Louisiana stays in state for their bowl game when they travel to Shreveport to face Houston in the Independence Bowl.
Houston was the preseason favorite to win the AAC, but struggled all season long and fell well short of expectations with a 7-5 record. The Ragin Cajun only went 6-6 on the season in the first season without Billy Napier as the head coach, but the team will look to go out on top with a win over a talented team in a nearby location.
Here are the odds for the Independence Bowl:
Louisiana vs. Houston Odds, Spread and Total
Louisiana vs. Houston Betting Trends
- Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen is 2-7 against the spread (ATS) in bowl games
- Houston is 1-7 ATS as a favorite this season
- Louisiana is 2-2 ATS as an underdog
- Houston went 6-1-1 to the OVER this season as a favorite
- Louisiana is 1-3 to the UNDER as an underdog this season
Louisiana vs. Houston Prediction and Pick
While Houston has the higher end talent on their side with Nathaniel 'Tank' Dell catching passes from quarterback Clayton Tune, I lean towards the Ragin Cajun side, who has far more motivation and a more than capable defense to limit explosive plays from the Cougars.
Louisiana's defense is top 50 in success rate this season, but also top third in the country in explosive play defense. That's the bread and butter of this Houston offense, which is reliant on big plays with Dell at receiver, who has 103 receptions and 15 touchdowns on 1,354 yards. It's worth noting that Louisiana also has a top 25 pass defense in terms of success rate. While Houston is a capable rushing team, the team loves to push the ball down the field and Louisiana can limit that.
So, how can Louisiana keep up when they have the ball? Houston's defense has been shaky this season, middle of the pack in terms of success rate and yards per play allowed. More importantly, Houston is bottom 10 in terms of penalty yards and has rotuinely underwhelmed as a favorite this season. Not to mention, Holgorsen has been a mess during bowl games over his career.
There is plenty of talent on the Cougars, but they frequently falter when expected to win. Enter Louisiana, who has a solid offensive line and will be playing three hours away from campus in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Ultimately, I don't trust Houston to win with margin, 1-7 ATS as a favorite is a massive red flag, and has a coach that is constantly not interested in coaching in bowl games, 2-7 over his career. So I'll take the local team to stay close and have a chance to win.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.