UCF Knights vs. Houston Cougars Pick – NCAAM January 17, 2021

There is more college basketball on the docket following a monster card yesterday. Three ranked teams are scheduled to be out on the court on Sunday, with No. 5 Iowa the highest ranked team expected to play. No. 11 Houston and No. 20 Virginia Tech are also in action on Sunday. The big shocker on Saturday was in Minnesota at the University of Minnesota.

The red-hot Michigan Wolverines were in town and were humbled in a 75-57 loss against the Golden Gophers. I think Michigan might have been reading their press clippings just a little too closely. Despite the loss for Michigan, my opinion hasn’t changed regarding that squad. They are still incredibly good and will run deep in the NCAA Tournament. The Houston Cougars are one of three ranked teams scheduled to play on Sunday.

In a season marred by Covid-19, there is no guarantee that games will be played until the greenlight is officially given. We have four postponements currently on the board as of Sunday morning. Houston has been able to play 11 games, which is pretty dang good considering they are playing in a state with some of the worst Covid-19 numbers. Through those 11 games, Houston has lost just one game.

The Cougars were 65-64 losers against Tulsa on December 29 in a rare bad spot for Houston in 2020-21. Despite that loss, Houston has proven to be able to beat quality competition. They defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 64-53, following a good 68-58 win over the Boise State Broncos. In their first meeting against Central Florida, the Cougars were 63-54 winners on the road in Florida on December 26.

UCF is a 3-4 basketball team going into Sunday. They’re coming off a 62-55 loss against a bad Temple team on the road on Thursday. That is one of three straight losses for the Knights. The offense has been amongst the worst in the country, and it likely won’t get any better on the road in Houston this afternoon. Head below for our free UCF vs. Houston pick on January 17, 2021.

Central Florida Knights vs. Houston Cougars NCAA Betting Odds:

Spread:

  • UCF +14 (-110)
  • Houston -14 (-110)
Moneyline:

  • UCF +750
  • Houston -290
Total:

  • Over 130 (-103)
  • Under 130 (-117)

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UCF vs. Houston Prediction:

Houston is one of the trickiest defenses to operate against. They beat Texas Tech at their own game on 64-53 win on November 29 at home in Houston. They are one of eight teams that Houston hasn’t allowed to score more than 60 points or more. There hasn’t been one team that has been able to crack the Cougars’ defense for more than 70 points this season. It’s all added up to Houston conceding only 56.4 points per game defensively. Teams are connecting at a clip of just 36.5% from the field against Houston.

The offense hasn’t been particularly sharp for Houston, with 73.1 points scored per game for 160th in the NCAA. It explains how Central Florida was able to prevent the first meeting against the Cougars from getting out of hand. However, Houston has been better at home offensively, while the UCF offense has been just as bad as at home. The Cougars are scoring 77 points per game in Houston in the 2020-21 campaign, and their defense has been slightly more effective with 55.4 points against per game.

I’m expecting guard Quentin Grimes to have another big game on Sunday afternoon. Grimes leads Houston with 17.7 points per game. It’s hard to find really good free throw shooters on the college hardwood, but Grimes has been one of the best I’ve seen this season. It’s like trying to find a good college football kicker At 88.9% from the charity stripe, Grimes makes the most out of his free trips to the line. The Cougars are coming off a 71-50 win over Tulane. I see a carbon copy of that game if Houston is interested in playing on Sunday. With a point spread of 14 points, that would be enough for the cover.

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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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