Houston vs Saint Joe’s Odds, Predictions: College Basketball Picks for Friday, Nov. 11
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kelvin Sampson.
- The No. 3-ranked Houston Cougars and Saint Joseph's Hawks tip off on Friday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. ET at the 2022 Veterans Classic.
- Houston opened as a 19.5-point favorite, and the point spread has grown to Houston -21.5 from open.
- Read on for updated odds, plus our college basketball betting analyst's picks and predictions for Houston vs. Saint Joseph's.
Houston vs Saint Joe’s Odds
-110o / -110u
|Saint Joe’s Odds|
-110o / -110u
If the Houston Cougars aren’t the listed favorite at your favorite sportsbook to win the championship next April, they are certainly near the top — and should be.
Kelvin Sampson returned many of the key contributors from last year’s squad, healthier and with a year of additional experience, after the Cougars finished 32-6 and made the Elite Eight last season.
After absolutely drubbing Northern Colorado at home in the season opener, allowing only 0.56 points per possession, Houston dials up the degree of difficulty a notch for its second game of the season. The Cougars travel to the East Coast to meet Saint Joseph’s at a neutral court, in Annapolis, MD.
St. Joe’s has yet to start its season but has its highest expectations since turning the program over to Billy Lange in 2019. For the Hawks, the season starts with trial by fire. Can they compete with one of the nation’s premier teams?
Now nearly a decade into his tenure at Houston, Kelvin Sampson has built the Cougars into a contender on the national stage. Houston has made each of the last Sweet 16s, with two Elite 8s and a Final Four over the last three tournaments (excluding the Madness-free 2020 season).
Those Cougar teams have been built on the defensive end of the floor. Houston has ranked in the top 25 nationally in defensive efficiency per KenPom in each of the last four years. Houston’s lowest ranking in effective field goal percentage allowed over the last five seasons is sixth, compared to more than 350 programs each year. That is a baffling level of consistency, driven by Sampson’s scheme and penchant for recruiting high-level athletes with pitbull energy on that end of the floor.
Last season, Houston looked ready to build upon its 2021 Final Four run, before injuries ended the seasons of starters Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark. Many wrote off the Cougars in December. They barely missed a beat, continuing to win with grind-it-out possessions and toughness.
Now, though a group of capable seniors has departed, Mark and Sasser are back, flanked by a deep rotation of athletes, rebounders, and newcomers.
The ceiling for this Houston team can be found at the top of a ladder, cutting down the nets at NRG Stadium in their home city next April.
For diehard fans on Hawk Hill, the decision to move on from legendary head coach Phil Martelli still looms large, as if it happened just yesterday.
It has, however, been several years since the Hawks moved on, with former Villanova and 76ers assistant coach Billy Lange unable to gain any traction amidst the turmoil of replacing Martelli during a pandemic.
This season could be a turning point.
Lange brings back the core of his best team at St. Joe’s, yet we’re talking about a team that went 11-19 and lost eight of its last nine outings. If you’re fishing for hope, two of those eight losses came in overtime and three more came by just one possession.
On the other hand, the team lost triple-double threat Jordan Hall to the NBA, leaving a big hole in production. Lange can expect sophomore guard Erik Reynolds to pick up the slack in the scoring column. As a freshman, Reynolds topped 15 points in nine of his final 15 games. He was, unfortunately, very streaky. He missed all ten of his 3-point attempts in the Hawks season finale, after a 1-17 stretch earlier in the year.
If Reynolds can form a one-two punch with big man Ejike Obinna, in his second year in Philly after transferring from Vanderbilt, the Hawks might be able to compete for a spot in the top half of the Atlantic-10. If the roster crumbles around that duo, Lange doesn’t have many answers.
Houston vs Saint Joe’s Prediction & Betting Pick
This spread came in roughly where I expected to see it. St. Joe’s should put up some fight in the Atlantic-10 this season, but in conference play, the Hawks won’t see anything as scary as these Houston Cougars.
At a spread this high, however, St. Joe’s might have a prayer at a backdoor cover. Houston plays a slow tempo, ranking outside the top 300 nationally each of the last three years in that stat. The Cougars are a boa constrictor, not a viper. Even in a blowout, they’ll squeeze you slowly, not blitz the scoreboard.
I do, however, see St. Joe’s having a near impossible time scoring the ball against Houston. The Hawks simply don’t have answers on that end. Despite a team total of just 57.5, I like the under.
Houston held 20 of its 38 opponents under 60 points last season, and Northern Colorado clawed its way to only 36 points against Houston earlier this week. The Hawks should suffer a similar fate.