Can we start talking about Cincinnati as a national championship contender? The College Basketball odds for this team are looking good so far. The Bearcats are up to No. 5 in the country and are on a 16-game winning streak – but could be on upset alert Thursday at a very good AAC rival in Houston, which is right on the NCAA Tournament bubble. UC is a road NCAAB betting favorite.
College Basketball Odds & Betting Analysis: Cincinnati at Houstonwww.cbssports.com/watch/cbssportsnetwork/Radio: Bearcats IMG Sports Network (Cincinnati) / 790 AM (Houston)Opening College Basketball Odds: Cincinnati -2.5
First MeetingOn Jan. 31 in Cincinnati, the Bearcats won 80-70 but the score doesn’t tell the whole story. Jacob Evans III scored 18 points, hitting the pivotal shots during Cincinnati’s rally from an 18-point deficit. That was the biggest comeback in Coach Mick Cronin’s 12 seasons. After trailing 33-15, the Bearcats closed out the first half with a flourish that featured Evans’ steal and banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer. His 3 gave Cincinnati its first lead of the second half. Houston’s Rob Gray came in leading the AAC at 18.7 points per game but managed only nine on 4-of-15 shooting. Corey Davis Jr. led the Cougars with 18 points. UH fell to 0-16 on the Bearcats’ home court and 2-30 overall against Cincinnati.
Why Bet on Cincinnati?The Bearcats (23-2) won their 16th straight game on Sunday, trashing a pretty good SMU team 76-51 on its own floor. Kyle Washington scored 17 points on 8-of-12 shots and had eight rebounds in his 18 minutes. UC missed its first seven shots in the game, but was down only 5-2 when they finally scored just more than 3 minutes in on a dunk by Nysier Brooks. That started a 9-0 run that put them ahead to stay, and they had as much as a 35-point lead midway through the second half after a span of making 11 of 13 shots. It was SMU’s worst loss ever in the AAC.Cincinnati’s No. 5 ranking is the school’s highest since the end of the 2001-02 season. The Bearcats are one of three teams in the nation with only two losses on the season, along with No. 1 Virginia (23-2) and No. 3 Villanova (23-2). UC’s current 39-game home-court win streak ranks as the nation’s longest. The Bearcats are the first team in AAC history to start 12-0 in league play.Junior swingman Jacob Evans III (13.5 points with 4.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks) and senior forward Gary Clark (12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks) lead the team. Evans was named a finalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award while Clark was tabbed a finalist for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. Washington is averaging a team-high 13.2 points with 7.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting 55.0 percent (33 of 60) from the field over the last six games.The Bearcats boast one of the country’s toughest defenses, ranking first in field goal percentage defense (.361) and second in scoring defense (55.9 points allowed). UC also is posting the best offensive numbers of the Cronin coaching era in points (76.5 per game), three-point percentage (.363) and assists per game (16.6).
Why Bet on Houston?The Cougars (19-5) won their third straight Sunday, 73-42 over Tulane. The Cougars capped a 10-0 run with Fabian White Jr.’s dunk that made it 19-7 with 11:49 before intermission and the Cougars never looked back. Devin Davis scored 16 points, and Armoni Brooks had 11 points and 11 rebounds. For his impressive performances in home wins over SMU and Tulane, Brooks was honored as American Athletic Conference Player of the Week, a first in his career.Senior guard Rob Gray continues to lead the Cougars and ranks fourth in the league with 17.7 points per game. He also paces the team with 4.4 assists per game and is one of only two players to rank among the top-four leaders in both scoring and assists. Corey Davis Jr. leads The American with 2.7 3-point field goals made per game and ranks 29th nationally and fourth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (43.6).Houston and No. 19-ranked Wichita State are tied for second place in the AAC, both with 9-3 league records. Wichita will visit the Bearcats come Sunday. Houston also is 12-0 at home this season, including a 73-59 win on Jan. 20 over then-No. 7 Wichita State. Houston is playing home games this season at nearby Texas Southern University (H&PE Arena), with the Cougars’ Hofheinz Pavilion being renovated.Houston ranks second in the AAC in field goal percentage (.461), with UC ranking fourth (.455). The Cougars also are a bit better from 3-point range, ranking third in the AAC (.384). UC ranks fourth (.363). The Cougars have outrebounded all but four opponents in 2017-18. Their current rebounding margin of +6.4 is the largest since the 1982-83 team posted a margin of +9.2 and is the 13th highest mark in team single-season history.
Latest College Basketball Odds Trends
- Cincinnati is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
- Cincinnati is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Cincinnati’s last 6 games
- Houston is 4-1-1 ATS in its last 6 games
- Houston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Houston’s last 6 games