College Basketball Odds & Picks for Houston vs. UCF: Betting Value Lies On Saturday’s Over/Under
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Kelvin Sampson
- Kelvin Sampson's Houston Cougars will take on Johnny Dawkins' UCF Knights on the college hardwood on Saturday afternoon.
- Instead of looking at a side for this game, BJ Cunningham sees value on the total.
- Check out Cunningham's full betting analysis below to find out why he's on the under for Saturday's game.
Houston vs. UCF Odds
|Houston Odds||-7.5 [BET NOW]|
|UCF Odds||+7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-345 / +275 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||135 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 1 p.m. ET|
The sixth-ranked Houston Cougars look to remain unbeaten on Saturday when they head to Orlando to take on the upset-minded UCF Knights.
Not only does Kelvin Sampson have one of the best teams in the AAC, but Houston is one of the top sides in the country. With four starters returning from a squad that finished 14th in the final KenPom rankings of 2019-20, the Cougars are poised for a deep run in March.
Houston passed its first test by beating Texas on a neutral court, but this will be its first big hurdle on the road.
UCF has played a gauntlet of a schedule so far but has pulled off upsets at almost every stop. The Knights already hold wins over Auburn, Florida State and Cincinnati. Johnny Dawkins’ squad looks poised for a bounce-back season in 2020-21.
Houston is solid at both ends of the floor. With so much experience on the roster, the Cougars have grown into a complete team and are ranked inside the top 15 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
Sampson preaches how important the defensive side of the ball is in modern basketball and has the Cougars playing like one of the stingiest units in the nation.
Houston is inside the top 15 in effective field goal percentage allowed, turnover percentage and 3-point percentage allowed. That’s going to come in handy against a UCF offense that takes care of the ball and shoots a high percentage from behind the arc.
The Cougars are fundamentally sound on offense, rarely turning the ball over and grabbing offensive rebounds at a ridiculous 43% clip, which is the second-best mark in the country. UCF ranks 304th in defensive rebounding percentage, so it’s hard to imagine it’ll keep the Cougars off the glass.
Last season was a rough one for UCF, but that isn’t surprising for a team that lost all five starters from the previous season. This campaign figures to be a better one for the Knights, as Dawkins has a lot more talent on his roster.
That said, the Knights have struggled this season offensively and have relied heavily on the 3-ball. UCF shoots 37.5% from distance but only 43.9% from inside the arc. UCF truly lives and dies by the 3. On paper, Houston is a terrible matchup for UCF’s offense since the Cougars are one of the best teams in the country at defending the 3.
UCF is very opportunistic on defense and ranks inside the top 100 in turnover percentage and defending the 3-point shot. However, the Knights struggle against teams with dominant frontcourts, sitting well below the NCAA average in 2-point percentage allowed and defensive rebound percentage.
Considering how dominant the Cougars have been on the offensive glass, the Knights are likely going to struggle to contain Houston’s frontcourt.
Betting Analysis & Pick
There’s a good recipe for the under in this matchup. UCF and Houston play at a slower pace than the NCAA average, plus I think the Golden Knights will have trouble scoring at a consistent rate against this type of defense.
On the flip side, Houston doesn’t shoot a very high percentage from the floor and relying on offensive rebounds and second-chance points is something that is not sustainable.
I project this over/under at 133.79 points, so I think there’s a smidge of value left on under 136. I wouldn’t go any lower than that, though.
Pick: Under 136.