The Houston Cougars take on the Cincinnati Bearcats. Check out our college basketball odds series for our Houston Cincinnati prediction and pick. Find out how to watch Houston Cincinnati.
The college basketball season involves a number of notable plot points, and one of them is if Houston — which gained a No. 2 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament — can take the next step and gain a No. 1 seed for the 2023 edition of the Big Dance. It’s certainly possible. Houston has lost only one game to this point in the season, and that one loss was against a very good Alabama team which is a legitimate SEC championship contender.
The problem for Houston in getting a No. 1 seed is that any loss to an AAC opponent will significantly undercut the Cougars’ chances of getting that top seed. Including the AAC Tournament (three additional games beyond the AAC regular season), Houston can probably afford to lose only one game if we’re being completely honest. Two losses might be too much. There’s real value for Houston in making sure it doesn’t take a day off in the AAC schedule. The Cougars are a hard-working team which depends on its effort and its defense to win, but human nature being what it is, there will still be a temptation to get bored against ordinary AAC opponents such as Cincinnati. The Bearcats are 11-5 with no high-end wins. Their best win might be over Bryant, and if not that, Tulane. The Bearcats have lost to Northern Kentucky and Temple. In this and many other AAC games this season, Houston’s toughest opponent will be Houston, not anyone else.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Houston-Cincinnati College Basketball odds.
College Basketball Odds: Houston-Cincinnati Odds
Houston Cougars: -10.5 (-104)
Cincinnati Bearcats: +10.5 (-118)
Over: 134.5 (-114)
Under: 134.5 (-106)
How To Watch Houston vs. Cincinnati
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. PT
*Watch Houston-Cincinnati LIVE with fuboTV (Click for free trial)*
Why Houston Could Cover the Spread
Houston is a dramatically better team than Cincinnati, much as Houston is a far better team than any AAC school other than Memphis. It’s really that simple. If you need proof, though, look at the teams Houston and Cincinnati have played and beaten (and lost to). Houston’s only loss was a game in which it led Alabama by 15 and imploded late. The Cougars have blown out several opponents. In their most recent game, they uncorked a quick 20-2 run and got on top of SMU, winning by 34 points, 87-53. If you are thinking Houston might get bored and might play down to the level of its competition — thereby enabling Cincinnati to cover the spread in this game — that SMU wipeout suggests otherwise. As long as Houston plays anywhere close to its potential and its capacities, the Cougars should cover what seems like a modest spread in this game.
Why Cincinnati Could Cover the Spread
The argument that Houston won’t get bored and won’t play down to its competition is refuted by one specific example: Houston played with its food and messed around on December 31 against Central Florida at home. The Cougars got off to a decent start and built a nine-point lead but then lost the plot for several minutes. UCF gained a four-point lead in the second half before Houston rallied. The Cougars won, but by only six points, and they didn’t come close to covering the spread. That’s the kind of game Houston needs to guard against, and it’s probably going to occur at least a few times this season. If it occurs here, Cincinnati — playing at home — is in position to keep the game close and cover.
Final Houston-Cincinnati Prediction & Pick
Houston’s flirtation with problems against UCF was squarely in mind when the Cougars played a focused 40-minute game against SMU. If Houston plays with that same start-to-finish focus, it should cover. Take Houston.
Final Houston-Cincinnati Prediction & Pick: Houston -10.5