Houston vs. Wichita State Odds
|Wichita State Odds||+7.5|
|Moneyline||-350 / +260|
|Time | TV||Thursday, 7 p.m. ET | ESPN2|
|Odds as of Thursday at 3 a.m. ET and via BetMGM.|
The Houston Cougars and Wichita State Shockers last faced each other on Jan. 6 in an intense showdown that ended in a 70-63 win for the home team Cougars. Expect another highly competitive bout in Thursday’s rematch between the two teams atop the American Athletic Conference standings.
There’s a lot at stake in this game, including Wichita State’s tournament hopes — and potentially the regular season conference championship.
Thursday’s game will feature plenty of back-and-forth, lead changes and momentum swings. The Shockers played the Cougars close on the road, which should instill plenty of confidence this time around at home.
These teams are on a roll: The Shockers have won six of their past seven games — including and active streak of four consecutive wins — while the Cougars have won 10 of their last 11.
Both teams have everything to play for, so strap in and brace for a rollercoaster rematch.
Houston Cougars | 17-2 (11-2 AAC)
Houston is led by its star junior guard and potential first-round NBA Draft pick Quentin Grimes, who averages more than 16 points per game. He also contributes heavily on the boards with over 6 rebounds per game.
Grimes’ rebounding acumen is reflective of the team as a whole. Most remarkably, Houston is fantastic on the boards despite its undersized roster (by traditional standards, at least). The Cougars’ tallest player is listed at 6-foot-8.
The Cougars have been covering machines, reporting a 7-1 against the spread (ATS) record in their previous eight games. Bettors who have been riding with the Cougars have been well-rewarded — minus the bizarre loss to East Carolina when they gave up 82 points.
Wichita State Shockers | 12-4 (8-2 AAC)
On the other side, Wichita State’s offensive juggernaut, Tyson Etienne, is looking to build on his breakout sophomore campaign. When Etienne shoots at least 10 times per game (with the exception of his ice cold game against Memphis), he is a lock for at least 20 points.
This is notable, because the Shockers are going to have to turn to Etienne early and often in order to garner offensive momentum. So, a 20-point night for Etienne seems likely.
Furthermore, the Shockers are 7-1 when Etienne goes for more than 20 points — and that one loss ironically came to Houston in a close battle on the road. The formula for success is there; the team just has to trust it.
Unlike Houston, Wichita State has been less successful against the spread. Nonetheless, but the Shockers have been squeaking out wins in crunch time, which demonstrates a high level of maturity. As a matter of fact, the Shockers have won their past two games by a combined total of only four points. The last time they won by double digits was on Jan. 13 against Tulsa.
The Shockers have made their way to second place in the conference solely on heart and maturity. There are no noteworthy statistics that indicate this team should have a chance to win the conference over the sixth-ranked Houston Cougars; yet, here they are.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Despite Houston’s tenacious defense, I am still a firm believer in betting the over here. During the first matchup between these teams, Wichita State shot 33.9% from the field and Houston shot 38.3%.
Each of those shooting performances fall woefully short of the teams’ season averages: Houston averages 42.1% from the field, and Wichita State shoots just under 40%.
Admittedly, Wichita State’s poor shooting performance may have been somewhat expected due to Houston’s defensive efficiency (7th in AdjD; 3rd in opponent 3P%, per KenPom). However, I do not expect the Cougars to be so cold from the field against a subpar Wichita State defense again.
Expect Houston to score in the upper 70s with Wichita State playing them within 10 points in a crucial game to decide the fate of the conference. My model predicts a score of 77-67 in favor of the Cougars. Take the over at 135.5.
Pick: Over 135.5 (Play to 138)