Houston Cougars (5) vs. SMU Mustangs CBB Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions

January 2, 2021

Date:Sunday, January 3rd
Time:7:00 PM ET
Network:ESPN2
Venue:Moody Coliseum
Spread:Houston -2
O/U:136.5

The 7-1 Houston Cougars will go on the road Sunday night to face off with the 6-0 SMU Mustangs at 7:00 PM ET in Moody Coliseum. The Cougars come in as two-point road favorites and we’re looking at plenty of points with a 136.5 over/under. You can tune into this matchup on ESPN2 as the unranked team is just two-point dogs to the 5th-ranked squad in the nation. That’s not something you see very often in college hoops. Let’s dive into how this one will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of our CBB Picks and Predictions as we will be breaking down every big game. 

Trends

  • Cougars are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games as a road favorite.
  • Mustangs are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
  • Over is 11-4 in Mustangs last 15 games as an underdog.
  • Over is 8-3 in Mustangs last 11 Sunday games.

When The Houston Cougars Have The Ball

The Cougars will drop a bit from 5th in the country after losing to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane by a single point in their last game. They were previously unbeaten through seven games and look like a real contender come March. As a team, Houston is strong in the paint. They rank 47th in rebounds with 41 per game and 21st in blocked shots at 5.1. They don’t do much else, but Brison Gresham and Jamal Shead both average close to two blocks per contest. 

Offensively, the Cougars are led by SG Quentin Grimes. He’s improved substantially every year and looks to have turned another corner with 18.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.4 steals a game in 35 minutes of action. He’s complemented by guards Marcus Sasser (15 pts, 2.3 reb, 1.8 ast) and Tramon Mark (10.1 pts, 3.1 reb). Justin Gorham mans the middle and he’s already shown his upside with 14+ boards in two games to this point. Houston is a relatively small team that likes to work in the open floor. The SMU Mustangs team they are facing is absolutely no joke. 

When The SMU Mustangs Have The Ball

The Mustangs are 6-0 to this point, but they haven’t faced the stiffest of competition and tonight’s matchup with Houston will be their toughest yet. On paper, SMU looks like one of the best teams in the country. They’re averaging a whopping 84 points per game while shooting 48.1% from the field and 38.2% from three. Defensively, they block five shots per game and turn opposing teams over close to 20 times. The Mustangs have five different players averaging double-figures with another two sitting right below. 

It starts offensively with superstar PG Kendric Davis. He’s up to 19.2 points per game with 7.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds. He’s simply one of the more talented college basketball players and he gives SMU a huge spark. Emmanuel Bandoumel, Ethan Chargois, and Darius McNeill all compliment Davis with 10+ PPG while Chargois also grab seven boards. Down low, Feron Hunt (12 pts, 7.5 reb, 1.3 blk) and Yor Anei (8 pts, 4 blk) take care of business while Chargois will shift to the four on occasion. Anei isn’t able to play many minutes at this point, but he’s one of the best shot blockers I have ever seen bar none. He has insanely long arms and the instincts to use them effectively.

Spread Prediction

The Pick: SMU to win +160

Give me the Mustangs to upset the Cougars here as two-point underdogs. The argument against SMU is their strength of schedule, but we saw a very similar team in 2019 play strong against top-10 teams. The superstar is still there and he’s only gotten better this season. The surrounding guards can all shoot from the perimeter and I like SMU to eventually make some noise inside the top-25. Houston is a solid squad, but they rely too heavily on Quentin Grimes. When he goes cold, this offense doesn’t have an answer. Forget the spread and give me SMU to win this one outright. 

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Over 136.5
Final Score Prediction: SMU 72, Houston 71

This number is too low in my book and I’m a big fan of betting the over in this game. Both offenses like to play fast and neither defense is all that scary. Sure, they block shots, but these aren’t offenses that want to score in the paint anyway. Expect a flurry of threes from both sides and for each of these teams to go on big runs at times. There won’t be a ton of perimeter defense played in this one and both teams will be looking to avoid foul trouble. I expect both the winner and loser to eclipse 70 points, so this number is far too low for me. 

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