The February 15th Houston at SMU free pick is a good one with the #19 ranked Cougars just a -1.5 favorite at Southern Methodist. It’s one of those occasions where there does appear to be value on both teams.
Houston has won 8 of 9 and sits atop the AAC. The Cougars have also taken 5 straight in the series from SMU. Getting a win in Moody Coliseum hasn’t been easy for the opposition this season as the Mustangs have gone 13-1 on their home court and haven’t lost in Dallas during conference play. The total is also set at 137.
Cougars Look to Add Some Padding to AAC Lead
The American Athletic Conference is a tight one this season. Houston has gone 10-2 in conference play this season but still has three teams within 2 games of them for 1st place including Southern Methodist. The Cougars have won 8 of 9 heading into the February 15th Houston at SMU free pick, the only blemish being a 2 point loss at Cincinnati on February 1st.
What Kelvin Sampson’s team has mostly used on offense this season is balance. Five Cougars players average between 9 and 13 points on the season although Houston isn’t the best shooting team in the country at 43.5% from the field (193rd). As of late though, Quentin Grimes has heated up with 22 in the win over USF on Wednesday. It was his 3rd time in the last 5 going for 15+.
Grimes offensive surge has allowed Houston to eclipse the 75 point barrier in 2 of the last 3. Their calling card is still the defense that ranks 27th in the nation in scoring though at only 62.4 per. Opponents shoot just 37.7 from the field against Houston which is the 10th lowest in the country.
Does SMU Get the Edge at Home?
The Mustangs have been great at Moody Coliseum this season, going 7-3-1 ATS their last 11 at home. SMU did get blown out 74-91 by Georgetown back on December 7th though and as -4 point favorites.
SMU actually matches up well with Houston in areas besides just the location of the game. The Cougars have the best rebound rate in the country (56.8%), but SMU also has a +6 rebounding margin in their own rights. Houston can struggle with their shot at times, but the Mustangs rank 1st in the AAC in scoring, shooting, and three point percentage.
What Southern Methodist backers have to like ahead of Saturday’s game is that their offense has looked even greater as of late. SMU has scored 79+ in three straight and had two players tally 19+ on Wednesday in a win over Connecticut. One of those players, Kendric Davis, has gone for 18+ in 4 of the last 5.
February 15th Houston at SMU Free Pick
What you really don’t like in this one is that Houston has won five straight in the series, including 71-62 on January 15th. The Cougars swept last year’s two meetings 90-79 in Houston and 58-69 at Moody. The Mustangs have the offense to end that streak this season though. This should be a close game, but also at least one team is scoring in the 70s. That makes it a total play:
Pick: Houston / SMU *Over* 137