of 24 touchdowns over the Panthers final 6 games. All but 1 of those games were multi touchdown games for Conner.

With the exception of the games against Georgia Tech and Duke, the Panthers defense was the high point of the 2014 season. Ranking 53rd overall in points against (25.6), Pittsburgh allowed just one game of 40 points.

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All of the others saw Pittsburgh allow under 25 points.

NCAA Football Handicapping Trends:

  • Cougars are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games.
  • Cougars are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
  • Panthers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win.
  • Panthers are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a S.U. win.

Free 4* NCAA Football Pick: Pittsburgh -2

Expect a low scoring, battle in the trenches in this game. Both teams will look to establish a run game and try to control the clock throughout the entire game.

Pittsburgh 21, Houston 14

In the end, Pittsburgh will use the motivation of their head coach leaving to light the fire underneath them and finish the season over the .500 mark.

Check out our Updated College Football Bowl Game Odds.

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By Tony M

Tony is new to Cappers Picks and has been betting on sports since the first day he turned 18. He is a 22 year old Cleveland native who lives and breathes Indians baseball. His dream is to be part of a championship celebration at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.