The No. 8 Cincinnati Bearcats (19-2, 8-0 AAC) put their 12-game winning streak on the line when they clash against the Houston Cougars (16-4, 6-2 AAC) at BB&T Arena. Cincinnati is an 11-point favorite on the opening line, while the Over/Under (O/U) for the game opened at 131.5 points. Action begins at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, and it can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
Houston Cougars at Cincinnati Bearcats Free Preview
The Cougars had no trouble getting past the South Florida Bulls in their last contest, 63-40. With 16 points and 11 rebounds, Houston’s Fabian White Jr. played well. Houston played a nearly flawless game. They had an offensive rebounding percentage of 31.4 (below their season average of 34.4) and an effective field goal percentage of 0.484 (below their season average of 0.537). For those same stats, South Florida was 16.7 and 0.330, respectively.
In the Bearcats last game, they defeated the Memphis Tigers, 62-48. Cincinnati rallied around Gary Clark, who was the teams leading scorer with 18 points on 5-for-14 shooting. The Bearcats held the Tigers to an effective field goal percentage of 0.344 (below their season average of 0.492) and an offensive rebounding percentage of 28.6 (below their season average of 36.1).
This battle pits one of the NCAA’s top offenses against one of its elite defenses as Cincinnati currently ranks 36th in offensive efficiency and Houston is 28th in defensive efficiency.
Both of these teams have a tendency to go under the O/U total. Games including Houston have finished under 62.5 percent of the time, while 64.7 percent of Cincinnati games have gone under. The Bearcats hold a clear advantage in both straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records. They are 19-2 SU and 11-7 ATS, while the Cougars are 16-4 SU and 9-7 ATS.
Both teams have had a player heat up over their last five games. For the Cougars, it’s been Corey Davis Jr. who has averaged 15.6 points, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals, while the Bearcats have received solid contributions from Clark (15.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals).
This is the first time these teams will go head-to-head this year. The Bearcats won both contests played against each other last season. In the last contest, Cincinnati won 65-47. The Bearcats dominated every facet of the game. They had a ridiculous offensive rebounding percentage of 38.7 and a free throw rate of 0.172. For those same stats, the Cougars recorded marks of 15.2 and 0.125, respectively.
Houston Cougars vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Prediction
Pick: SU Winner – Cincinnati, ATS Winner – Houston, O/U – Under
- The Bearcats rank 32nd in assists per game (16.7) while the Cougars rank 88th (14.9).
- Houston is 4-6 ATS on the road with 6 unders and 4 overs.
- Cincinnati is 5-3 ATS at home with 4 overs and 3 unders.
- Cincinnati ranks 20th in steals per game (8.2) while Houston ranks 117th (6.3).
- The Bearcats rank 17th in blocks per game (5.5) while the Cougars rank 108th (3.5).
- Cincinnati ranks 11th in rebounds per game (40.3) while Houston ranks 69th in rebounds allowed per game (32.9).
- Cincinnati is 4-1 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Houston is 3-2 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs.
- The Bearcats average margin of victory in their last five games has been 21.4, up from 20.7 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Cougars have scored an average of 75.4 points per game (3.0 below their season average) and allowed an average of 60.0 points per game (5.7 below their season average).