|-5 BAY (-108) @ Pointsbet|
8* Take Baylor (#802)
The AAC was not an exceptionally deep conference this year, in direct contrast to the Big 12. Kelvin Sampson’s Cougs were good right out of the gate in November and December, then feasted on the AAC all season. As a result, their power rating number has gone through the roof; anything but an undervalued commodity at this stage of the campaign. And, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, when Houston was asked to face a quality, defensive minded foe, they haven’t even sniffed a pointspread cover.
The results do not lie. Houston blows out weaklings -- like the Cleveland State squad they saw in the first round -- with relative ease. I’ve got them as 12-1 ATS at -10.5 or higher in their last 13 tries. But stepping up in class hasn’t been quite so easy for the Cougs. They’re just 2-5 ATS in the seven games where they’ve been favored by -10 or less over the past 2 1/2 months.
Houston has enjoyed a VERY easy run to the Final Four, beating four teams seeded #15, #10, #11 and #12 – nobody like Baylor, or even close. Their toughest test—Rutgers – had them beat before choking the game away. And Baylor is one heck of a lot better than Rutgers. Or Syracuse. Or Oregon State. Or Cleveland State.
The Bears have been a truly elite team from Day 1 this season. But they suffered through a three week COVID pause in February, and like just about every team that has dealt with COVID issues this season, they came out of the break a step slow on both ends of the court – they covered only one of their next eight pointspreads in regulation (they did steal another ATS win as a favorite in OT). No surprise, then, that the betting markets cooled off on Scott Drew’s team……just in time for them to control the flow in wins and covers against Arkansas, Villanova and Wisconsin in their last three tourney games.
Houston is very good. Baylor is elite. I expect that difference to show on Saturday. Take Baylor.
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