NCAAB Odds, Pick for UCF vs Houston

NCAAB Odds, Pick for UCF vs Houston article feature image

Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Shead (Houston)

UCF vs Houston Odds, Pick

Saturday, Jan. 20
2 p.m. ET
UCF Odds
Point SpreadTotal PointsMoneyline
-110o / -110u
Houston Odds
Point SpreadTotal PointsMoneyline
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

It's been quite a week for the UCF Knights, and it's not because of their play on the basketball court. After upsetting the Texas Longhorns as 8.5-point underdogs, a few Knights players decided to celebrate with a few "Horns Down" signs.

That didn't go over well with Longhorns head coach Rodney Terry, which caused an interaction in the handshake line.

It'll be interesting to see how the Knights respond after their big win, as they head to Houston to take on the Cougars on Saturday. The Cougars are coming off a much-needed big win of their own against Texas Tech after faltering a bit with a two-game skid.

UCF Knights

I hate to break it to you Knights fans, but this isn't a good matchup for your squad. The post-game shenanigans are a national story and have become a distraction.

It's safe to say that there's a letdown brewing after the upset over the Horns. It's a sell-high opportunity and not just because of the situational spot.

The offense has obstacles to climb against the Cougars. The Knights enter the matchup 180th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, which is not good enough against the No. 1 defense in the country.

They're not protecting the basketball and have struggled mightily at the free-throw line. There's been no consistency from any area of the floor.

It's encouraging that they generate trips to the charity stripe, but the problem is that they're only shooting 69% as a team. The Cougars are aggressive on the defensive end, so the Knights need to be sharp from the line if they have any prayer of winning the game.

Honestly, I don't know how the Knights score enough to win this one. They rank in the bottom half of the country in 2PT and 3PT%, which are categories the Cougars are elite in on the defensive end.

Houston Cougars

The Cougars desperately needed a big win against Texas Tech to keep their Big 12 regular season title aspirations alive. Kelvin Sampson's team was dominant on the defensive end all evening long, and they'll have an even better matchup against the Knights.

The Coogs aren't only the No. 1 defensive team in the nation, per Adjusted Efficiency, but they also enter the matchup top-12 in Offensive Efficiency. The Knights are an excellent defensive team, so it'll be a battle between two great defensive units.

The Knights run an up-tempo offense, but they won't be able to against the Coogs. Sampson will make sure his team turns the game into a rock fight.

If the Knights weren't inept on offense, I'd have an entirely different outlook on the contest.

Jamal Shead and LJ Cryer will lead the Houston offense once again, and I have a feeling they'll be more aggressive beyond the arc. The Knights are excellent at defending inside and are slightly below average defending the perimeter.

The Knights usually have the advantage against most teams in the turnover department, but the Coogs pride themselves on protecting the ball. Points will be at a premium, and I don't see a world where it's a shootout between both teams.

UCF vs Houston

Betting Pick & Prediction

I circled the Knights earlier in the week as a potential buy-low spot because I thought they would lose to Texas. Given that the circumstances have changed, I decided to attack this game differently, and I believe it's a much stronger play.

Folks, this is what under dreams are made of. Both of these teams are excellent on the defensive side of the ball, and the fact that the Knights will be on letdown watch after their big upset makes it even more juicy.

The only way I see the game flying over is if the Knights suddenly become elite at free throws and the Coogs force a million turnovers that result in quick buckets. The Coogs will dictate the tempo from the opening tip and will bleed the clock on almost every offensive possession.

I don't blame you for laying the large number with the Cougars because of their advantage on the offensive end; the situational spot fits that narrative. I love the under, so bet this as soon as possible before the number drops any lower.

Pick: Under 126.5

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