Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#653 Houston -13 vs.
#654 Rice 144
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul



#653 University of Houston
#654 Rice University


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The Houston Cougars will travel to Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston, Texas for a non-conference tilt against the Rice Owls on Tuesday night.

Houston split its first two games of the season and the Cougars will be trying to rebound from a heartbreaking, buzzer-beating loss to BYU over the weekend. Things won’t be easy for the Cougars though, as they will be up against a Rice team that has started to gain some confidence since their season-opening loss to Arkansas. The Owls have since won four straight games and will get a chance for their first quality win of the season with a Tier-B matchup versus Houston. Can Houston take care of business on the road against Rice in this regional rivalry game on Tuesday night?

Houston suffers heartbreaking loss at the buzzer vs. BYU

Houston suffered a tough 72-71 loss at the buzzer against BYU on Friday despite a balanced offensive effort. Freshman Caleb Mills came off the bench to lead four Cougars in double-figures with 17 points while Fabian White had 14 points in a losing effort for Houston, which battled back from a 14-point deficit to take a one-point lead with six seconds left in the second half before BYU’s T.J. Haws hit a contested jumper to win it at the buzzer. Houston shot just 4-for-17 from deep and turned the ball over with 5.1 seconds remaining to give BYU a chance for the win.

Kelvin Sampson’s squad comes into Tuesday’s rivalry game slotted at No. 34 in the latest KenPom rankings following their 1-1 start. Houston has scored 106.0 points per 100 possessions for the season (46th in the NCAA) while sporting an effective field goal percentage of 54.4 percent (56th in the NCAA). The Cougars have done most of their damage from inside the arc through two games, where they have shot a healthy 56.3 percent (40th in the NCAA). In fact, Houston has gotten a whopping 63.2 percent of their total points from 2-point range. They also do a good job of crashing the offensive glass, hauling in 36.2 percent of their total missed field goal attempts (41st in the NCAA) so far this year.

On defense, Sampson’s squad has remained stingy, allowing just 89.4 points per 100 possessions (38th in the NCAA) through two games. Houston does a good job of cleaning up on the defensive glass (16th in the NCAA) and they also rank 39th in the country in defensive block percentage, swatting away 14.9 percent of their opponents’ shots.

Rice edges UC Santa Barbara

Rice squeaked out an 82-81 victory on the road versus UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday night. Sophomore Payton Moore drove to the basket for a contested layup with two seconds left to send Rice to its fourth straight victory. Moore came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, while fellow sophomore Trey Murphy also added 18 points for the Owls in the win. Rice shot a blistering 13-for-25 from 3-point range to erase a whopping 22-point deficit with just over 12 minutes remaining in the second half.

Scott Pera’s squad enters the week ranked No. 167 in the latest KenPom rankings and they aren’t afraid to play fast on both ends of the floor. Rice ranks 47th in the country in adjusted tempo (73.8 possessions per game) and they get their shots up in about 16.0 seconds (82nd in the NCAA) on offense. According to KenPom, the Owls rank 32nd in the country in minutes continuity and 58th in average height at 77.7 inches.

The Owls have scored 100.6 points per 100 possessions (119th in the NCAA) through five games and they haven’t been shy about letting it fly from long-range. Rice has attempted 47.4 percent of their total field goal attempts from 3-point range (31st in the NCAA), where they have shot a healthy 35.1 percent for the season (109th in the NCAA). However, they struggle to generate second-chance opportunities on the offensive glass (315th in the NCAA) and have turned the ball over on 21.5 percent of their offensive possessions (235th in the NCAA) so far this year.

On defense, Rice has surrendered 101.3 points per 100 possessions (232nd in the NCAA) while sporting an effective field goal percentage of 53.6 percent (282nd in the NCAA). Opposing teams have shot a healthy 55.8 percent from inside the arc (293rd in the NCAA) versus the Owls’ defense.

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Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


Both of these teams are fresh off of buzzer-beaters but came away with very different results in their last game. Rice has the experience and length to contend with the Cougars in this game but Houston will ready to bounce back following a heartbreaking loss against BYU. Itโ€™s hard to get a read on the Cougars this season. They cruised to a win versus Alabama State but struggled in the first half versus BYU before erasing a 14-point deficit.ย  This is barely a road game for Houston, which is about a 15-minute drive from Tudor Fieldhouse. Take the Cougars to cover the number on the road in this matchup on Tuesday night.

Prediction: Houston Cougars -12.5

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


Rice likes to play fast on both ends of the floor and occasionally its resulted in some sloppy play. The Owls rank 48th in the country in adjusted tempo and their average offensive possession lasts only about 16.0 seconds (81st in the NCAA). Meanwhile, Houston has been susceptible to the 3-ball this year, which is where Rice does most of its damage. That has me leaning towards this game going over the projected total at Tudor Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.


Prediction: Over 145

Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.