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Oklahoma State vs. Houston Odds & Picks: Back the Cougars on Large Spread

Oklahoma State vs. Houston Odds & Picks: Back the Cougars on Large Spread article feature image

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Edwards

  • Houston takes on Oklahoma State in a duel between the AAC and Big 12.
  • The Cougars are deeper and more talented than the Cowboys.
  • Alex Hinton breaks down the matchup and offers up his top pick.

Oklahoma State vs. Houston Odds

Saturday, Dec. 18
7 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State Odds
-110o / -110u
Houston Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The No. 14 Houston Cougars will enter this matchup at 9-2 and just three points away from being undefeated. Houston’s losses were by two points to Wisconsin and one point at Alabama last Saturday.

On Tuesday, Houston bounced back with a 71-56 victory over Louisiana Lafeyette.

Next, the Cougars will battle Oklahoma State in the Hoop Hype XL College Basketball Showcase.

The Cowboys are 7-3 overall, but have lost two of their last three. Oklahoma State got back in the win column on Monday, but it got all it could handle from Cleveland State. The Cowboys needed overtime to squeak out a 98-93 over the Vikings and failed to cover as 12.5-point favorites.

Oklahoma State has lost to Oakland, Wichita State and Xavier. Will the Cowboys be able to match one of the most balanced teams in the country in Houston?

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma State is averaging 76.3 points per game, but it has not scored very efficiently. The Cowboys are 205th in offensive rating and 108th in adjusted efficiency.

Oklahoma State has had a hard time adjusting to life after No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham and lacks a true alpha dog.

Guard Avery Anderson III is leading the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game, but he has upped his scoring to 18.6 in the last five. Bryce Williams is averaging 11.4 and Kansas transfer Bryce Thompson is averaging 9.4.

Anderson is shooting 35.5% from deep, but as a team, Oklahoma State has not shot it well from the outside. It ranks 299th in 3-point shooting at 29.7%.

As a result, Oklahoma State has struggled to respond when its opponents play zone because it can’t shoot out of it. Houston is tenacious on defense already, but if it mixes in more zone, Oklahoma State likely will not have a counter.

Oklahoma State has been a good defensive team, as well. The Cowboys are 20th in adjusted defensive efficiency and over 40% of their defensive possessions result in a blocked shot or turnover.

The Cowboys block shots on 18.1% of their possessions, the fifth-highest rate in the nation. Center Moussa Cisse and forward Kalib Boone each average two blocks despite only playing 15 minutes per game.

Oklahoma State forces turnovers on 25.8% of its possessions, 10th-best in the country. Five Cowboys are averaging at least one steal per game, led by Anderson’s 2.2 per game.

The Cowboys are seventh nationally in steals per game. Opponents are only making 43.1% of their two-point attempts.

The Cowboys will need a strong performance from their defense to pull out the upset.

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Houston Cougars

Few teams are playing at a higher level on both ends than Houston. The Cougars are 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency and eighth in offensive rating.

Junior guard Marcus Sasser is averaging 18.4 points while shooting 45.1% from 3. Sasser missed Tuesday’s win over ULL and his status for Saturday is unclear.

His team covered the slack despite shooting 2-of-21 from 3. All five starters scored in double figures, led by graduate transfer forward Josh Carlton’s 17 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Kyler Edwards had 12 points, right on par with his season average of 12.3 points, along with 5.8 rebounds per game.

Houston is a capable 3-point shooting team at 35.7% on nearly 24 attempts per game. However, it converts nearly 55% of its two-point attempts.

The Cougars dominate the offensive glass and are 11th nationally in offensive rebounds per game. Houston out-rebounds its opponents by 8.7 boards overall.

Houston has a lot of opportunities for defensive rebounds because its opponents only make 36.9% of their field goal attempts. The Cougars are 12th in field goal percentage defense and 61st in 3-point field goal percentage, holding opponents to 29.2% from deep.

Oklahoma State isn’t the only team to make life miserable for its opponents. Houston forces opponents into turnovers on 25.5% of their possessions, 22nd best in the nation. Given that Oklahoma State turns the ball on 22% of its offensive possessions, that will be an area Houston can exploit.

Oklahoma State vs. Houston Betting Pick

Oklahoma State lost to Xavier and Wichita State — the two best teams it has played so far — and looked shaky against everyone else. Houston will be the best team it has played so far.

I expect Houston’s defensive pressure to be too much for Oklahoma State, and that will lead to a ton of turnovers. Houston should also be able to get extra possessions on the offensive glass.

Houston is the deeper and more talented team, while Oklahoma State looks like it’s headed on its way to being a Big 12 bottom feeder.

I would check in on Sasser’s status before locking this play in. However, even if he is out, I like the Cougars by double digits.

Pick: Houston -9.5

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