Rutgers vs Houston March Madness Odds, Picks and Predictions March 21

Updated: March 20, 2021

Clock Icon Mar 20, 2021 – 2:27 AM ET

The Houston Cougars entered the NCAA Tournament as maybe one of the most undervalued 2-seeds in recent memory. But the Cougars made a statement in their opening-round win over Cleveland State: They are not to be taken lightly.

Houston easily covered the 20-point chalk and will be laying a decent amount of points when it takes on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights as 8.5-point favorites in the Second Round.

Can the Cougs prove their doubters wrong once again? Find out in our best Rutgers vs. Houston March Madness picks and predictions for college basketball betting action on Sunday, March 21.

Rutgers vs Houston odds

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Houston hit the board as 8.5-point favorites with a total of 132. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Houston Cougars betting preview


Rutgers: No injuries to report.
Houston: No injuries to report.

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Betting trend to know

Houston is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games as a neutral-site favorite. Find more NCAA betting trends for Rutgers vs. Houston.

Against the spread (ATS) pick

Houston absolutely dismantled Cleveland State 87-56 in its First Round matchup, continuing its trend of utter dominance this season. The Cougars have now won eight games in a row with an average margin of victory of 25.8 points per game, and the advanced stats say this is no fluke. Houston ranks sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency and 13th in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom’s ratings.

On offense, Kansas transfer Quentin Grimes leads the way, averaging 17.9 points per game and shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc. The Cougs also have great depth, with four players averaging double-digits in scoring.

While the offense is rated higher, the defense isn’t far behind. Opponents hit fewer than 20 shots per game on 37 percent shooting, both tops in the nation. 

Now, Houston faces a Rutgers team that is underrated in its own right and is coming off its first NCAA Tournament win since 1983, defeating Clemson 60-56 as 2-point favorites. The Scarlet Knights are arguably better than their record indicated and are a strong defensive unit, ranking 18th in adjusted defensive efficiency. 

But while the defense is strong, the offense is inconsistent and goes missing far too often, and that won’t play well against this stout Houston defense. Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker will have to step up in this one, but even that might not be enough. Houston is 14-4 ATS when laying 8.5 or more points this season. Rutgers got a nice win, but its running into a buzzsaw here. Lay the points.

PREDICTION: Houston -8.5 (-110)

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Over/Under pick

Oddsmakers may be giving Houston more respect on the spread, but we still may be able to take advantage of its totals. It’s not surprising to see a total of 132 in a matchup with two strong defenses, but it’s overlooking the Cougs’ offense just a little.

For example, the AAC Championship game had a total of 135, and Houston of course held the Bearcats to just 54 points. No way that game goes Over, right? Wrong. The Cougs put up 94 themselves to clear the number by 10 points anyway. In their First Round matchup against Cleveland State, with a total of 134.5, they held the Vikings to 56 points. That one went Over as well. 

In fact, in Houston’s last 12 games as double-digit faves, the Over went 10-3. While the Cougs aren’t double-digit faves in this one, they could be awful close to that come tipoff. 

Rutgers’ offense is inconsistent but still averages 70.4 points per game for the season, and if they clear 60 on Sunday, this is a good bet to go Over.

PREDICTION: Over 132 (-110)

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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 for the second straight NCAA Tournament game – this time sitting on the March Madness odds board at 70.5. That’s a number Houston has eclipsed in 10 of their last 12 games — and in nine of their last 12 as double-digit faves. 

While the Scarlet Knights have a solid defense, they have been underdogs of 5-points or more four times this season, giving up an average of 77.5 points per game in those scenarios. 

PREDICTION: Houston Team Total Over 70.5 (-120)

Rutgers vs Houston betting card

  • Houston -8.5 (-110)
  • Over 132 (-110)
  • Houston Team Total Over 70.5 (-120)

March Madness parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s March Madness Rutgers 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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