Houston vs San Diego State Las Vegas Bowl Betting Prediction

Posted by Peter Boysen on December 14, 2016 in

The Houston Cougars (9-3) head west to take on the San Diego State Aztecs (10-3) in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday afternoon. The Aztecs won the Mountain West Conference, taking down Wyoming in the title game, 27-24, while Houston settled for third place in the American Athletic Conference’s Western Division, losing three conference games — but also knocking off Louisville and Oklahoma over the course of the season. Take a look at our suggestions for your wager for this game as well as all of the college football betting options in the early bowl season.

Las Vegas Bowl Preview (Saturday, December 17)

When: Saturday, December 17, 2016, 3:30pm ET
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
TV: ABC
Radio: Houston / San Diego State
Live Stream: WatchESPN
NFL Odds: Houston (-3), O/U 54.5

Why should you bet on the Cougars?

Houston has been one of the most dangerous programs this year — but also one of the least consistent, at least on defense. In their regular season finale, they hung 44 points on the road against Memphis — but they gave up 48 in a loss. Quarterback Greg Ward Jr passed for 3,328 yards and ran for 518 more, throwing 22 touchdown passes against nine interceptions, and his favorite receiver is Linell Bonner, who led the team with 1,076 receiving yards. He picked up 235 yards just in that last game against Memphis. Given that the Cougars held Louisville to 10 points and Oklahoma to 23 points, this is a team that can play defense when properly motivated. Given their aspirations at the start of the season, it is likely that they view a bowl pairing with San Diego State as a letdown, so I expect them to come out ready to send a message.

Why should you put your money on the Aztecs?

Donnel Pumphrey drives the bus for the Aztecs on offense this season, as he picked up 2,018 yards on the ground his senior year, picking up 6.1 yards per attempt and scoring 16 touchdowns. Rashaad Perry forms the other part of the backfield tandem, rumbling for 995 yards and 11 touchdowns of his own. The two combined for 227 yards in the team’s win over Wyoming in the MWC title game. The passing game is adequate, as quarterback Christian Chapman threw 19 touchdown passes against just six picks on the season, but this is a team that runs first. The defense has played well against the run but still permitted 21 points per game. Against a team like Houston, which has the potential to score at a video game pace, this defense could get a real stretch. Given that Houston’s head coach, Tom Herman, has already left to take over at the University of Texas, and that the team will have an interim coach (offensive coordinator Major Applewhite will be the new permanent head coach, but defensive coordinator Todd Orlando will lead the team in the bowl game) over them at the Las Vegas Bowl, the team’s motivation will be a major question mark — it could spur them to play really well, or it could push them down as far as effort. Given that the team is traveling to Vegas, there could be a number of other distractions as well — but that’s an issue that both sides face.

Betting Pick and Final Score Prediction

I like what the Cougars bring to this game. Even though the Aztecs won their conference championship, the MWC is not comparable to the majority of Houston’s competition. I predict a final score of Houston 34, San Diego State 20.