Houston Cougars vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Predictions, Odds, Picks

Oct. 1, 2021
Stuart Durst
VI Football Betting Expert

Another week of college football in the books! It's Week 5 and we’re starting to see a lot more important matches every week. This is a pretty interesting conference game, as the Houston Cougars started the season with a tough loss to Texas Tech but since has had three very easy wins against Rice, Navy, and Grambling.

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane has had a couple tough matchups which includes Oklahoma State and Ohio State, but also lost to UC-Davis - which is not a great sign. These two teams first played in 1950 and have been churning out close games ever since, so it should be an entertaining game. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN.

Score Prediction: Tulsa 26, Houston 24

Best Bet: Houston +5

Houston Cougars vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Predictions

It's hard to get a great read on this Houston team. They are currently a 3-1 team that opened as 4-point underdogs against a 1-3 Tulsa squad. While the line might surprise a lot of people, Houston hasn't faced many tough opponents yet. This will be one of their first real tests since Week 1 against the Red Raiders.

Tulsa had a good defense last season, but hasn't been impressive in 2021. It's important to remember those performances were against top teams like Ohio State and Oklahoma State. Texas Tech was expected to come out as an explosive offense this year but hasn't been practically scary. Their defense has performed above expectation, although we might be able to credit that to an easier strength of schedule.

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Houston Cougars vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Betting Odds

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Tulsa opened as 4.5 favorites and are still between 4 and 4.5 on most books. They have struggled so far this season but the sportsbooks are giving them plenty of respect.

The total is set around 54.5 on most sportsbooks and we can expect it to stay around there on most books. Neither of these teams offenses’ has jumped off the page yet but we can expect the divisional matchup to bring out the best in each.

Houston Cougars vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Betting Resources

  • Matchup: AAC
  • Date: Friday, October 1, 2021
  • Venue: Chapman Stadium
  • Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • TV-Time: ESPN - 7:30 p.m. ET

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Houston Cougars Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 3-1
  • ATS: 2-2
  • O/U: 2-2
  • ATS - Home: 1-2
  • ATS - Away: 1-0

Handicapping Houston is really hard, as they haven't had a lot of real competition. In my Week 1 VegasInsider article I picked against them with Texas Tech and it turned out great. Since then, they’ve only really had layup opponents so it's hard to gauge how good they actually are.

Quarterback Clayton Tune has a similar stat line to Tulsa's QB. While Tune has significantly less passing yards at only 729, his interception-to-touchdown ratio is 5:5. He hasn't had the upgrade a lot of people thought he would during the offseason, but he's been solid. I don't think he possesses that much upside, but he also won't sink this team offensively.

I'm expecting Houston to do their best to control time of possession and win the turnover game. I'm not confident they are able to win this game outright, but should be close enough to cover the 4.5 number.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 1-3
  • ATS: 2-2
  • O/U: 3-1
  • ATS - Home: 0-2
  • ATS - Away: 2-0

The good news for Tulsa fans is that the Golden Hurricane have played in a lot of close games this season. They lost to Oklahoma State that was only decided by five points, same with Ohio State, and they were only down by six at the half. These aren't great results for box score watchers, but its important context to have.

Quarterback Davis Brin has been a bit inconsistent so far. He's thrown for an impressive 1,209 yards so far this season, but that also comes with a 5:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Keeping the interceptions to a minimum will be key in this game. Houston has put up some good defensive games recently and they need to win the turnover differential.

Overall being 4.5 favorites does seem a little weird to me here. Tulsa isn't as bad as their record may seem, but this game should probably be a pick 'em. We may be seeing some Tulsa-respect from last season, but I'll take Houston in this matchup.

The Houston Cougars have won five of their last six games when facing the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Houston Cougars

  • Record: 3-1
  • VI Ranking: 65
  • Points Scored: 138
  • Points Allowed: 65
  • PS/G: 34.5 (42nd)
  • PA/G: 16.2 (23rd)

Inside the Stats - Tulsa Golden Hurricane

  • Record: 1-3
  • VI Ranking: 102
  • Points Scored: 101
  • Points Allowed: 122
  • PS/G: 25.2 (95th)
  • PA/G: 30.5 (103rd)

Key Players to Watch

  • UH: Clayton Tune - QB (75/105, 729 yards, 5 TD, 5 INT)
  • UH: Nathaniel Dell - WR (25 catches, 342 yards, 3 TD)
  • TULS: Davis Brin - QB (82/134, 1,208 yards, 5 TD, 5 INT)
  • TULS: Josh Johnson - WR (23 catches, 317 yards, TD)


  • UH: Sedrick Williams - DL (Ankle-Out)
  • UH: Mulbah Carr - RB (Knee-Questionable)
  • UH: James Fullbright III - RB (Knee-Out)
  • TULS: Deneric Prince - RB (Undisclosed-Probable)

Houston Cougars vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Betting Conclusion

Handicapping this game is hard, as both teams come in with very opposite circumstances. I think +4.5 is just too large of a spread regardless who is the favorite, so I'll wager on the numbers not my personal biases. Tulsa may consider this a must win-game, and I think they can actually win this outright. Covering the spread is a whole different ball game however, so Ill take the points when they give them to me in a game that is closer to an EVEN line.

Houston Cougars vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Betting Trends

  • Tulsa has seen the underdog cover the spread in nine of its last 10 home games.
  • Houston has gone UNDER the point total in four of its last six games.
  • Houston has failed to cover the spread in five of its last seven games when playing in Tulsa.