Houston Cougars vs. Villanova Wildcats Odds & Free Pick

March 26, 6:09 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
Hous -2/Vill +2

Houston shoots for a second straight Final Four berth, Villanova its third over the last six NCAA
tournaments, when the teams meet in the South Region final Saturday evening in San Antonio.
The Wildcats are the higher seed in this match-up but it’s the Cougars, playing only a three-hour
drive from home, who are favored by a bucket.
How are we playing this game with our free college basketball betting pick?

NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

The Elite Eight betting lines opened Houston as a two-point favorite over Villanova, with an
over/under of right around 128. Both figures were holding steady in the early betting action.
According to Sagarin’s CBB ratings at sagarin.com the Cougars should be favored by two points
for this match-up.

Houston-Villanova NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

The Cougars reached this South Region final by beating top-seeded Arizona in a regional semi-
final Thursday night 72-60. Houston popped out to a double-digit lead six minutes into the game
and took a 34-28 advantage into halftime. The Cougars later pushed their lead to 12 points with
seven minutes to go and held on from there for the victory.

Houston shot 46 percent from the floor Thursday night, held the Wildcats to just 33 percent FG
shooting, out-rebounded Arizona 37-35 and won the turnover battle 14-12.

The Cougars, dual champions in the AAC this season, opened this NCAA tournament with an
82-68 win over UAB, covering at -8.5, then stuffed Illinois 68-53, covering at -3.5.
Stretching back into February Houston is 12-1 SU, 11-2 ATS over its last 13 games. The Cougars
are also now 5-4 SU, 6-3 ATS this season against teams that made this NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats reached this South Region final by beating 11 th -seeded Michigan in the
other regional semi-final Thursday night 63-55. Villanova trailed 22-20 late in the first half but
spurted to a 31-28 lead into the locker room. The Wildcats later pushed their lead to nine a
couple times in the second half, let the Wolverines get within 54-50 with three minutes left but
held on for the win and the money at -5.

Villanova only shot 37 percent from the field Thursday night but held Michigan to just 34
percent FG shooting.
The Wildcats opened this NCAA tournament with an 80-60 win over Delaware, covering at -15,
then beat Ohio State 71-61, covering at -5.
So stretching back into February Villanova is 13-1 SU, 7-6-1 ATS over its last 14 games. The
Wildcats are also now 12-7 SU, 9-9-1 ATS this season against teams that made this NCAA
These teams last met back in 1991, a Houston victory.

NCAA Tournament Betting Trends

  • Through Thursday’s play the favorites are 37-18 SU, 25-30 ATS in this NCAA tournament.
  • Through Thursday the higher seeds are 34-18 SU, 22-30 ATS in this NCAA tournament.
  • The Big East Conference is 6-4 SU, 7-3 ATS in this NCAA tournament.
  • The AAC is 4-1 SU, 5-0 ATS in this NCAA tournament.

Totals Report

The unders are 20-15 in Cougars games this season, which are averaging 135 total points.
The unders are 19-17 in Wildcats games this season, which are averaging 137 points.
Through Thursday’s action the overs are 29-27 in this NCAA tournament.

Houston vs. Villanova Prediction ATS

By most of the numbers we understand why Houston is favored here; the Cougars shoot the ball
a little better from the field than does Villanova and play a little tougher defense. However,
Sagarin ranks the Houston schedule at No. 77 in the country this season, the Wildcats’ at No. 11.
Also, the Cougars only shoot 66 percent from the free-throw line while Villanova shoots a D-1-
best 82.5 percent. And those free-throws might come in really handy in a close game, such as
this one should be. So we like the Wildcats here, for the win.
Free Pick: 
Take Villanova +2