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NCAAB: Houston Cougars vs. Temple Owls Betting Preview

The top two teams in the AAC will battle it out Sunday night as the No. 3 Houston Cougars (21-2, 9-1) take on the Temple Owls (14-9, 8-2). The Owls will host this one at the Liacouras Center, with tipoff scheduled for 6:00 pm ET.

This is the second time these two teams have met, with the Owls pulling off a shocking 56-55 upset over then-ranked No. 1 Houston on the road. Damian Dunn had 16 points in the win, while Zach Hicks added another 12.
Jamal Shead led the Cougars in the loss with 13 points, and Marcus Sasser added another 12. Houston will look to play spoiler on Temple’s home floor and exact a little bit of revenge.

Houston comes into this one as overwhelming favorites. They are -710 to win, while the Owls’ moneyline sits at +490. The spread features Temple as an 11.5-point underdog (-120), and the over/under for total points is 131.5.

Houston Not Overlooking Owls This Time Around

It could be argued that the Houston Cougars overlooked Temple the last time they played them, but you can guarantee head coach Kelvin Sampson won’t let that happen again.

This game has major implications for the AAC. Houston currently holds the top spot at 9-1 in the conference, but Temple is right behind them at 8-2. Temple would take the top spot away with a win Sunday, something Houston does not want to see.

As is often the case under coach Sampson, Houston relies on one of the stingiest defenses in the country. They currently rank second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 55.2 points per game.

On the offensive side, the Cougars rank 64th, averaging 75.2 points per game. Leading the team in scoring is senior Marcus Sasser. On the season, he is averaging 16.2 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Other contributors for Houston include Jarace Walker (11.3 points, 6.4 rebounds), J’wan Roberts (9.9 points, seven rebounds), Tramon Mark (9.8 points, 4.2 rebounds), and Jamal Shead (9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists).

Temple Looks For Season Sweep

The Owls come into this game soaring as they currently ride a four-game win streak. They will look to improve at home, where they are just 7-5 this season, and take down the Houston Cougars for the second time in as many weeks.

Temple’s offense has struggled a bit this season, ranking 202nd in the country. On the year, they are averaging 69.4 points per game (74.1 at home).

Leading the way for the Owls is sophomore guard Khalif Battle. He only scored seven points in the first matchup, but he is averaging 17.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game this year.
Aside from Battle, Damian Dunn (14.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists) and Jamille Reynolds (10.8 points, 5.9 rebounds) have been the biggest contributors.

Defensively, Temple ranks 123rd in the nation, allowing an average of 68.1 points per game to opponents.

Houston To Win, But Temple To Cover

Looking at the trends, the Cougars are 12-1 in their last 13 games, but they are just 2-4 against the spread in their previous six. Houston is undefeated in their last seven games on the road, and their last loss against Temple was their first against the Owls in the last seven games.

As for Temple, they are 5-1 both straight up and against the spread in their last six games. They are also 13-5 overall in their last 18 games played at home.

Despite the outcome in the first game, the Cougars are the superior team in this matchup. Still, for two teams that don’t light up the scoreboard and like to slow the tempo down, 11.5 points is a considerable margin on the spread.

It is hard to envision Temple pulling off another upset, but if they can get a strong game out of Khalif Battle, they should be able to hang around for most of this one.

Take Houston to win, but for Temple to cover the 11.5-point spread (-120).

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