Memphis vs. Houston prediction, odds: Bet on the underdog

Not many teams in the American Athletic Conference have had success against Houston over the past two seasons. The one team that has played the Cougars tough is Memphis. The Tigers are 2-2 in their past four games against Houston, with one of the losses coming by two points.

Memphis gets another shot at the AAC kings on Sunday, and though they might not get the win on the road, I believe the Tigers can stay within the double-digit point spread.

One reason Memphis has given Houston problems is because it’s the only team in the conference that can match up with the Cougars athletically. Penny Hardaway’s highly rated recruiting classes give Memphis a fighting chance against the most talented team in the AAC.

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Outside of offensive rebounding, in which Houston has a big edge, this game looks pretty even on paper. Both offenses get a majority of their scoring from 2-point range, while these are two of the top 3-point defenses in the country. It will be strength versus strength in this matchup.

One area in which the Tigers hold an edge is free-throw attempts per game. Memphis ranks 92nd in free-throw scoring rate and 71st in foul shots attempted per game. Houston’s aggressive defense tends to foul a lot, ranking 212th in opponent’s free-throw attempts per game. In their two wins over Houston last season, the Tigers shot 34-for-39 from the free-throw line, compared to the Cougars’ 16-for-26.

Betting on College Basketball?

Houston can really pound teams at home, but given the Tigers’ recent success against the Cougars, I don’t see them being intimidated. I’ll back the Tigers to keep this game within the number.

The play: Memphis, +14.5.

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