Cleveland State vs Houston March Madness Odds, Picks and Predictions March 19

Updated: March 15, 2021

Andrew Caley
Clock Icon Mar 15, 2021 – 9:35 PM ET

The Houston Cougars may be one of the most overlooked No. 2 seeds in recent NCAA Tournament memory. Houston steamrolled its competition on the way to the AAC Championship and will be big 20-point favorites in their opening-round matchup against the Horizon League champion Cleveland State Vikings.

Will the Cougars cover all that chalk and show they aren’t to be taken lightly, or will the Vikings’ defensive ways prove too pesky.

Find out in out our best Cleveland State vs. Houston March Madness picks and predictions for college basketball betting action on Friday, March 19.

Cleveland State vs Houston odds

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The lined opened with Houston as 19-point chalk with a total of 135. Early money on the spread has come in on the Cougars. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Cleveland State Vikings vs Houston Cougars betting preview


Cleveland State: No injuries to report.
Houston: J’Wan Roberts F (Questionable).

Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Houston is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games as a neutral-site favorite. Find more NCAA betting trends for Cleveland State vs. Houston.

Against the spread (ATS) pick

Don’t think of Houston as a mid-major darling; they didn’t just beat everyone in the AAC, they beat them down. Heck, they won the AAC Championship game by nearly 40 points. And, the advanced stats say this is no fluke. The Cougars rank eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency and 16th in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom’s ratings. 

While the Cougs’ offense is actually rated higher, it’s the defense that gets all the headlines and for good reason — they are suffocating and tenacious. Opponents hit fewer than 20 shots per game on 37 percent shooting. Both tops in the nation. They are also one of the top rebounding teams in the country. On offense, Kansas transfer Quentin Grimes leads the way, averaging 17.9 points per game and shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc. 

Cleveland State also hangs its hat on defense and is well-coached by Leonard Hamilton disciple Dennis Gates, who employs a similar strategy to Florida State — depth and effort. There are 10 Vikings who average 10 minutes per game or more with the idea that they can go all out all game long. The Vikings are led by top scorer Torrey Patton, while their best defender is Tre Gomillion.

Unfortunately, Cleveland State is just running into a buzzsaw in this one. It was also quite lucky per KenPom and it is just too poor of a shooting team to threaten Houston in this one. The Cougars had an average margin of victory of +18 this season (only trailing Gonzaga), so they don’t overlook anyone, and went 13-5 ATS as double-digit favorites this season. It may look like a lot on the March Madness odds board, but lay the points.

PREDICTION: Houston -20 (-110)

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Over/Under Pick

You’d think with one solid and one elite defense this would be an easy total to lean towards the Under, but that isn’t giving enough respect to Houston’s offense. The AAC Championship is a perfect example. The total for that game against Cincinnati was almost identical at 135, and Houston of course held the Bearcats to just 54 points. 

But don’t worry, they put up 94 themselves to clear the number by 10 points anyway. But that wasn’t a one-off. In the Cougs’ last 12 games where they were double-digit faves, the Over went 9-3. 

For the Vikings, you know they won’t give up even if they’re down big. On top of that, they upped their scoring output in the Horizon Conference Tournament to 72.7 points per game in regulation. If Cleveland State can get around the 61 points it was able to manage against Ohio State earlier in the season, this NCAA Tournament game should go Over.

PREDICTION: Over 134.5 (-110)

Covers March Madness betting analysis

Team Total Pick 

You would also think that the Cougars wouldn’t be a good Over bet considering the pace they play at, but that’s just how efficient their offense is. Now we get a modest team total of 76.5 for this matchup, a number they have eclipsed in seven of their last 10 games — and in eight of their last 11 as double-digit faves. The Cougs are out to prove they are for real, and I’m here for it.

PREDICTION: Houston Team Total Over 76.5 (-120)

Cleveland State vs Houston betting card

  • Houston -20 (-110)
  • Over 134.5 (-110)
  • Houston Team Total Over 76.5 (-120)

March Madness parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s March Madness Cleveland State vs. Houston picks, you could win $56.82 on a $10 bet?

Use our March Madness parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Where can I bet on March Madness odds?

March Madness is one of the most popular times of the year for sports bettors, which of course makes it one of the busiest times of the year for online sportsbooks. Every betting site will offer March Madness odds but the top sites are safe and secure, offer a wide range of banking options, and give you a ton of markets for each game. Check out the best March Madness betting sites in your region.

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