Memphis and Houston Home Chalks of Choice in AAC Duels

Jay Pryce

Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:02 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 1:02 PM UTC

Memphis is favored by a bucket over Central Florida, and Houston is a double-digit chalk hosting Tulane. Our best bets include a pick against the spread and one on the game total.

Sunday College Basketball: Central Florida vs. MemphisFree NCAAB Pick: Memphis -1.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Central Florida (14-9 SU, 10-8 ATS) averages 60.3 points per game on 40.1 percent shooting in conference road games all-time behind second-year head coach Johnny Dawkins. Teams are not going to win many games away from home scoring so few, unless they own a stellar defense. Dawkins does. They led the nation in field-goal percentage defense last season, helping them reach the NIT Final Four. This year’s unit may be even better.

The Knights rank No. 8 in the country in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency rankings, yielding 92.7 points per 100 possessions. Opponents own a paltry 44.3 effective field-goal rate. UCF is best protecting the rim, allowing just 50.6 percent to go in; the national average is closer to 59 percent. Junior Tacko Fall is the primary force in the paint. The 7-foot-6 center swats 1.9 shots per 21.9 minutes per game.

UCF is just 6-8 SU and ATS in road conference games since last year. Half (3) of the wins came when the Knights held the home teams to 58 points or fewer.

As home favorites, Memphis (14-10 SU, 9-12 ATS) has scored fewer than 60 points once (East Carolina, January 2017) since the NCAA sped up the shot clock in 2015. The Tigers opened as 1-point chalk on the college basketball odds board, adjusting to -2 in early wagering.

Memphis posts 69.4 points per game in AAC play. The offense has scored more than projected in every contest as the betting favorite by an average of 11.4 points per tilt (in regulation time). Averaging 83.2 points on 49.7 percent shooting, the Tigers are 4-1 SU and ATS in this situation. Expect a smaller final tally hosting the Knights, but with mirrored results. Memphis pushes 70 points, while Central Florida struggles to top 60. With your NCAAB picks, lay the bucket on the board.

Sunday College Basketball: Tulane vs. HoustonFree NCAAB Pick: Under 148.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Houston (18-5 SU, 10-8 ATS) is dangerously good. Trailing SMU 57-50 with nearly six minutes left in regulation Thursday, the Cougars exploded for a 17-1 run to make it a 67-58 win at the buzzer. The defense, which ranks 35th in the nation in adjusted efficiency, did not allow a field goal during the entire closing stretch. Not many teams can accomplish that, and just a select handful can do it against a top-tier program such as the Mustangs. The late victory preserved a 13-game home win streak for the Cougars.

Tulane (13-10 SU, 8-10 ATS), meanwhile, enters already besting their conference win total from last season (3-16), going 4-7 SU and 5-6 ATS overall. Longtime NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. is in charge, the offense re-energized with a more free-flowing pro-style scheme. The Green Wave average 74.0 points per game against AAC foes. Through 11 conference games last season, they posted a paltry 66.5 per tilt. Tulane, however, has yet to play the toughest defenses in the AAC with Central Florida and Cincinnati scheduled in March to close out the regular season.

Tulane won the first meeting over the Cougars 81-72 in New Orleans on January 17. Houston shot 34.7 percent from the floor, its lowest rate all season. Dunleavy’s squad matches up well, but will not come close to scoring as many points this time around at H&PE Arena. The Cougars allow opponents to hit just 38.2 percent from the floor in the building.

Houston, a 14-point favorite on the college basketball odds board, should cruise to victory and -- for your NCAAB picks -- the final score will stay "under" the total. The first matchup slipped into a foul fest late, with more than half of 24 points in the final three minutes coming from the charity stripe. There will be few stoppages at the end of this one with the Cougars winning by double digits.

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