NCAAM Pick November 29, 2020 – Texas Tech Red Raiders at Houston Cougars

Our red-hot start to the college hoops season continued yesterday as we picked up a couple more wins. One of our winners came when we backed the Arkansas Razorbacks against the Mean Green of North Texas. In my estimation, there isn’t a single team in the nation that is more underrated right now than Eric Musselman’s Arkansas squad. I didn’t love laying -8-points against a North Texas Tech that is likely to compete for the Conference USA title this year, but at the end of the day, I felt that Arkansas was going to win this game fairly easily, and by double-digits. So, I laid a little wood and backed the ‘Backs.

And that is exactly what happened. The Razorbacks were just too tough on the defensive side of the ball for North Texas to hang with them. The Razorbacks blocked 8 shots and had 9 steals while holding the Mean Green to just 36% shooting from the field and 15% shooting from beyond the arc. Musselman is known for his prolific offensive attack, but it was the D that got it done last night.

Arkansas jumped out to an 11-point first-half lead and coasted to a 69-54 victory, easily covering the spread and cashing our ticket. If the Razorbacks aren’t on your radar right now, you need to take notice of this team. They are talented, athletic, and painfully underrated. Not only do I think this team is going to find themselves in the top-25 very soon, I think that they are going to compete at the top of the SEC for the regular-season league title.

The college basketball season has been quite kind to us in this first week of action as we are winning at an absurd 86% rate, with an ROI of 63%. It’s always best to strike when the iron is hot, and we will be right back at it today chasing value when we break down all of the action in a blockbuster non-conference matchup between Texas Tech and Houston!

Today’s Game

  • #14 Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-0) at #17 Houston Cougars (2-0)
  • Dickies Arena, Fort Worth
  • 2:30 PM PST
  • TV: ESPN

There is a showdown in the Lone Star State today as the Texas Tech Red Raiders square off with the Houston Cougars in Fort Worth. Both teams are ranked in the top-25 of both major polls, and both have aspirations of deep runs in March. The Red Raiders are 2-0 to start the season with wins over Northwestern State and Sam Houston State and would love a resume-building win over a tough Houston team tonight.

For Houston, the Cougars are also 2-0, with their wins coming over the likes of Lamar and Boise State. Texas has a lot of basketball talent this year, with Texas Tech, Texas, Houston, and Baylor all ranked inside the top-25 right now. Whichever team wins today can lay stake to the claim of being the best team in the state.

Spread:

  • Texas Tech Red Raiders (-2.5)
  • Houston Cougars (+2.5)
Money line:

  • Texas Tech Red Raiders (-148)
  • Houston Cougars (+123)
Total Points:

  • Over 129 (-110)
  • Under 129 (-110)

#14 Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-0)

If you look at the AP Poll, Texas Tech is a fringe top-10 team. If you dig a little deeper and look at kenpom, the Red Raiders are in the top-5 and look like a national championship contender. I tend to lean towards kenpom’s opinion of the Red Raiders, as I think Chris Beard has another Final Four level team on his hands.

The addition of Georgetown transfer Mac McClung gives Texas Tech a verified sharpshooter to run the offense. Through his first two games in Lubbock, McClung is averaging 19 points a game and is shooting 66% from three-point land. He has 5 assists and has yet to turn over the ball. The other big addition that excites me for this Red Raiders team is freshman Micah Peavy. Peavy was a heavily recruited guard and gives Beard an elite perimeter defender.

#17 Houston Cougars (2-0)

The Houston Cougars aren’t getting as much love as they deserve playing in the AAC, but this is a quality basketball team. Kelvin Sampson has got this program playing at a high level and has proven once again that he is one of the best coaches in the country. Sampson took the Oklahoma Sooners to the NCAA tournament in 9 out of his 10 seasons as head coach, and he took Indiana dancing in both of his seasons coaching in Bloomington.

It took him a couple of seasons to turn this Houston program around, but they went to the tournament in two straight years and were locks to make that three straight last year had the tournament not gotten canceled. In the past four years, the Cougars have flown under the radar but finished the year ranked in the top-20 on kenpom in every season. Right now, they are ranked 17th by Pomeroy. If you don’t think this is an elite program, you need to get your eyes checked, they are playing ball down in Houston!

Who Do I Like?

I am very high on both of these teams. But I do see Texas Tech as the better overall team. Houston is going to be a second-weekend team in March, they are that good. But Texas Tech could be a third-weekend team in the Big Dance. This game is sure to be lower scoring and hard-fought as both of these teams get after it on defense.

But when I see that I can back the Red Raiders and lay less than a full possession’s worth of points, I just can’t pass it up. Neither of these teams have played anyone good this year, so this is going to be a major step up in competition for both teams, and with Beard being battle-tested in the Big 12, his team is going to be used to playing teams that are good. With Houston playing in the much weaker AAC, they aren’t as accustomed to playing elite competition, and that is going to hurt them tonight.

The Bet

We are going to sweat this one out all game long. Both of these teams have talent, and with the game being played in Texas, both teams are going to be close to home. There isn’t a lot separating these teams right now, but my gut tells me that Chris Beard’s sqaud figures out a way to win this one.

This line will be in play the entire way out, but I am calling this one for Texas Tech, with a final score that looks a lot like 71-65, Red Raiders. Give me the Texas Tech Red Raiders tonight in a battle for bragging rights in the Lone Star State!

The Bet: Texas Tech Red Raiders -2.5

My Pick
Texas Tech Red Raiders -2.5
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL