Wednesday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Houston vs. SMU Betting Preview
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Edwards (Houston)
- The top two teams in the AAC, Houston and SMU, face off in Dallas on Wednesday.
- The Cougars have been solid offensively, even without their leading scorer in Marcus Sasser.
- Keg breaks down why he's backing the Cougars on the road in this AAC duel.
Houston vs. SMU Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Houston’s small two-game road trip continues, as it travels to Dallas to take on SMU Wednesday night. The Cougars are currently on a 12-game winning streak.
After their victory over the weekend against Cincinnati, Houston moved to 20-2 on the season, cementing its seventh 20-win campaign in a row.
In its last outing vs. the Bearcats, Houston took the lead to open the game, and never surrendered it. The 80-58 victory over Cincinnati was its largest in series history.
Fabian White Jr. went off for a career-high 22 points, which was also his second straight 20-point game. His impressive back-to-back performances were recognized on Monday, when he was named the AAC Player of the Week.
SMU, meanwhile, is coming off only its second loss in the last 14 games. The Mustangs simply couldn’t make a shot in their last game, as they lost 72-57 to Wichita State. SMU shot just 36.5% from the floor and only 25% from beyond 3-point range.
Both of these teams have been excellent this season and rank first (Houston) and second (SMU) in the AAC. And while Houston has yet to lose a conference game this season, SMU has a streak of its own.
The Mustangs are 11-0 at home at this season, and have won their last 13 games on their home court. They are tied for 12th-longest active streak in Division I and the sixth longest in program history.
Will they cover against the Cougars at home on Wednesday?
Houston is one of the best teams in the country — there’s no doubt about that.
The Cougars are eighth in offensive efficiency, per KenPom. They rank second nationally in scoring margin at +20.4, while also averaging 76.9 points per game.
Houston has taken some blows when it comes to personnel, though. Most importantly, it has lost its leading scorer, Marcus Sasser.
However, the Cougars haven’t seemed to miss a beat since Sasser went down on Dec. 22, as they still haven’t lost a game. Four other Cougars — who are scoring in double digits — have done their best to make up for his absence.
Defense has been the Cougars’ biggest asset, especially without Sasser.
Houston is the best team in the nation when it comes to field goal defense, holding opponents to 36% from the field. The Cougars are also allowing opposing teams to score just 56.6 points per contest, which is second in Division I.
The Cougars are eighth in both 2-point and 3-point defense, and are 20th in turnover percentage.
Scoring hasn’t been a problem for SMU most of the season, but when it faced the 20th-ranked defense in Wichita State, it had its lowest point total of the season.
The Mustangs are the third-highest scoring offense in the AAC, behind only Memphis and their opponent this week, Houston. But they lead the conference in made 3-pointers at 8.7 per game, and are second in the league in 3-point shooting at 36.1%.
SMU also has one of the best scorers in the league in Kendric Davis, who leads the conference with 19.5 points per game.
The list of accolades for Davis would be a paragraph in its own, but he was on nearly every preseason watch list you can think of, and has won seven total AAC weekly honors.
He also leads the AAC in assist-to-turnover ratio.
One area SMU does have a significant advantage over the Cougars is at the free throw line. The Mustangs rank third in the AAC in free throw percentage (74.6%).
Houston, on the other hand, is one of the worst, ranking ninth out of 11 teams in the conference. The Cougars are making just 64.4% of their attempts, so if this game comes down to free throws, SMU could very easily pull off the upset.
On defense, SMU has been solid, but it’s not nearly at the level of Houston. SMU is limiting teams to 67.1 points per game, which would be a decent number compared to anyone else, except Houston.
SMU will be able to stop Houston to some extent. The Mustangs are limiting teams to an effective field goal percentage of just 45%, and are the 14th-best squad when it comes to shooting percentage.
Houston vs. SMU Betting Pick
Houston is the better team, but SMU’s dominance at home cannot be overlooked. However, even with how good the Mustangs have been, I don’t think they can do enough to stop the Houston offense that has dominated despite losing Sasser.
Back the Cougars to break up SMU’s home streak. I have Houston at -6, and would take it as high as 7.5.