Last Updated Dec 22, 2021, 10:37 AM

Houston Cougars vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Picks, Predictions, Odds

Dec. 11, 2021
Dave Schwab
VI Betting Expert

In a late start this Saturday night, the AAC’s No. 15 Houston Cougars face off against the SEC’s No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide in a much anticipated showdown between a pair of nationally ranked teams. Game time from Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa is slated for 10 p.m. (ET) with ESPN2 carrying the broadcast nationally.

Score Prediction

Houston 84, Alabama 82

Best Bets

Over 145.5 (-110) at DraftKings

Houston Cougars vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Predictions

Houston’s lone straight-up loss in its first nine games came against Wisconsin in a tight two- point setback as an eight-point favorite. The Cougars bring a SU four-game winning streak into Saturday’s showdown after routing Alcorn State by 32 points this past Monday night.

Alabama is riding high after knocking off Gonzaga 91-82 last Saturday as a 9.5-point road underdog. There has to be some concern with a possible letdown coming into another tough test against a motivated Houston team looking to move up in the national rankings.

I am giving Houston the slight edge on the scoreboard but this game could go either way between two very talented teams. My betting confidence for this matchup is tied to the OVER on the total line.

Defense plays a secondary role on Saturday night. Under the bright spotlight of a tilt between two of the top teams in the nation, each one knows how to put points on the board.

Houston Cougars vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Odds

Odds Provided by DraftKings - Subject to Change

  • Houston +1 (-105)
  • Alabama -1 (-115)
  • Over 144.5 (-110)
  • Under 144.5 (-110)

More Odds | Futures Odds

Houston Cougars vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Resources

  • Matchup: AAC vs. SEC
  • Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021
  • Venue: Coleman Coliseum
  • Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • TV-Time: ESPN2 - 10:00 p.m. ET

Houston Cougars Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-1
  • ATS: 6-3
  • O/U: 4-5

Following the loss to Wisconsin, the Cougars responded with their biggest win of the year by hammering Oregon 78-49 on the road as five-point favorites. Earlier in the season, they beat Virginia by 20 points at home in another quality win.

Houston has put up some impressive stats in its SU 8-1 start while going 6-3 against the spread. Guard Marcus Sasser has been a major contributor to the team’s 80.8-point scoring average with his team-high 17.7 points per game. He has also been the most consistent shooter at 48.2% from the field and 48.5% from three-point range.

Guards’ Kyler Edwards (13.9 points) and Tramon Mark (11.8 points) are two more key contributors on the offensive end of the court. Forward J’Wan Roberts is the team’s leading rebounder with 7.6 a game and guard Jamal Shead leads in assists with 5.3.

Overall, the Cougars are shooting 49.6% from the field and 38.4% from three-point range. They are pulling down an average of 38.9 rebounds a game including 12.4 on offense. The big story for Houston in light of all this offensive firepower is a defensive effort that has held opposing teams to just 53.4 points a game.

Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 7-1
  • ATS: 6-2
  • O/U: 4-3-1

Alabama caught everyone’s attention with its upset over Gonzaga. This helped erase the memory of its 72-68 loss to Iona on Nov. 25 as a 13-point favorite. The Crimson Tide are 7-1 SU overall with a 6-2 record ATS.

This is another team that brings some offensive heat into this game. Averaging 86.4 PPG through eight outings, this is the seventh-highest scoring total in the nation. Alabama has four players averaging at least 10 points a game with some added scoring depth on the bench.

Guard Jaden Shackleford has been a key part of that offense with 19.3 PPG while shooting 44.6% from the field and 43.1% from three-point range. He is also the team’s second-leading rebounder with 6.8 a game.

Guards’ Jahvon Quinerly and Keon Ellis have combined to score an average of 27 points a game. Ellis is hitting 52.5% of his shots from the field as one of the team’s most consistent shooters. He also leads the team in rebounds (6.9).

Alabama is shooting 47.7% from the field and 34.7% from three-point range. It matches up well under the boards with a total of 43.3 rebounds a game. However, this defense has given up an average of 71 points a game.

Inside the Stats - Houston Cougars

  • Record: 8-1
  • VI Ranking: 30
  • PS/G: 80.8 (42nd)
  • PA/G: 53.4 (2nd)
  • ORtg: 120.4 (3rd)
  • DRtg: 79.6 (6th)

Inside the Stats - Alabama Crimson Tide

  • Record: 7-1
  • VI Ranking: 15
  • PS/G: 86.4 (6th)
  • PA/G: 71 (239th)
  • ORtg: 114.4 (29th)
  • DRtg: 94 (128th)

Key Players to Watch

  • UH: Marcus Sasser - G (17.7 ppg)
  • UH: Kyler Edwards - G (13 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
  • BAMA: Jaden Shackelford - G (19.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
  • BAMA: Jahvon Quinerly - G (14.9 ppg)

Houston Cougars vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Conclusion

This is going to be an exciting way to close out the betting action on Saturday night in late start from Tuscaloosa. Houston’s shutdown defense does raise some concerns with the play on the OVER. Yet, the winner of this game is going to have to outscore the other as opposed to slowing them down.

While there is no recent history between the two teams, a few recent betting trends strengthen the cause. The total has gone OVER in three of Houston’s last four road games. It has also gone over in three of its last five games overall. The total has gone OVER or ended as a PUSH in Alabama’s last three outings.

Houston Cougars vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Trends

  • Houston has covered the spread in six of its last nine games.
  • Alabama has covered the spread in three of its last four games.
  • Alabama has covered the spread in six of its last eight games.

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