Thursday College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Temple vs. Houston
Via Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Edwards.
- The Houston Cougars host the Temple Owls on Thursday night as heavy home favorites.
- The Cougars just clinched the AAC regular season title, but will they be susceptible to a letdown against the Owls in a sandwich spot?
- Kyle Remillard breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Temple vs. Houston Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Houston has emerged as the AAC regular season champion for the third time in the last four years. The one exception was last year when Wichita State won the title due to having a better conference win percentage despite Houston’s 28-4 regular season record.
The Cougars have rebounded nicely by winning five games in a row since dropping back-to-back matchups for the first time since the 2017 season. Four of those five victories have come by double-figures while surviving double-overtime against Wichita State.
Temple will travel to Houston with a respectable 9-6 conference record. The Owls will look to win one of their final two matchups against Houston or South Florida to solidify a top-five seed and avoid a first round matchup.
Houston needs to avoid looking past Temple with a revenge game against Memphis looming on Sunday.
Temple has continued to impress despite losing Khalif Battle after just seven games this season. Battle put up 21 points per game before suffering a season-ending foot fracture.
Redshirt freshman Damian Dunn has picked up the scoring duties since Battle’s injury. Dunn is a high-volume shooter who is putting up 15 points per game.
Temple has suffered from shooting woes this season and ranks outside the top 300 in the nation in 2-point and 3-point shooting. However, the Owls have shown an impressive ability to get to the free throw line at the ninth-highest rate in the country. The Owls have found 22% of their points this season at the charity stripe, which is the seventh-most in the country.
The Owls’ success this season has come from on defensive end of the floor. The program ranks top-25 in both 2-point and 3-point defense. They hold opponents to just 45% shooting from the floor, which ranks 14th nationally. Over the Owls’ last 11 matchups, only one opponent has shot better than 33% from 3-point territory.
Kelvin Sampson deserves national recognition as a potential coach of the year with the season he’s manufactured with Houston. Despite losing all-conference guard Marcus Sasser, the program has still been dominant with a 25-4 record.
The roster is still loaded with talent even without Sasser. Four of the five players on the AAC All-Kenpom team come from the Houston program.
The Cougars own a top-15 Offensive and Defensive Efficiency rating. They’ve outscored their opponents by an average of 18 points per game, which is the third-highest mark in the country.
The offense is the top group in the conference in 2-point offense and offensive rebounding. Houston has grabbed double-digit offensive rebounds in 22 of its 29 games this season, including five in a row. That streak is set to continue against Temple, who ranks 231st in the country in Defensive Rebound Rate.
Like Sampson-led squads in the past, Houston thrives on its defensive intensity. Regardless of who is on the court, you can count on hard-nosed defensive pressure. Houston ranks fifth in the country by allowing opponents to hit just 43% from the field. The group has blocked an astonishing 19% of shot attempts in conference play this season.
Temple vs. Houston Betting Pick
It’s no secret that Houston runs the AAC and is a true threat to cut down the nets at the end of the NCAA tournament. However, this is a tricky matchup against Temple.
Houston already struggled with Temple to open the new year. Though Temple never led, it kept the game competitive by losing 61-66. It was an ugly matchup with neither team shooting above 40%.
Now Houston will likely be looking ahead to its matchup with Memphis on Sunday. The Cougars were defeated by Memphis three weeks ago, which snapped its 37-game win streak at the Fertitta Center.
The one positive for Houston is that Temple will potentially be shorthanded as Jeremiah Williams missed last game with an undisclosed injury. However, Temple is desperate for a victory and will want to muck up this game to be a low scoring scrum like last time.
Though that may present value in the total, I feel more comfortable taking the points with Temple who will keep this rock fight of a matchup within 15-points.
Pick: Temple +16 (Play to +14.5)
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