Texas A&M vs. Houston Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NCAA Tournament Second Round

Texas A&M's Jace Carter (0) reacts after the team scored during the first round game between
Texas A&M's Jace Carter (0) reacts after the team scored during the first round game between / Chris Day/The Commercial Appeal / USA

Texas A&M blitzed Nebraska behind a monster shooting effort for the usually three-point deficient offense, but drilled 13 of his 23 three-point attempts, setting up a rematch against the top seed in the South Region, Houston. 

The Cougars pursuit of a National Championship started in style, beating Longwood 86-46, and now face a surging Texas A&M team that is playing its best ball in March. The No. 9 seed Aggies beat Nebraska 98-83 in the aforementioned shoot out, will the team’s perimeter shooting continue in the Round of 32 against the best defense in the country? 

Here’s our full betting preview for this Texas-centric battle. 

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Texas A&M vs. Houston Odds, Spread and Total

Houston vs. Texas A&M Betting Trends

  • Texas A&M is 17-18 against the spread (ATS) this season
  • Houston is 17-16-2 ATS this season
  • Texas A&M is 7-5 ATS as an underdog this season
  • Texas A&M has gone OVER in 22 of 35 games this season

Texas A&M vs. Houston How to Watch

  • Date: Sunday, March 24th
  • Game Time: 8:40 PM EST
  • Venue: FedEx Forum
  • How to Watch (TV): TNT
  • Texas A&M Record: 21-14
  • Houston Record: 31-4

Houston vs. Texas A&M Key Players to Watch


Jamal Shead: Shead dished out nine assists in the blowout victory against Longwood, scoring 11 points as him and six other Cougars scored seven or more points. Shead will need to navigate a zone defense from Texas A&M and stay with an elite guard in Wade Taylor IV in order to keep Houston’s season alive. 

Texas A&M

Wade Taylor IV: Taylor is heating up at the right time, evident in his seven three’s against Nebraska in the blowout win. In the first meeting between these two, a four-point Houston win, Taylor scored 34 points, can he handle the Cougars top ranked defense again?

Houston vs. Texas A&M Prediction and Pick

I believe that Texas A&M can keep up with the Cougars considering the two have very similar play styles. 

Let’s start with the first meeting. The Aggies lost by four on a neutral floor (in Houston) without Tyrece Radford as Taylor did much of the heavy lifting. Despite leading by double digits, Texas A&M rallied late to cover the 6.5-point spread. Now, with Radford healthy, and the team’s offense playing its best, I like Texas A&M to hang around. 

The team’s season-long stats show a poor shooting offense, but Buzz Williams’ group makes up for it in other areas. The unit is 329th in effective field goal percentage on the year but is top 20 in turnover percentage and has the highest offensive rebounding rate in the entire country. Further, the Aggies are seeing a big hoop right now, 151st in eFG% since the beginning of March, coinciding with a 6-1 record. 

It also helps that Taylor and the Aggies have seen this aggressive trapping defense, turning it over 11 times (18%) in the first game. While that’s above the season-long average, it’s merely at the national level. 

Further, I struggle to see Houston running away from the Aggies in this one. The team is outside the top 200 in effective field goal percentage and will need to hit shots from the perimeter to pull away against Texas A&M’s compact zone defense. Further, the team’s defensive scheme leaves forwards near the hoop, able to clean the glass at an above-average clip (119th in defensive rebounding percentage) Houston is reliant on winning the shot volume battle, but Texas A&M has the edge in this regard as the Cougars scrambling defense leaves them vulnerable on the back end (223rd in dREB%). 

Lastly, in a game that may be decided late, Houston shoots 69% from the charity stripe. 

This game will go down to the wire. 

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.