Houston travels to Cincinnati in hopes of securing a quality road win in Big 12 play.
The two AAC imports have been competitive in its first season in the Big 12, but now meet after Houston took all three of the games last season. Can the Bearcats hang on the glass and test the Cougars, or will Houston prove to be a class above Wes Miller's group?
Here's our full betting preview for Saturday's matchup:
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Houston vs. Cincinnati Odds, Spread and Total
Cincinnati vs. Houston Betting Trends
Houston vs. Cincinnati How to Watch
- Date: Saturday, February 10th
- Game Time: 4:00 PM EST
- Venue: Fifth Third Arena
- How to Watch (TV): ESPN2
- Houston Record: 20-3
- Cincinnati Record: 15-7
Houston vs. Cincinnati Key Players to Watch
Jamal Shead: Shead bounced back from a dismal at Kansas last weekend in which he scored only seven points on two-of-nine shooting from the field to score 23 points and rack up three steals against Oklahoma State. The senior guard will face another elite defense in Cincinnati, but hopefully is back to his All-American level of play for the Cougars sake.
John Newman: If any team can unlock this Cincy offense against Houston's compact defense, it's Newman, who is shooting 36% from beyond the arc in Big 12 play. Newman has scored nine or more in six straight, he's going to need a similar output on Saturday in a grind of a game.
Houston vs. Cincinnati Prediction and Pick
Cincinnati has had a week off to prepare for Houston's blitzing scheme on Saturday afternoon, but I don't think it's going to matter much as the team is devoid of the necessary ball handlers to outlast the Cougars defense that is generating turnovers on more than 26% of opponent's possessions.
The Bearcats have struggled protecting the ball in Big 12 play, the team is 12th in turnover percentage in league play, and will likely be a welcome sight for the visiting Cougs, who have played a gauntlet of Big 12 teams so far on the road.
So far in Big 12 play, Houston has face Iowa State (No. 12 in KenPom's adjusted efficiency rating), TCU (No. 29), BYU (No. 11), Texas (No. 31) and Kansas (No. 13) on the road. While Cincinnati checks in at a respectable No. 32, this is the worst team that Houston will face on the road so far.
While many will remember last Saturday's shellacking in Lawrence against Kansas, or the team's near losses at Iowa State and TCU, Cincinnati doesn't have the firepower on offense that those teams have.
The Bearcats are shooting 29% in league play and are incredibly reliant on generating second chances to keep up. However, Houston is the third best defensive rebounding team in the league and possess one of the most compact defenses in the country (324th in opponent three-point rate). Cincy won't be able to score.
While it's not a perfect comparison, these two played three times last year in AAC play, with the Cougars winning every game by at least six, including a 13-point win at Fifth Third Arena. You can lay it with the chalk on the road.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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