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Jarace Walker of the Houston Cougars drives the lane against Trey Robinson of the Northern Kentucky Norse and we offer our top odds and predictions for the March Madness game between Miami and Houston.
Jarace Walker of the Houston Cougars drives the lane against Trey Robinson of the Northern Kentucky Norse. Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images via AFP.

The Houston Cougars are heavily favored, but as a No. 1 seed, they're in the crosshairs of the fifth-seeded Miami Hurricanes. Read on for our Miami vs. Houston prediction based on the top NCAAB odds.

Two No. 1 seeds went down in the opening weekend of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, showing that nobody is truly safe this year. Houston, the top team in the Midwest Region, needs to pick up two wins in Kansas City to return home for the Final Four and a chance to complete a storybook season.

Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars reminded the rest of the field why they're the team to beat when they held Auburn to 23 points in the second half of their 81-64 win in the Round of 32.

However, Miami has a more lethal backcourt and is coming off wins over Drake and Indiana on the opening weekend. So, are the Hurricanes being disrespected by a 7-point betting line? 

Here is our best Miami vs. Houston prediction (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Miami vs. Houston odds

Miami vs. Houston prediction

Jarace Walker Over 11.5 points (-118 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The highest-ranked recruit in program history often flies a bit under the radar when talking about the Houston Cougars. We spent much of the opening weekend focusing on guards Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead, especially since both players dealt with injuries last week.

Assuming Sasser is closer to 100%, Miami’s defensive game plan will likely start with him. But I really like Walker’s game, and think he is in a position to have a big performance on Friday night.

Walker, a 6-foot-8 forward destined to hear his name called in this year’s NBA Draft, put on a show in the win over Auburn in the Round of 32. He collected 10 rebounds, blocked six shots, recorded two assists, and added seven points for good measure. 

I expect Walker to be more involved offensively against a Miami frontcourt that lacks the size and athleticism to slow him down. The Hurricanes, who prefer to hard hedge on ball screens, rank in the 55th percentile at defending the roll man in pick-and-rolls. They are also in the fifth percentile at defending post-ups and fourth percentile at stopping cuts, per Synergy Sports Technology.

Walker can score at three different levels and will be used in a variety of ways to get Houston’s offense going. During his 16-point performance against Northern Kentucky in the opening round, Walker scored eight points on cuts and six more on post-up plays.

This season, Walker is second on the team in scoring with an average of 11.1 points per game. He has cleared this scoring prop in three of his last four outings. For this four-star play, we like him to reach a dozen points against a Miami defense that is 246th at defending 2-point attempts this season. 

Check out our best March Madness odds and Wooden Award odds.

Miami vs. Houston best odds

FanDuel (-118)

Over 11.5 pointsOver 11.5 pointsOver 11.5 points

This line is only available at three of our top-rated sportsbooks. The odds grew slightly at DraftKings, but FanDuel has stood firm at -118.

This line is playable up to -130 or better before we’d consider passing on this prop at 11.5 points. The Cougars can sometimes struggle to score, but we believe Walker has enough mismatches for them to exploit against the Hurricanes.

Miami vs. Houston odds analysis

Houston opened as a 6.5-point favorite, but now bettors have to lay -7.5 with the favorite as most sportsbooks, with very few -7s available. The total has fluctuated between 138.5 and 139 and currently sits at the higher number as such sites as Caesars.

The Hurricanes are 20-14 against the spread and 18-15-1 to the Under so far this season. The Cougars have a 19-17 ATS clip with a 19-16-1 record to the Under.

Miami vs. Houston game info

  • Date: Friday, March 24, 7:15 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Location: T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, Mo.

Miami-Houston pick made 03/22/2023 at 7 p.m. ET.

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