NCAA Basketball Picks: Give The Points When Houston Visits Cincinnati In Low Scoring Game

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 11:38 AM GMT

Two hot teams in the AAC meet up in this Wednesday. Our handicapper analyzes the recent trends to find value for tonight's card and your NCAA basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Houston +9
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

NCAA Basketball Odds Overview
In a fantastic early season American Athletic Conference matchup on Wednesday night we have the surprising Houston Cougars (13-2, 3-0) trying to keep their perfect conference record intact as they take on the Cincinnati Bearcats (12-5, 2-2) in Cincinnati. Houston is tied for first in the AAC with their conference record, behind only #10 ranked SMU and their perfect 15-0, 4-0 record. Cincinnati needs this win to stay in the hunt, as they are tied for sixth in the AAC. The Bearcats are favored at home in this game according to NCAA basketball odds boards – favored by 6.5 points at Heritage.

 

Houston Cougars
Houston has played quite a soft schedule to date en route to their 13-2 overall record. Their losses are quite surprising as well and belong to Rhode Island and Grand Canyon University. Both of those programs have gone on to fantastic starts; however, and have continued on to 10-6 and 15-2 records, respectively.

Houston has relied on stifling defense to propel themselves to a 14.7 points per game differential this year, and have kept three of their last four opponents at 50 points or less. In their last game against Tulane, the Cougars only allowed one player to score in double-digits and outrebounded their opponent 45-30 while adding six steals. Houston shot out to a 37-17 lead and didn’t let up, finally winning the game 63-45.

Houston’s sophomore guard, Rob Gray Jr., leads the team with 18.6 points per game and has not failed to score in double digits in all of the Cougar’s games this year. Senior forward, Devonta Pollard, has also been very consistent in his performances and averages 14.1 points per game while adding 6.1 rebounds. Another senior (redshirt Junior, I guess), guard Damyean Dotson, also averages in double digits for the Cougars this year while logging 28.5 minutes per game. Eleven out of fifteen of the players on Houston’s roster are upper classmen, so this is an experienced squad.

 

Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati started this season unranked, and after a 7-0 start, rose to #17 in the national rankings. Then came a disastrous stretch where the Bearcats lost to Butler, Xavier, Iowa State, and Temple all within a few weeks. Now Xavier and Iowa State are highly ranked teams, so no shame in those losses, but the other losses to unranked teams knocked Cincinnati out of the Top 25.

Cincinnati is coming off of a strange game in which they didn’t score a field goal for the last ten minutes of the game – and still won. Such is the luxury of a team that has the best defense in the conference. After gong up 53-38 in the second half against South Florida on Sunday the well went dry for the Bearcats and they were able to coast to the finish with a strong effort on the defensive side of the court.

 

Betting Analysis
The series trends between these two teams definitely favors Cincinnati. The Bearcats own a 7-0 SU record against Houston with an 11.1-point differential in those games. However, Houston owns a 4-3 ATS record in those games including 3 of the last four matchups and both of the last games in Cincinnati.

With both of these teams excelling on defense, this should be a low scoring affair which has me liking all of the points that Houston is getting in this matchup for my NCAA basketball picks. The upper classman of the Cougars will bring a steady hand to this road game as well. I’m expecting Cincinnati to come out tight after their weird game in South Florida, which should give us enough leeway to take Houston and 6.5 points at Heritage as one of our Wednesday NCAAB Picks.

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