Norfolk State vs. Houston Prediction and Odds for Tuesday, November 29 (Don't Blindly Back Cougars)

Houston Cougars guard Marcus Sasser (0) and forward Reggie Chaney.
Houston Cougars guard Marcus Sasser (0) and forward Reggie Chaney. / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 Houston Cougars are massive favorites on Tuesday night in their matchup with the Norfolk State Spartans. 

The Spartans enter this game with a 5-2 record, beating St. Mary’s of Maryland by 50 in their last game. The team can really shoot the 3 (38.8 percent, 28th in the country) and has only lost to top-25 teams in Baylor and UCLA. 

This is another tough test for Norfolk State, but does it deserve to be a 25-point dog against a Houston team that only beat Kent State by five in its last game? 

Kelvin Sampson’s group, led by senior guard Marcus Sasser, is one of the most complete teams in the country, ranking No. 2 in adjusted defensive efficiency, No. 1 in opponent effective field goal percentage (33.9 percent) and No. 26 in adjusted offensive efficiency. 

Let’s check out the latest odds and make a pick for this lopsided matchup: 

Norfolk State vs. Houston Odds, Spread and Total

Norfolk State vs. Houston Prediction and Pick

Yes, the Cougars are a dominant team this season, but I don’t think I can lay this number with them. 

If Houston has one disadvantage here, it’s in the 3-point shooting department. The Cougars are just 30.8 percent from beyond the arc this season, and when they’ve faced better competition (Oregon, Kent State) they have struggled to pull away.

I don’t want to put the Spartans in that conversation, but they have been impressive against lesser opponents this season. That, and the fact that they hung without 20 against Baylor, leads me to backing this Norfolk State team to cover. 

It’s an ugly bet, but the Cougars’ offense may not have as big an advantage as one would think. The key for the Spartans will be limiting turnovers, as they rank 282nd in turnover percentage this season. 

If they can improve there and continue to hit 3s at a high clip, 25.5 points is a few too many. 

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record here.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.