We have a classic case of one team being overrated and overvalued in the market place taking on a team that is being underrated and undervalued in the market place.
Let's first start with Houston. When it comes the Cougars, the first thing that probably comes to mind is Houston crushing Oklahoma in last year's season opener and doing the same vs Louisville in November. The reality is this is a team that was 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games and was an underachiever in 2016. This year's team has a new head coach in Major Applewhite who did coach the team in the blowout loss to San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl. There could be some growing pains early as last year's head coach Tom Herman was a superstar. The Cougars must also replace one of the best players in school history in QB Greg Ward, Jr but do bring in a Texas A&M transfer in Kyle Allen at QB (former 5-star).
On the other side we have a UTSA team that I expect will continue to get better in Frank Wilson's second season as head coach. UTSA was a big disappointment in both 2014 and 2015 (combined 9-15 ATS) and they struggled early on in 2016. However, the Roadrunners finished the season on a 5-1 ATS run and actually beat the spread by an average of 8.5 ppg in 2016, the 3rd best mark in the FBS. This year's team has 14 returning starters and there will not be an intimidation factor here. Keep in mind, UTSA last year nearly beat Arizona State outright as 3-TD underdogs losing by only 4 and then only lost to Texas A&M by 13. In addition to that the Roadrunners pulled a pair of outright upsets as 2-TD plus underdogs.
As far as my power ratings go, I have Houston around 12 points better than UTSA on a neutral field and when you factor in the 3-point home edge for what should be a loud Alamo Dome, this line should be closer to 10, not 14.5. Add it all up and there is some early value in Week 1 CFB on UTSA!