Houston vs. Georgia State Betting Guide: Panthers Need Some NCAA Tournament Magic

Houston vs. Georgia State Betting Guide: Panthers Need Some NCAA Tournament Magic article feature image

Jim Brown, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Ron Hunter

#3 Houston vs. #14 Georgia State NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: Houston -12
  • Over/Under: 141.5
  • Time: Friday, 7:20 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Location: Tulsa, Okla.

>> All odds as of Thursday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

Younger fans may not know this, but Houston (20-12-2 against the spread) is not just another team from the AAC. The Cougars are college basketball royalty thanks to Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, who led Houston to the Final Four three years in a row in the 1980’s.

This Houston team is good enough to make it to a Final Four, but the Cougars will need to get through Georgia State (17-14-1 ATS) first.

This isn’t Georgia State’s first rodeo. Head coach Ron Hunter famously led the Panthers to the Round of 32 in 2015, upsetting Baylor as a 14-seed. Is this team good enough to spring another surprise?

Georgia State uses a 2-3 matchup zone on defense and boasts a decent offense that has put up 90 points on five separate occasions this season. Georgia State has won nine of its past 10 games and brings a roster that ranks 31st in minutes continuity.

A Good Matchup for Houston

The last time we saw the Cougars, they were getting dusted by Cincinnati in the AAC Championship. Houston only shot 30% that night, though, and that is probably an outlier as the Cougars rank 23rd in adjusted efficiency on offense.

This could be a good matchup for Houston since the Cougs chuck a ton of 3-pointers. Houston attempted the 30th-most 3-point attempts in the nation in 2018-19 and will look to shoot over the Panthers’ zone all night.

The other big edge Houston has is on the glass. The Cougars rank 19th in offensive rebounding percentage while Georgia State sits 337th in terms of defensive rebounding.

Houston should have the edge on defense, too, as it is the best team in the nation in effective field goal percentage. That means a lot of missed shots for Georgia State and the Panthers are not good at cleaning up their own mess, ranking 316th in offensive rebounding.

Can Georgia State Offense Keep it in This Game?

The Panthers may press the ball and try to create opportunities off turnovers as they rank 30th in defensive steal percentage.

On the other end, you can trust Georgia State to hold onto the ball as it is 53rd in offensive turnover percentage thanks to strong guard play. This is a pesky team that doesn’t turn the ball over and can shoot from distance (16th nationally in 3-point percentage).

The Panthers take and make a lot of 3’s.

The Pick

I don’t think Georgia State’s defense will be enough to quiet a Houston offense that can sink shots from anywhere on the court. The Cougars can also succeed by attacking the zone and getting Georgia State’s starters in foul trouble since the Panthers rank 323rd in bench minutes and 12th in 2-foul participation (how often the team leaves in players on the court with two fouls in the first half).

These metrics point to a tough game for the Panthers, and I think they’ll have a tough time keeping it close.

THE PICK: Houston -12

Our Projected Odds: Houston vs. Georgia State

Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: Houston -12
  • Total: 140
  • Proj Score: Houston 76 | Georgia State 64
  • Win Probability: Houston 88.2% | Georgia State 11.8%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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