Sunday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Houston Cougars vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Preview

Sunday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Houston Cougars vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Preview article feature image

Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Houston Cougars forward Taze Moore.

  • The Cincinnati Bearcats host the Houston Cougars in Sunday’s NCAA action.
  • Houston enters this contest as a solid favorite, which our handicapper loves.
  • Keg breaks down this meeting with his top pick tied to the Cougars.

Houston vs. Cincinnati Odds

Sunday, Feb. 6
6 p.m. ET
Houston Odds
-114o / -106u
Cincinnati Odds
-114o / -106u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Houston looks to extend an 11-game winning streak when it takes on Cincinnati in Sunday’s showdown.

The Bearcats enter the game after barely escaping East Carolina with a win, barley holding off the Pirates in a 60-59 victory. David Dejulias showed up when the Cincinnati needed him most against East Carolina, catching the rebound off his own miss and scoring with 3.7 seconds left.

Now, the program seeks its highest-rank win since 2012. If the Bearcats can record a win, Wes Miller would become the first since Tay Baker in 1965-66 to defeat two ranked opponents in his first year as head coach.

Houston has dominated the AAC so far this season, currently sitting first in the conference at 8-0 and have yet to lose a game. So, can the Bearcats deliver the Cougars their first loss of the season?

Cincinnati leads the all-time series, 33-8, including an 11-7 mark as AAC rivals. The Bearcats are also 17-1 at home against the Cougars, winning 27 of the first 28 meetings.

Houston Cougars

Houston leads the AAC in scoring offense, racking up 76.8 points per game. The Cougars have also been the second-best team in the conference when it comes to field-goal percentage, hitting at 46.7%.

Marcus Sasser leads the Cougars, averaging 17.7 points per game. Josh Carlton has been a force around the basket, leading the team in rebounds and blocks with 6.5 and 1.4, respectfully. Jamal Shead is also making an impact as he leads Houston in both assist and steals.

As a team, the Cougars are shooting 34.8 percent from beyond the arc, but have been one of the worst teams in the country from the charity stripe. Houston is making just 66.2% of free throw attempts.

On the defensive end, the Cougars have been nearly just as strong. They’re one of the few teams who rank inside the top 15 in adjusted offense and defensive efficiency. Houston is limiting opposing teams to just 56.2 points per game, which is the second-lowest scoring defense in all of NCAA basketball.

The Cougars have also held opponents to just 28.2% from 3-point range, as well as 42.4% overall. It’s hard to see any way Cincinnati gets past Houston on either end of the court.

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Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats are averaging 70.8 points per game and shooting the ball at 41.5% from the floor. Jeremiah Davenport is averaging 13.4 points and 0.9 assists, while Mika Adams-Woods is dishing 3.4 assists and Mike Saunders is grabbing 2.2 rebounds. Cincinnati is shooting 32 percent from beyond the arc and 66.5 percent from the free-throw line.

David Dejulias has scored in double figures 14 times this season,  including six of eight AAC games, and currently shares the scoring lead with Davenport at 13.4 points per game. But even with Dejulias and Davenport having impressive offensive performances at a consistent level, the Bearcats are still struggling.

Cincinnati ranks 259th in 3-point shooting percentage, and isn't much better then it comes to two-point shooting, ranking 240th nationally hitting just 48%. The Bearcats do take a lot of shots, currently raked 32nd in field-goal attempts. They just can’t seem to find the bottom of the net.

On defense, Cincinnati has been effective in holding teams to just 62.8 points per game. The Bearcats are one of the best scoring defenses in the country, currently ranked 29th overall.

However, I don't think that number will hold true against Houston, which is one of the best scoring offenses in the conference. Yet, Cincinnati does rank second nationally in two point shooting defense. It will be interesting to see who can win this battle of strength versus strength.

Houston vs. Cincinnati Betting Pick

Houston has consistently been the best AAC team this season. The Cougars have dominated at both ends of the floor. In any area it has struggled, the Cincinnati team just hasn't shown the ability to take advantage where I can trust it enough.

Cincinnati has also struggled recently against considerably worse competition. Not to mention Houston is covering the spread at a rate of 4-2 on the road.

For that reason, I will back the Cougars. I was able to bet them as six-point favorites and would take them as high as eight in this meeting.

Pick: Houston -8 or better

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