Houston vs. Texas odds, props, predictions: Longhorns look for big-time Big 12 win against visiting Cougars

The biggest game of the night in college basketball features in-state rivals Houston and Texas facing off. The Cougars are just a half-game back of first place in the conference, while Texas desperately needs to win this game as they already have four conference losses. Houston has won four in a row coming into tonight’s matchup, while Texas has lost three of their last five.

The Longhorns are 6-14 against the spread this season and have struggled to live up to preseason expectations. They have only covered the spread once in their last five tries, but the one cover was a win as a 4.5-point underdog over Oklahoma. The Texas offense has been hot recently, hitting the OVER for total points in six of their last seven.

Houston has been the better spread bet, going 11-9 ATS this season. Over their current four-game winning streak, they have covered three of their last four. They differ from Texas as defense is their calling card, and in four of their last six contests, the UNDER for total points has hit.

This is the first of two matchups for the Cougars and Longhorns this season. Here is the Houston vs. Texas betting news, player props and a betting prediction for tonight’s Big 12 matchup. The game tips off at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

Live odds for Houston vs. Texas

Here are the spread, moneyline and total points live odds for Houston vs. Texas at the best online sportsbooks.

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Houston Cougars betting news

The Cougars are among the best teams in college basketball and have been one of the most consistent. Outside of a short two-game skid near the start of Big 12 play, Houston has been flawless. It all starts with their defense, which ranks first on Kenpom for adjusted efficiency. They suffocate their opponents and make every point scored against them a challenge.

While they have an excellent defense as usual, their offense is as good as any Houston team in the past decade. They rank 14th for adjusted offensive efficiency and have played the 66th-ranked strength of schedule. So, the Cougars have put together impressive defensive and offensive rankings and have done well against some of the best competition in the nation.

Their leading scorer, L.J. Cryer (15.2 PPG), is an excellent free throw shooter (88.2%) and a strong three-point shooter (38.7%). It is not a one-man show, though, as the Cougars have two more players averaging double figures. Emanuel Sharp (12.2 PPG) and Jamal Shead (11.7 PPG) provide consistent production, and Shead also leads the team in assists with 5.9 APG.

The team’s defensive stats are pretty crazy, as all eight players are averaging at least 15 minutes per game and average at least 0.8 steals per game. Six average over 1.0 per game, and Jamal Shead averages 2.3 per contest. If there is an area for improvement, it would be in shooting efficiency, as only one of the Cougars’ top five scorers shoots better than 50% from the field.

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Texas Longhorns betting news

The Longhorns’ start to conference play has not been good, as they have a 3-4 Big 12 record. That came after a 12-2 start to the season, but add in conference play, and Texas now sits 14-6. The Longhorns are not losing by much but are struggling to finish games. All four of their conference losses have been by 12 or fewer points, two by less than six.

The problematic side of the floor for Texas is the defensive end. The Longhorns offense ranks 26th on Kenpom for adjusted defensive efficiency, but their defense is far behind, ranking 73rd for adjusted efficiency. While Texas ranks 87th for overall strength of schedule, their nonconference strength of schedule ranks 305th. It is fair to ask whether the Longhorns’ nonconference schedule prepared them for the grind of Big 12 play.

The Longhorns have plenty of talent, and now that they have taken a few tough losses, the question is whether they can bounce back and start to win some close games. They will look to Max Abmas to play better late in games and hope he can deliver. Abmas, a transfer from Oral Roberts using his COVID year to play a fifth season of college hoops, is an elite scorer.

He averaged 24.5, 22.8 and 21.9 PPG in his sophomore through senior seasons at Oral Roberts. While only averaging 17.6 PPG this season at Texas, he has improved his efficiency, shooting better from three and the field than his career averages. His per-game volume is down, though, and if the Longhorns want to start winning close games, it would be smart to get Abmas a few more looks in crunch time. 

Houston vs. Texas player props at FanDuel Sportsbook

Here are some of the top player prop markets for Houston vs. Texas from FanDuel Sportsbook.

L.J. Cryer prop bets

  • 14.5 points OVER (-104) / UNDER (-125)

Dylan Disu prop bets

  • 14.5 points OVER (-128) / UNDER (-102)
  • 5.5 rebounds OVER (-114) / UNDER (-114)

Max Abmas prop bets

  • 15.5 points OVER (-120) / UNDER (-108)

J’wan Roberts prop bets

  • 10.5 points OVER (-108) / UNDER (-120)
  • 6.5 rebounds OVER (-132) / UNDER (+100)

Emanuel Sharp prop bets

  • 9.5 points OVER (-118) / UNDER (-110)

Jamal Shead prop bets

  • 11.5 points OVER (-125) / UNDER (-104)
  • 4.5 assists OVER (-125) / UNDER (-106)

Houston vs. Texas prediction: Texas covers the spread

The Cougars are a road favorite in tonight’s matchup, and while they very well could win, remember that even in losses, Texas has been keeping it close. The Longhorns should be playing with a little more urgency. They might even pull off an upset but shouldn’t lose by double digits.

Pick: Texas

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