The Elite Eight is upon us and the top sportsbooks have released their odds for this Elite Eight match-up between Oregon State and Houston. For match-up-related reasons, you’ll want to play both the spread and the total for this game. Here’s how you can maximize your profit with a parlay.
Oregon State Beavers vs. Houston Cougars
Monday, March 29, 2021 – 7:15 P.M. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium
Defensively, Houston primarily wants to limit the opponent’s efficiency in front of the basket. The Cougars do not allow many field goal attempts at the rim, and they also allow the nation's 21st-lowest field goal percentage at the rim.
They achieve this interior supremacy by springing post traps. They’ll send a second defender to the post, have him stay there long enough to bother the potential scorer, and then have that extra defender release and return to his man. Houston will also double team an opponent driving inside in order to prevent him from having an easy path to the basket.
Oregon State Offense vs. Houston Defense
Since Houston wants to protect the rim at all costs, I look to fade an offense that relies on scoring at the rim. But keep in mind for your online sports betting that Oregon State is not such an offense. The Beavers attempt the 80th-lowest rate of field goal attempts at the rim in the nation. Instead, the Beavers are filled with spot-up shooters who are adept in the mid-range game and from behind the arc.
Offenses characterized by strong jump-shooting have lately and consistently given the Cougar defense trouble. In the NCAA Tournament, Rutgers almost pulled off a significant upset partly by converting seven of its 16 three-point attempts. Memphis is another recent squad that succeeded from behind the arc against Houston’s defense, in order to easily cover the spread. It is true that Syracuse did not perform well from behind the arc against Houston. Its better shooters — especially top scorer Buddy Boeheim — were simply off on Saturday.
What I like about the Beaver offense is that it is not too reliant on a single guy to shoot. That being said, one key Beaver to know is Jarod Lucas, who is converting 38.8 percent of his three-pointers from behind the arc but is also efficient pulling up inside the arc. Two other Beavers are converting over 70 percent of their three-point attempts this season. Go to 12 seconds in the following video to see the Beavers in action:
Notice the constant off-ball movement, the bevy of screens being set for Beaver players moving without the ball. What this incessant movement does is force the defense to communicate — notice all of the talking and pointing that Duck defenders are having to do in order to keep track of the potential Beaver shooters.
Finally, Ethan Thompson sneaks into an open space where he stands ready to catch the pass off of the inside-out play initiated by his teammates. The post-trap and, overall, the double-teaming that Houston likes to accomplish will further allow Beaver players to get open.
Also, Houston’s aggressiveness on defense causes it to foul at an extremely high rate. So we could see something like the Oklahoma State or Loyola Chicago games where the Beavers’ characteristic efficiency on the free throw line gives it a tremendous scoring boost.
Houston Offense vs. Oregon State Defense
Defensively, the Beaver style is characterized by being difficult to characterize. Expect to see some man and some different kinds of zone. The Beavers will switch styles between possessions, and they will even also switch in the same possession.
For their last game, the Beavers relied on specific zone defenses in order to take away Loyola Chicago’s most important offensive player, a big man who lives inside the arc. But the Beavers can account for other offenses that have different focal points. It’s no coincidence that Beaver opponents in March are consistently struggling to knock down their three-point attempts.
Nationally, Oregon State ranks 23rd in limiting the opponent’s three-point percentage. The Beavers use their unique length — they rank 22nd in height -- and will adjust their defensive style. Perimeter defense will be crucial against a Cougar offense that attempts three-pointers at the nation’s 56th-highest rate.
Defensively, Oregon State struggles the most when it tries to protect the rim. For all of their length, the Beavers lack defenders who ably block or deter shot attempts at the basket without fouling. Houston, though, isn’t built to take advantage. Its most dangerous slasher, DeJon Jarreau, wants to drive inside primarily to kick it back out or otherwise facilitate. Note for your best bets that, overall, the Cougars attempt very little at the rim.
With its spot-up shooting, Oregon State mirrors previous offenses that have hurt the Cougar defense. While the Beavers can rely on multiple shooters, the Cougars will lean heavily on one, Quentin Grimes. Between Grimes’ ability to create his own shot, Houston’s second-chance points via characteristically strong offensive rebounding, and Oregon State having more free throws to attempt, these two teams will go “over.”
For the above reasons, expect the “over” to hit in addition to the Beavers covering their seventh-straight game. I recommend parlaying the “over” with the Beavers ATS at a sports betting site. Be sure to use our trusty parlay betting calculator for your parlay betting needs.
Best Bet: Parlay Beavers +8 at -115 & Over 129 at -110 at +257 with BookMaker (visit our BookMaker Review)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.