Houston vs Miami Odds & Picks: Can Canes Keep Things Close?

Houston vs Miami Odds & Picks: Can Canes Keep Things Close? article feature image

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Houston’s Jamal Shead.

Houston vs Miami Odds

Friday, March 24
7:15 p.m. ET
Houston Odds
-110o / -110u
Miami Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

After impressive performances in the Round of 32, Miami and Houston meet in Kansas City, Missouri, to decide who will have a chance to play for the Midwest Region crown in the Elite Eight.

Miami has silenced many of the critics who viewed it as an over-seeded team dealing with injuries.

In particular, the health of leading rebounder Norchad Omier landed at the forefront of conversations surrounding the Hurricanes after he went down with a leg injury in the early stages of Miami's ACC Tournament matchup with Duke. Omier has seemed unbothered by this apparent injury, tallying 31 total rebounds in Miami's two opening-round games.

On the other side, Houston has had a similar story after dealing with the injuries to guards Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead.

Much like Omier, Sasser put much of his injury questions to bed after a 22-point explosion against Auburn in the Round of 32.

A hobbled Marcus Sasser provided enough scoring punch to help Houston advance to the Sweet 16 with a win over Auburn, making 5/9 threes and showing his bucket-getting ability all game with 22 points. pic.twitter.com/HNISmWytbO

— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 19, 2023

Even with injuries playing a significant role for both teams, there's a ton of talent on both of these rosters led by two of the premier coaches in college basketball.

To pick which of these teams will punch its ticket to the Elite Eight, let's take a look at the odds and make a prediction for Miami vs. Houston.

Houston Cougars

Kelvin Sampson is looking to take Houston to its third Elite Eight appearance in just as many seasons.

The Cougars will look to accomplish this through Sampson's emphasis on rebounding. Sampson has famously held practices with a lid on the rim to force his team to focus solely on rebounding.

These tactics during practice have paid off, as the Cougars rank fifth nationally in rebound rate and fourth nationally in offensive rebounding percentage.

Now, they have a favorable matchup against a Miami team that has struggled to rebound on both ends. The Hurricanes rank 216th nationally in rebound rate and are allowing teams to grab offensive boards at a 28.4% clip (176th nationally).

Limiting Miami to one-and-done offensive possessions and creating second chances of its own will be critical for a Houston offense still dealing with injury uncertainty.

Additionally, I expect Houston's offense — a unit that ranks second nationally in near-proximity field goal percentage, according to Haslametrics — to create plenty of penetration against a Miami team allowing 53.6% of opponent points to be scored from inside the 3-point line.

Barring any setbacks, it should be full steam ahead for Houston's offense thanks to its advantages at the rim and on the glass.

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Miami Hurricanes

Jim Larrañaga's Hurricanes have amassed 27 wins this season behind some of the best guard play in the country.

In particular, guard Isaiah Wong has displayed his ability to create big plays at any moment. The fourth-year junior averages 16.1 points per game and is the leader of Miami's transition offense.

Isaiah Wong and Miami are heading back to the Sweet 16.

🔥 27 PTS
🔥 4-6 3PT
🔥 8 REB
🔥 1 STLpic.twitter.com/fUkC1jy7FR

— SLAM University (@slam_university) March 20, 2023

Overall, Miami ranks 19th nationally in transition efficiency, resulting in the Hurricanes ranking just inside the top 100 in terms of Adjusted Tempo.

However, this desire to get out in transition will be hard to realize against a Houston team that will look to control the tempo at both ends. The Cougars rank 342nd nationally in Adjusted Tempo by ranking inside the top 70 in transition efficiency defense.

In general, Houston has made defense a staple this season, ranking fourth nationally in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. In particular, Houston's defense has excelled at guarding the rim and interior. The Cougars allow the lowest midrange percentage in the country at just 27.9%.

Houston also has the highest block percentage in all of college basketball at 16.8%.

This defense inside the 3-point line will be critical against a Miami offense that scores 53.6% of its points from 2-point range.

Miami found ways to get out in space and create a ton of opportunities for its talented guards in its second-round matchup against Indiana. I don't see Houston allowing that same level of transition offense, which will force the Canes to search for other answers on the offensive end.

Houston vs Miami Betting Pick

Leading up to this matchup, much has been made about which Houston team we'll see on Friday night. The Cougars were ultra-impressive in the second half against Auburn but struggled in the opening round against No. 16 seed Northern Kentucky.

Defensively, I expect Houston to limit Miami in transition, thus forcing the Canes to create in the half-court, where they rank 203rd in efficiency.

On the other end, Houston should be able to create plenty of second-chance looks while getting to the rim at will against Miami's front line.

With that, I will gladly lay the points with Sampson and the Cougars as they make a statement on the way to their third straight Elite Eight appearance.

Pick: Houston -7.5 (Play to -8.5)

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Nick Sterling
Jun 15, 2024 UTC