We tip off the Elite Eight with an exciting matchup between the Oregon State Beavers and Houston Cougars at Lucas Oil Stadium. Houston has been dominant all year long, while Oregon State has become the talk of the tournament with its Cinderella run to reach the Elite Eight as a No. 12 seed. The Beavers have won all three tournament games as an underdog and have all of the makings of a Final Four team. Tickets are coming in on the Beavers as the line has dropped from the original eight and a half points. On the other hand, Houston faces off against a double-digit seed for the fourth straight tournament game. The Cougars are a juggernaut that will be looking to put a resounding end to a magical run. It’s time to continue our NCAA odds series and make a Oregon State-Houston prediction and pick.
Here is how the sportsbooks have set the opening Oregon State-Houston odds.
NCAA Odds: Oregon State-Houston Odds
Oregon State Beavers +7 (-105)
Houston Cougars -7 (-115)
Over 129.5 Points (-11o)
Under 129.5 Points (-110)
Why Oregon State Could Cover The Spread
We have to give props where they are due. The Oregon State Beavers shocked the world by even getting into this tournament. They only got here because of three straight victories to win the Pac-12 Tournament, which granted them an automatic bid. There was no at-large potential for this team. What does that mean for the Beavers in this spot? They are now playing in their seventh straight win-or-go-home affair. Following a huge Sweet 16 victory where they held Loyola Chicago to just 58 points, the Beavers are riding all of the momentum in the world.
Oregon State excels at limiting opponents’ success from 3-land. The Beavers have held teams to just 29.8% from downtown, which was the best mark in the Pac-12. This bodes well against a Houston team that loves to let it fly from deep. The defense has kept the Beavers in games, but their shooting from the charity stripe has been the catalyst. Oregon State has hit 56-of-65 free throws in the tournament thus far. Senior Ethan Thompson (15.8 PPG) is the leader of this club and has been huge in tournament play. He is averaging 20.3 points per game and has hit 25 of his 26 free-throw attempts as well. Houston shot just 38.3% from the field against Syracuse and has struggled to get it going, which bodes well for the Beavers. Oregon State is 8-1 SU in its last nine, despite being the underdog in all of those games.
Why Houston Could Cover The Spread
The Cougars have been just as dominant in the tournament as they have been all year long. They have gotten a nice draw as well, facing their fourth straight double-digit seed in the tournament. They were tested in the three-point victory against Rutgers in the second round, but haven’t looked back since. There is no doubt that Houston will be the toughest test for the Beavers at this point. The Cougars have allowed the second-fewest points in the nation and Oregon State hasn’t shot consistently well in the tournament. Houston has dominated teams on the defensive end and on the glass in 2021.
The Cougars have allowed just 54.0 points per game in the tournament. They have an average rebounding margin of plus-11 and held Syracuse to a measly 28.0% from the field and 21.7% from beyond the arc. We know what this team will do on that end of the floor, so the only question is what will they do to pick apart a good defense on the other end. Quentin Grimes (18.0 PPG) is Houston’s leading scorer and has shot very well, knocking down at least four triples in six straight and eight of his team’s last nine games. Grimes will need to spread the floor and facilitate for the offense in transition. Houston’s game plan will be consistent: Lock down on defense, absolutely dominate the boards, and create high percentage looks in the half court. The Cougars are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 and have shown no signs of slowing down.
Final Oregon State-Houston Prediction & Pick
Don’t we all love Cinderella stories? I bet many of the tickets coming in on Oregon State are from casual fans who want to see the Beavers dance into the Final Four. This would be a great storyline, but the disparity in this matchup is clear as day. The Cougars have absolutely dominated all year long. They possess more talent, play with much more physicality, and will win the rebounding battle against Oregon State 10 times out of 10. Both teams play at a similarly slow pace, which gives Houston even more of an advantage. Don’t try to beat this team in the half court … just look how that turned out for the Syracuse Orange. Oregon State has struggled on the offensive end and now has to battle the toughest defensive team in the field.
FINAL PICK: Houston Cougars -7 (-115)