Wichita are struggling and sit seventh in the American Athletic Conference, while the Houston Cougars top the table and have only lost twice this season. Can Wichita State pull off an upset and defeat the Cougars? Let’s take a look with our latest NCAAB betting picks.
- What; NCAAB
- Who; Wichita State Shockers vs Houston Cougars
- Where; Charles Koch Arena, Wichita, Kansas
- When; Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
- Start Time; 9 pm ET
It’s fair to say that the Wichita State Shockers have their work cut out at the Charles Koch Arena on Thursday. The Houston Cougars are in town, and the table topping side are looking to consolidate their two recent wins, which have come off the back of what was only their second defeat of the season.
The loss at home to Temple was a huge shock. But like all true champions, the Cougars bounced back in style and won their next two matches in convincing style. Showing everybody just why they are the favorites to win the 2023 NCAAB Championship.
Betting to win the 2023 NCAAB Championship
The Houston Cougars still haven’t managed to wrestle the number one ranking back from Purdue. In fact, Kelvin Sampson’s team are ranked third, with Tennessee currently occupying second spot. But that still hasn’t stopped the best college basketball betting sites from making them their Championship favorites for practically the whole season.
At the moment, the top sportsbooks for NCAAB betting have Houston as their +750 favorites. That is a bit of a drift though, as this time last week they were +650. The Cougars are followed in the betting by Kansas, Purdue and Alabama, who are all at +1000. After that we see the number two ranked Tennessee at +1100, and then it’s Arizona and UCLA at +1400.
There is then a large gap before we get to Virginia, Texas, and Connecticut, who are all at +2500. For the record, Wichita is +50000. All the above odds are taken from BetOnline. More details can be found about them at our BetOnline sportsbook review. While more College Basketball odds from the best March Madness betting sites can be found on our below odds table.
|NCAAB Tournament Winner Betting 2023|
Up and down Wichita fighting to find some consistent form
In their last five matches Wichita have won three and lost two. Take it back slightly further, and the Shockers have won four and lost four of their last eight. This reflects their season as a whole, with the Shockers showing an 11-11 record.
Their most recent outing was an 85-72 win away to the East Carolina Pirates last weekend. The Pirates are having an equally as bad season as the Shockers are. And the game was effectively over at the halfway point after Wichita raced into a 49-28 lead in the first period.
East Carolina fought back in the second period. They eventually reduced the arrears to 13 points, with a better second period which they won by 44 points to 36. The damage had already long been done though.
The problem Wichita has is they can’t produce their first period form from the Pirates match on a more consistent basis. All too often this season, a good half has been followed by a bad half. Or a good win has been followed by a disappointing defeat.
But one thing’s for certain here. They will need to ensure they are at the top of their game in both periods just to have a remote chance against the Cougars.
Houston consolidating after shock defeat
The Cougars are on a winning run of two and sit top of the AAC with an 8-1 record. That puts them just ahead of Temple, who are 8-2. The recent defeat actually came at the hands of Temple, when the Owls won a close match by just one point (56-55) at the Fertitta Centre, back on January 22nd.
DOWN GOES #1 pic.twitter.com/In2J75pU18
— The TUFF Fund (@TUFF_Fund) January 22, 2023
Since that defeat, the Cougars have won two from two. The two unfortunate teams to feel the backlash were the Cincinnati Bearcats and UCF. The Bearcats win was Houston’s most recent match, with Kelvin Sampson’s team needing to recover from being 43-36 behind at the halfway point.
The Cougars produced a commanding second half display, scoring 39 points, and tightening up defensively at the back to only concede 26 in the second period, eventually running out winners by 75 points to 69.
Although the Cougars are likely to be way too strong for Wichita, they don’t want to be needing second period comebacks like that every match, so they will be looking to be faster out of the blocks in tonight’s game.
Wichita vs Houston Betting Odds and Picks
To have any chance tonight, Wichita needs the Cougars to have a repeat of their first period against the Bearcats. But looking at the betting, the top sportsbooks don’t see that happening.
The moneyline is non competitive, the Cougars are -750, Wichita is +550. Don’t waste your time, unless you think Wichita can pull off a shock, that is!
On the handicap, Houston is giving their hosts 12 points. With the +12 points start, Wichita is -110, and Houston is also -110. On the total points spread, 131.5 is the magic number. Both over and under is -110.
The Cougars have won by 11, 20, and 13 on their last three road trips. If anything, they are performing better away from home. So taking that into consideration, I’m making Houston to beat the spread as my NCAAB betting pick for this match.