Free College Basketball Picks: Houston Cougars at Cincinnati Bearcats Odds and Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 2/14/2014
The Houston Cougars and the No. 10 Cincinnati Bearcats square off this Saturday afternoon at Fifth Third Arena in the back end of this season’s home-and-home series. This AAC tilt is set to tip off at 3 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
The Cougars snapped a five-game slide with a solid 88-74 thrashing of Temple this past Sunday as 2.5-point home favorites. They are now 4-7 straight up in conference play as part of an overall record of 12-12. They are just 2-6 against the spread in their last six contests and 9-10 ATS overall. The total has stayed “under” in five of seven road games this year.
Cincinnati’s extended 15-game winning streak that dated back to a one-point victory over Pittsburgh on Dec. 17 finally came to an end in a stunning 76-55 loss to SMU as a four-point road underdog this past Saturday. The loss dropped the Bearcats to 22-3 SU on the year with an 11-1 record in the AAC. They have failed to cover in six of their last eight outings to fall to 10-9 ATS overall.
Houston vs. Cincinnati Betting Storylines
Houston played one of its better games of the season when these two first met and came up just one point short in a 61-60 loss on Jan. 7 as a 6.5-point underdog at home. The total stayed under the 130-point closing line. The Cougars trailed Cincinnati by 16 points at the half before staging their comeback attempt. Brandon Morris led the way in that game with 17 points while going 5-for-8 from 3-point range, but TaShawn Thomas has been the driving force all season long with a team-high 16.2 points and 8.8 rebounds while hitting 60.7 percent of his shots from the floor.
The Cougars are scoring 69.6 points a game and shooting 44.6 percent from the field, but the 88 points against the Owls was just the third time in their last 10 games they eclipsed their season average. They are giving up an average of 71.1 points to their opponents, but this number has climbed to 80.2 over the course of their last six outings. Houston is shooting just 34.3 percent from 3-point range and 65.6 percent from the foul line. It is averaging 35.4 rebounds, which is well down the list in Division I.
The Bearcats remain in the driver seat in the AAC with a two-game lead over Louisville in the standings, but they have shown a few cracks in the foundation over their last few games. They are averaging 69.3 points, but they have failed to reach this number in six of their last seven games. Defense has been their strong suit all season long, but they have been burnt for 66 points or more in three of their last five outings. This compares to a season average of 57.6 points allowed that is ranked fifth in the nation.
The man in the middle of it all for Cincinnati is Sean Kilpatrick. He leads the team in points (19.8) and assists (2.5) while helping out under the boards with 4.6 rebounds. He has had his struggles shooting the ball at times with a field goal percentage of 41.7 percent. Justin Jackson is averaging 11.4 points and leading the team in rebounds with seven a game. The team as a whole is shooting just 42.7 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Houston Cougars vs. Cincinnati Bearcats NCAA Betting Odds and Game Trends
BetOnline has opened the Bearcats as 17-point home favorites over Houston for Saturday’s AAC clash.
The Cougars have failed to cover in their last five games against a team with a SU winning record. They have gone 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a SU win, and the total has stayed under in five of six games after a SU win.
The Bearcats have gone 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games, and they are 5-1 ATS in their last six games at home against a team with a SU losing road record. The total has stayed under in 10 of their last 12 games after suffering a SU loss
These two teams have met eight times since 1998, and Cincinnati is a perfect 8-0 SU with a slight 5-3 edge ATS. The total has stayed under in two of the last three meetings.
Free College Basketball Picks: Houston Cougars vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Predictions
Give credit to Houston for its rally against the Bearcats the first time these two met, but that was at home, and the Cougars will be on the road this time around. They will also face a Cincinnati team that is coming off a bad loss. While the under on the total line could be the best play in this matchup depending on how low it is set, go with the Bearcats to win and cover the 17 points to pull off the season sweep.
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