The Vanderbilt Commodores lay three points to the Houston Cougars in this year’s edition of the Compass Bowl, as Vandy makes its third straight bowl appearance under coach James Franklin.
Vandy arrives at Legion Field in Birmingham on an 8-2 against-the-spread run when playing away from home. They face a Houston team that has been turning major profits at the betting window.
Point spread: The Commodores opened as 1.5-point Compass Bowl favorites; the total was 53.5 in mid-December. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 37.7-29.1 Cougars
Why Houston can cover the Compass Bowl spread
The Cougars (8-4) won their first five games of the season with an explosive offense that averaged 39.8 points in those games. In winning seven of its first eight games, Houston averaged 41.1 points per game.
Houston, which has covered 12 of 14 dating back to 2012, is making its eighth trip to the postseason over the past 11 seasons. The Cougars, who are 9-11-1 all-time in bowls, return to the postseason after last year's 30-14 win against then-No. 22 Penn State in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl.
The Cougars covered their last five as an underdog and have cashed out in seven straight games away from home.
Why Vanderbilt can cover the Compass Bowl spread
Vanderbilt, which won seven of its last nine games to close out the campaign, will depend on its defense to slow down Houston's offense. The Commodores will be without the services of quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee.
The Commodores (8-4) aren't used to losing football games as they're 15-4 in their last 19 games dating back to last season.
This is a team that has knocked off Georgia, Florida and Tennessee for the first time in the same season. Coach Franklin is rumored to be in the mix for the Texas head coaching job, according to odds posted this week at Odds Shark, so it remains to be seen whether that emerges as a distraction.
This total is mysteriously low for a rather high-scoring Houston team, which is an indicator the oddsmakers think this one will play low, and we do too. The Compass Bowl betting odds history is littered with recent UNDER bets, as six of the past seven Compass Bowls have played UNDER the total.
This is the second-lowest total of the season involving the Cougars. With Vandy playing an SEC-savvy game, and having to step up its effort on defense, the Cougars will have to match intensity in what will be a grind-it-out game.
Look for a tight game and this one to stay low and UNDER the posted number.
- Six of past seven Compass Bowls played UNDER total
- Vandy won seven of nine SU to end the season
- Houston is 12-2 ATS past 14 games overall dating to 2012