Tuesday night is full of exciting matchups around the country, as the college basketball season is heating up with the conference action. Houston heads to Tulsa for the American Athletic Conference showdown at Donald W. Reynolds Center, so here’s my best betting pick along with the latest odds on BetMGM Sportsbook.
The Cougars and Golden Hurricane will meet each other for the third time this calendar year after splitting their previous two encounters. Houston has won six of its last seven games against Tulsa, so the Cougars will look to extend their dominance and remain the top-5 team in the nation.
The Cougars eye their eighth straight win of the season
The Houston Cougars are 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference play. They enter Tuesday’s clash as No. 5 in the AP Top 25 Poll and No. 8 in the KenPom rankings, so it’s fair to say that Houston is one of the legitimate championship contenders.
The Cougars have the 12th-best defensive rating in the country (89.2) and the 13th-best offensive rating (112.4). They surrender just 54.6 points per game while scoring 75.0 in a return.
Houston leans on a tough D. The Cougars shoot just 41.7% from the field (258th in the nation), but they allow the fewest field-goal attempts per game, while their opponents make only 36.7% of those shots (18th).
Over their last three showings, the Cougars limited their rivals below 56 points. Quentin Grimes is their top scorer with 18.4 points per game, while Marcus Sasser tallies 15.2 points per contest. The Cougars mostly use nine players in their rotation and possess great depth besides lack of height in the frontcourt.
Tulsa surprisingly won three straight games
After going 1-3 through their first four games of the season, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane have won three straight games including a 56-49 victory as 9.5-point underdogs at the Memphis Tigers. They are coming off a 102-45 victory over SW Christian University, but the Eagles are not a proper benchmark of Tulsa’s ability.
The Golden Hurricane use nine guys in their rotation, too. Brandon Rachal leads the way with 13.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, while Elijah Joiner adds 9.5 points, 5.5 boards, and 4.2 dimes a night.
Tulsa scores only 101.5 points per 100 possessions (152nd in the league) while surrendering 92.6 in a return (39th). The Golden Hurricane rank 19th in opponent field goal percentage (36.8%) and 181st in opponent 3-point percentage (32.8%).Trends:
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games overall
- 5-1 ATS in the last six games against Tulsa
- 2-4 ATS in the last six outings as underdogs
The Winner Prediction
Tulsa lacks the offensive talent to cope with the Cougars’ D, but the Golden Hurricane could keep it close thanks to their defensive effort. These two teams know each other well, so I don’t feel comfortable with a 7.5-point spread.
As well as their next opponents, the Golden Hurricane limited their last three rivals below 56 points. Therefore, I don’t expect the Cougars to blow them away and easily cover the spread. Houston should win, but it will be a hard-fought battle.
Pick: Take Houston -5.5 at -160
The under has hit in nine of the Cougars’ last 12 games overall and nine of the Golden Hurricane’s previous 14 contests. Both teams love to play at a slow pace, averaging below 68 possessions per 40 minutes, so betting on the under seems like a sure shot.
Furthermore, the under is 3-1 in the last four encounters between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane. Considering their defensive displays over the last few weeks, we should see a proper low-scoring contest.
Pick: Go under 128.5 points at -110