Home News Northern Kentucky vs. Houston prediction and odds for NCAA Tournament First Round

Northern Kentucky vs. Houston prediction and odds for NCAA Tournament First Round

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The Houston Cougars were unsurprisingly awarded with the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region and they’ll face No. 16 Northern Kentucky in the Round of 64.

The Norse finished in third in the Horizon League in the regular season, but went on a run in their conference tournament that included a win over No. 1 Youngstown.

Only one No. 16 seed has upset a No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament history. This game likely won’t be the second instance of it, but can the Norse at least cover the spread against the Cougars?

Let’s dive into the odds.

Northern Kentucky vs. Houston odds, spread, and total

Northern Kentucky vs. Houston prediction and pick

The No. 1 vs. No. 16 games are always a tough puzzle to solve, because we know the No. 1 seed will win, likely in a dominant fashion, but can it cover a massive spread?

In this spot, I’m going to back the Cougars to do exactly that. They lead the country in average scoring margin, winning by an average of 18.5 points. That’s the most in the country by 4.7 points.

Houston’s defense is what makes them so dominant. The Cougars are first in the country in defensive efficiency and third in opponent effective field goal percentage.

That’s going to be tough for Northern Kentucky to overcome, considering the Norse are just 218th in effective field goal percentage.

Houston is going to dominate the boards as well, which should help lead them to covering the spread. The Cougars are sixth in the country in rebounding rate, while Northern Kentucky comes in at 264th.

I’ll plug my nose and lay the points with Houston in the opening around.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.