Houston vs. Temple – NCAAM Pick – Tuesday, January 7

There are a number of intriguing tilts to consider on the jam-packed Tuesday night College Basketball slate. Our attention is drawn to a meeting of a pair of American Athletic Conference rivals in Philadelphia. The Houston Cougars hit the road to take on the Temple Owls as slight favorites.

The Cougars have been cruising of late and enter this contest riding a five-game winning streak. Four of the victories over that span have been of the double-digit variety. The Owls haven’t fared as well recently. They’re 3-2 over the last five and looking to bounce back from a blowout loss last time out.

Conference play is just getting underway. Houston won their first AAC game of the season last time out, while Temple checks in at 1-1 versus familiar foes. While it’s still early in the season, the intensity ratchets up with each contest from here on out. Let’s take a look at the matchup in full detail, starting with the current game lines.

Houston Cougars vs. Temple Owls, 7 PM EST, CBSSN


  • Houston -2.5 (-107)
  • Temple +2.5 (-113)
Money line:

  • Houston -135
  • Temple +115
Total Points:

  • Over 136 (-115)
  • Under 136 (-105)

Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag

Houston vs. Temple Pick:

The Cougars were last on the court on Friday as they welcomed UCF to town. They were 9-point favorites at tipoff, and held a tight 37-33 lead at the half. Houston managed to take control after the break and would go on to win by a final score of 78-63. Nate Hinton dropped 20 points and snagged 16 boards in the victory, while DeJon Jarreau chipped in with 12 points and four assists.

The Owls have also been off since last Friday. They traveled to Tulsa to face off with the Golden Hurricane as 2.5-point favorites. That would prove to be a bad number. Tulsa dominated the action and held a 35-17 lead at the half. The Golden Hurricane didn’t let up the rest of the way as they cruised to a 70-44 win. Quinton Rose led the Owls in scoring with 12 points.

Rec. Conf. STK STD Polls
Houston 11-3 1-0 W5 1-AAC NA
Temple 9-4 1-1 L1 2-AAC NA

It was a slow start to the season for Houston as they opened up at 2-2. The final game of that run was a 78-66 defeat at the hands of Oregon. The club got it together and ripped off four wins from there. The streak was snapped with a 6-point home defeat to Oklahoma State. The Cougars have bounced back and won five straight since then, a span which included winning the Diamond Head Classic tournament.

Temple burst out of the gates with four consecutive victories. The streak would come to an end at the hands of Maryland in the opener of the Orlando Invitational. The Owls would go on to place 5th in the tournament. The club was 6-1 after the tourney, but they have leveled off and gone 3-3 since then. The upset at the hands of Tulsa was the team’s worst defeat of the season.

PPG PtsAll FG%
HOU 77.2 65.3 44.2
TEM 69.8 62.5 40.8
43.0 13.6 5.5
40.6 14.9 2.8
4.9 71.8 35.5 12.1
8.5 66.7 32.5 13.2

Houston has the overall edge on offense. Temple is slightly stronger defensively on a points per game basis, but the Cougars are better in the paint and off the glass. The Owls get the edge when it comes to steals, but the Cougars are the sharper shooting team across the board. On paper, Houston is the stronger overall squad. Temple is 4-1 at home this season, while the Cougars are 2-1 on the road.

Quentin Grimes leads Houston in scoring on the year with an average of 14.8 points per game. Hinton is next up with an average of 12.7, and he also leads the team in boards with 9.7 per contest. Jarreau is tops in assists with 3.4 per game, and he also chips in 8.4 points per game. Grimes and Hinton top the rotation with 30.9 and 29.8 minutes respectively. Four other Cougars average 20+ minutes per game.

Rose leads the way on offense for Temple with an average of 14.1 points per game. He also leads in assists with 4.0 per contest. Nate Pierre-Louis is tops in boards per game with 8.8, and he also adds in 10.6 points per game. Rose and Louis top the rotation with both averaging 30+ minutes per game. Only two other Temple players are averaging 20+ minutes per contest.

Recent History

Over the last 10 meetings between these two programs, Houston holds a 7-3 advantage. The teams hooked up twice last season, splitting the contests with the home side winning each time. Temple picked up a 73-69 win at home, and Houston would return the favor with a 73-66 victory of their own.

For the season to date, the Cougars are 8-6 against the spread and 8-6 on the Over/Under. The Owls are 7-6 ATS and 3-10 on totals.

Since 2017, Houston is 14-3 straight-up as a road favorite and 11-6 ATS. Temple is 1-4 overall as a home underdog over that span and 2-3 ATS.

The Verdict

Houston enters this game riding high off of a five-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Temple is looking to bounce back from an embarrassing blowout road loss. They get the benefit of being back home for this one, and we can expect a more inspired effort.

However, that doesn’t offset the fact that the Cougars are the stronger overall team. The offense is more crisp, they’re the better shooting team across the board, and they have the more balanced rotation. Houston picks up the road victory and gets the cover in what should be an entertaining and competitive game.

The Bet
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Chris Feery / Author

Chris has been covering sports professionally since 2014. Initially focused on the NFL and College Football, he has branched out to cover all of the other major team sports such as MLB, NHL, NBA, and College Basketball. Chris also has extensive experience in the world of fantasy sports. His work has been recognized on two separate occasions by the Fantasy Sports Writer's Association. From parlays to power rankings and previews to picks, Chris prides himself on delivering exceptional content with actionable information.