Houston vs Cincinnati Odds, Pick for Saturday

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(Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Pictured: LJ Cryer

Houston vs Cincinnati Odds

Saturday, Feb. 10
4 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Houston Odds
Point SpreadTotal PointsMoneyline
-5.5
-105
130.5
-110o / -110u
-225
Cincinnati Odds
Point SpreadTotal PointsMoneyline
+5.5
-115
130.5
-110o / -110u
+185
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

Both Houston and Cincinnati have held their own quite admirably in their first season in the Big 12. In fact, Houston enters the weekend in sole possession of first place in what many call the most difficult league in the country.

However, winning on the road in the Big 12 has proven to be a difficult feat — a feat Houston will need to accomplish against Cincinnati if it hopes to maintain its lead over Iowa St., Baylor and Kansas.

Here's Houston vs. Cincinnati odds and a pick for Saturday.


Check out our College Basketball Betting Hub for more NCAAB previews, predictions, news and analysis.

Houston Cougars

After leaving the game against Kansas with an injury, forward Ja'Vier Francis was able to return to the lineup in the following game against Oklahoma St. Francis provides a physicality that drips throughout the entirety of Houston's roster.

One might assume that a team as defensively dominant as Houston would have a ton of height and shot-blocking ability. However, that's not the case. Houston is built around athleticism and strength and forces turnovers via on-ball pressure. Francis spearheads the effort to close out defensive possessions with tenacious rebounding.

Jamal Shead is Houston's leader in the backcourt. Shead is an All-American candidate and ranks third in the Big 12 in both assists and steals. His efforts on both ends provide a consistency that coach Kelvin Sampson simply doesn't have to worry about on a nightly basis.

Houston, in recent years, has suffered scoring droughts against capable defensive teams in the NCAA Tournament. To address that issue, Sampson recruited former Baylor guard LJ Cryer to provide a superior offensive threat to pair with his tremendous defensive identity.

Cryer may only be an average defender, but he provides the Cougars with an offensive option when the shot clock is running down. Sampson's plan seems to be working as Cryer leads the Big 12 in made 3s.


Cincinnati Bearcats

Wes Miller is a rising and promising young coach that has Cincinnati fans excited for the future. However, Miller's Big 12 coaching debut is off to a modest 4-5 start.

Of course, a caveat must be mentioned as all five losses in league play have been by five or fewer points. The Bearcats have hung tough, even in their losses, and fit the mold of a diet version of Houston.

Like Sampson, Miller has built his team with a toughness that starts on the defensive end. Unfortunately, Miller doesn't have Cryer to bail his team out during their offensive droughts. The Bearcats leading scorer is Dan Skillings Jr., who averages only 12.1 points per game.

Cincinnati relies on a more balanced approach to scoring, allowing the hot hand to take the majority of shots on a given night. Miller's bench is also plenty deep.

Most nights, Miller will play as many as 10 or 11 players in an effort to keep fresh legs on the floor. Unfortunately, that also means Cincinnati has no true alpha to turn to late in the game.


Houston vs. Cincinnati

Betting Pick & Prediction

We are in the dog days of conference play and both teams are likely a little battered and bruised. Additionally, both Houston and Cincinnati have a similar style of play.

I expect this game to have a slow pace as both teams will look to keep their opponent in the half-court. Neither team will want to allow transition opportunities and will opt to trust their half-court defense.

Thus, I'm betting on a rock fight. May the first team to 60 win!

Pick: Under 127.5 (Play to 126)

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