College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for SMU vs. Houston (Sunday, February 27)
Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kendric Davis.
SMU vs. Houston Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Houston Cougars will square off with the SMU Mustangs for the second time this season. Houston had won 13 games in a row coming into its first meeting, but the Mustangs ended that streak on their home court, beating the Cougars 85-83. The Cougars also lost two games in a row for the first time all year as they went on to drop a game against Memphis in their next contest.
Houston seems to have gotten back on track, having won the last three games since that rare losing streak. But the Cougars are in the midst of a jam-packed end-of-season schedule. Sunday’s matchup against SMU will be the third of four games in 10 days for Houston.
SMU is just one game back of Houston for the lead in the conference while riding a two-game win streak of its own. The Mustangs won the first meeting at home, where they are still undefeated on the season. However, on the road, SMU is just 6-4, while Houston has posted an impressive home record of 13-1.
The Mustangs are also just 1-5 at Houston in the series dating back to 2016 and are just 3-9 dating back to 2006. SMU’s last win in Houston came on Feb. 18, 2017. Will Houston remain dominant at home? Or will the Mustangs be able to break into a share of the lead for the AAC?
The Mustangs look to complete the season sweep of Houston on Sunday, just as they did last Sunday, beating Memphis to complete the sweep of the third-ranked team in the AAC.
SMU has one of the best players in the country in Kendric Davis, who Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said is the best player he’s seen in the eight years he’s coached in the AAC. Davis leads the conference in points per game, with 19.3 per contest, and is third in assists at 4.7 per game.
However, the Mustangs will be without a key piece off the bench from their first meeting with Houston. Zhuric Phelps had a leg injury in their last game against Tulsa in the first half. The severity of Phelps’ injury is unknown, but coach Tim Jankovich is optimistic that he will return this season.
SMU already lost one of its best players in Jalen Smith this season. Depth and home-court advantage have been massive in the success of the Mustangs this season. Not only will this game be a serious challenge on the road, but their performance on Sunday will give us an accurate idea of how the Mustangs will fair in the postseason.
Houston isn’t just the best team in the AAC with some of the best players in the conference. It’s one of the best teams in the country and has some of the best players in all of college basketball.
Josh Carlton is fourth in the conference in rebounds per game with 6.6. Jamal Shead is second in the league with 1.74 steals per game. And Fabian White Jr. ties for third in the AAC with 1.56 blocks per game, while also being sixth in three-point percentage.
The Cougars do have one glaring weakness: free throws. Houston is the worst in the American Athletic Conference and 339th in all of college basketball at the charity stripe. The Cougars make just 66% of attempts at the line, and if it comes down to a close game in this matchup, or any postseason game for that matter where the end becomes a free throw contest, Houston could be in serious trouble.
SMU vs. Houston Betting Pick
SMU won the first game due mainly to its home-court advantage. It won’t have that this time around, and I think that’s going to be a significant factor. Houston also wants this regular-season championship badly. It has won three of the last four. When it didn’t win last year, Houston still finished with three more wins than the conference champion.
Houston has been the better team all year and has been almost as dominant as SMU at home. Because of that, I’m backing the Cougars as high as an 11.5-point favorite. I think they get their revenge in a big way at home on Sunday.
But there’s something else I want to mention that I’ll be keeping an eye on: live lines for this game.
Houston is third in the country in double-digit scoring runs, while SMU is ninth. However, the Mustangs also give up a lot of runs per game — a total of 14 this year. Regardless of who jumps out to a big lead or goes on a big run, I will be looking to hit either team live, more than five points off the closing line.
Keep an eye on the "Kill Shot" today, when a team goes on an 10-0 run or better in a game.
Here are the best teams at going on double digit scoring runs:
4. Murray State
10. UAB pic.twitter.com/iz5lsujalv
— Evan Miyakawa (@EvanMiya) February 26, 2022
For example; if Houston closes -10.5, and I get a live line of Houston -5.5 or better, I will be betting it. Alternatively, SMU at anything +15.5 or better will also be a wager for me as well.
Pick: Houston -11.5 or better
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