Houston vs. Texas Prediction, Odds and Key Players for Monday, Jan. 29 (Houston to Cover as Road Favorites)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bets for Houston vs. Texas.

Jan 27, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars forward J'Wan Roberts (13) reacts after a play
Jan 27, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars forward J'Wan Roberts (13) reacts after a play / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Houston takes its top ranked defense on the road to face Texas in Big Monday action.

The Longhorns have been shaky at best in Big 12 play, and a home upset can go a long way towards shedding concerns about this team come March, but it's easier said than done against Kelvin Sampson's crew, seen as arguably the best team in the country.

Can the Cougars get a road win and cover? Here's my betting preview for this Big 12 Monday matchup:

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Houston vs. Texas Odds, Spread and Total

Texas vs. Houston Betting Trends

  • Houston is 11-8-1 against the spread (ATS) this season
  • Texas is 6-14 ATS this season
  • Texas is 2-3 ATS as an underdog thi s season
  • Texas has gone OVER in 11 of 20 games this season
  • Houston has gone UNDER in 14 of 20 games this season

Houston vs. Texas How to Watch

  • Date: Monday, Jan. 29
  • Game Time: 9:00 PM EST
  • Venue: Moody Center
  • How to Watch (TV): ESPN
  • Houston Record: 18-2
  • Texas Record: 14-6

Houston vs. Texas Key Players to Watch

Houston

Jamal Shead: The senior guard leads this tenacious Houston team as the floor general, dishing out nearly six assists to go with his almost 12 points per game. Shead has made serious strides as a shooter, hitting on nearly 36% of his 3-point shots while creating a career high two steals.

Texas

Max Abmas: As Abmas goes, so does Texas. The Oral Roberts transfer hit only four of his 12 shots in the Longhorns' 12-point loss at BYU on Saturday, another shaky effort form the team on the road, and the team will need Abmas at his best on a quick turnaround with Houston's top ranked defense in Austin.

Houston vs. Texas Prediction and Pick

From this morning's Daily Dunk:

The Cougars are off a dominant beat down of Kansas State at home on Saturday while Texas travels back from the altitude of Provo, Utah after being outclassed on the road.

Texas will have its hands full with the best defense in the country, which is ahead by a staggering margin. Houston is turning opponents over on 26% of its possessions while allowing an effective field goal percentage of 41%. Teams simply don't score on this Houston team, the team has allowed more than 65 points just four times in 20 games this season.

I struggle to see Texas getting much going on offense Monday against this defense while the Houston offense can dominate on the offensive glass en route to out-pacing the Longhorns. Texas is bottom half of the country in defensive rebounding rate while Houston is the fifth-best team in the country on the offensive glass, grabbing nearly 40% of its misses.

Texas' offense has shot well from beyond the arc in league play, hitting 39% of its 3-point attempts, which will be there against the nasty Houston interior that lets up nothing inside, but I don't trust the ball handling of Texas to get clean looks against Houston. The Cougars are allowing the eighth fewest catch-and-shoot 3-point shots, per ShotQuality, of which Texas is generating a top 10 points per possession mark.

On the other side, this Texas defense is subpar for the elite standard of the Big 12, ranking last in effective field goal percentage allowed and also fouling at a high rate. Given the physical nature of Houston, I expect many whistles and for Houston to take care of business on the road.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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