Houston vs Arizona betting picks are at the top of the agenda for Thursday night’s March Madness action.
The #5 Houston Cougars won their first two games in the tournament by an average of 14.5 points, while the #1 Arizona Wildcats needed overtime to get past #9 TCU after demolishing #16 Wright State in the first round.
The game between the two foes will tip-off at 9:59 p.m. ET inside AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas— the winner will earn a spot in the Elite Eight and face the winner of Villanova and Michigan.
Houston fans had a right to feel disrespected by their team’s fifth seed, as this Cougars team is one of the premier programs in the nation. They are exceptional defensively and also have multiple playmakers on offense, led by guard Kyler Edwards (13.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists) and forward Fabian White Jr. (13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds). The 31-5 Cougars are on a five-game win streak and have been in complete cruise control thus far in the tournament and are going to give Arizona all they can handle.
The Wildcats were near the top of the national rankings for the majority of the regular season and earned themselves a number-one seed after only losing three games all year en route to Pacific-12 regular-season and conference tournament championships. AU is on an eight-game win streak and, although they needed overtime to get into the Sweet 16, will be sharply focused and have the benefit of playing a close game. Bennedict Mathurin is averaging 24 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in March Madness and is the heart and soul of Arizona and can completely take over games when he is on.
Houston vs Arizona features two teams that are not all that dissimilar; both are defensive specialists that can crash the glass or push the ball in transition, although the Cougars do not have a player with the individual talents of Mathurin. The Wildcats’ sophomore guard could ultimately be the deciding factor in the impending matchup, as he showed in overtime against the Horned Frogs when he pushed a mostly dormant regulation aside and single-handedly won the extra period. Houston will be looking to defy most March Madness odds and continue its revitalization as a program in the 2020s.
Arizona went 19-15-2 against the spread this season and 18-14-2 as the favorite. Houston, meanwhile, was 24-12 ATS and 1-0 ATS as an underdog.
Arizona was 3-4 ATS at neutral locations and did not cover the spread in either of its first two matchups in the tournament. Houston was 8-1 ATS at neutral locations and covered the spread in both of its opening-weekend matchups.
The numbers point to the Cougars having a greater appeal in Houston vs Arizona betting, which is a notion they should validate when the two meet late Thursday night.