21-10 overall, 9-5 conference, 4th CUSA
Against the spread
16-9 (7-4 home, 8-5 away)
8-16 (1-9-1 home, 7-6 away)
2005 Season Summary
After a long time in the college basketball wilderness that made many fans and gamblers forget that they used to be a national powerhouse the 2004-2005 Houston Cougars emerged as a team on the road back to respectability as they finished with a winning season of 18-4 straight up and 13-14 against the college basketball betting lines. Houston's season ended with a post season bid to the National Invitational Tournament, which left everyone with the program a good taste in their mouths for the 2005-06 campaign.
High expectations met with mixed results
Houston began the season with a 131-62 blowout home win over Florida Tech in an unlined game that had folks remembering the Phi Slama Jama days. But reality set in for Houston in their very next game, a 61-62 loss at home to Virginia Commonwealth as a 9.5-point overlay as the Cougars were clearly overconfident, as were many gamblers from that blowout win in the opener. This was a valuable college basketball betting lesson about how you cannot always take mismatches at face value.
Just as incredible, however, was the fact that Houston was able to get off the mat in their next game at LSU, an eventual final four team, and beat them 84-83 as 9.5-point road dogs. The surprises continued for Houston as they next beat Arizona, a perennial national power, 69-65 as 4-point home dogs for back-to-back upsets.
After an unlined win over Sam Houston State, however, the Cougars slipped with a 62-66 loss at South Alabama as 3-point overlays and then suffered another loss at UNLV 73-83 as 3.5-point dogs as Houston's high expectations were met with mixed results.
The inconsistent play continued as Houston bounced back with a 92-84 win at North Texas as 5-point chalks. That was followed by a 67-41 win over Rhode Island as 10-point chalks for their fourth cover in six games. Houston finished the non conference slate with three consecutive straight up wins that were not on the board.
Stumbled out of the CUSA gate
Houston opened Conference USA play in earnest with a shocking 62-71 loss at Rice as 6-point chalks. That was followed by a 56-66 loss at home to Central Florida as whopping 14.5-point overlays. The Cougars finally scored a straight up win over Southern Mississippi 62-58 as 16.5-point home chalks as they stumbled out of the CUSA gate with three straight losses.
After having dropped five of their last seven games against the spread, the Cougars had lost much of their public appeal with gamblers, which served to turn them into values on the board that were getting better odds than what was actually warranted
The Cougars started off with a 79-82 loss/cover at UAB as 10.5-point dogs. That was followed by an 82-57 win at Tulane as 5.5-point chalks. Next was a 69-56 win over Marshall as 12-point home chalks and then a nice 63-57 win over Texas El Paso as 4-point chalks.
On the road against East Carolina, Houston continued to be a cash cow with a 64-60 overtime win as 3.5-point chalks. After an unlined win at Texas A&M CC, the Cougars got the cash yet again with a 69-57 win over Southern Methodist as a 9-point home chalk. That was followed by a 78-71 win at Central Florida as 4-point chalks and then a 73-46 win over Tulsa as 13.5-point favorites for their eighth consecutive payoff.
When a team covers eight straight games that team doesn't remain a secret in gambling circles for long, nor retain much of its value against the board. Sure enough, as more gamblers were drawn to Houston at the close of the regular season the less value that they had. Their problems began with a 63-69 loss at Texas El Paso as 3.5-point dogs. That was followed by a 74-71 win over Rice in which they failed to cover as 13-point chalks.
Back in black
Houston didn't stay down long however, as they covered four of their final games including both of their NIT tilts.