Houston vs. Baylor: The best betting props for the Final Four
The No. 1 seed Baylor Bears and No. 2 Houston Cougars will clash in the first game of the Final Four, set for Saturday at 5:14 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Sat, April 3 2021, 9:14 PM
For Baylor, the school’s first trip to the national championship game since 1948 is on the line. For Houston, the program hasn’t reached the title match since 1984, when Hakeem Olajuwon and his squad suffered a second-straight loss in the title game.
While the Bears boast one of the best offenses in the country, particularly behind the three-point line, the Cougars are a defensive force.
This matchup should should come down to the wire, with defense shining bright on the Indianapolis stage.
Let’s look at the five best prop bets to play for the Final Four matchup between Baylor and Houston.
Total points by Houston, first half: Under 29.5
Houston made history as the first team to reach the Final Four by defeating only double-digit seeds.
The Cougars put up a quick 37 points on No. 15 Cleveland State at halftime of their first-round matchup, but have since averaged 30.3 points at the half of their last three tournament games.
Houston should expect a much tougher start to its first contest against a single-digit seed — a No. 1, no less. The Bears have held opponents to an average of 29.5 points in the first half during their four previous tournament games.
Houston will be the 1st school to face 4 double-digit seeds in a single tournament. Five schools faced 3:— Kurtis Seaboldt (@KSeaboldt) March 28, 2021
2011 Kansas (16, 12, 11)
2008 Kansas (16, 12, 10)
2001 Michigan St. (16, 12, 11)
1991 N. Carolina (16, 12, 10)
1990 UNLV (16, 12, 11)
Houston the 1st non-#1 seed to do it. pic.twitter.com/Uj2uUC6PhC
With the way Houston has struggled shooting recently, Baylor should keep the Cougars under the 30-point mark at the half.
First-half spread: Baylor -2.5 (-113)
Where Houston is superior to Baylor is offensive rebounding. The Cougars average 13.1 offensive rebounds per game (third in the country) to Baylor's 11.1 (14th). To stay in this game, Houston will need to crash the boards and get second-chance points, while also keeping the Bears from lighting it up from three.
No team has been better than Baylor (41.1%) from the three-point line, but the Cougars rank 11th in opponent three-point percentage (29.2%).
If Houston can out-rebound Baylor and defend the arc well from the start, it can keep its opponent from taking a huge lead into halftime.
In Baylor's first two tournament games, it built an average halftime lead of 14.5 points. Against Villanova, the Bears trailed by seven, after an uncharacteristically poor first-half shooting performance, but bounced back to gain an eight-point first-half advantage against No. 3 Arkansas in the regional final.
Houston will need to do a whole lot right to win the first-half battle with Baylor. Go with the Bears -2.5 at the half.
Second-half spread: Baylor -2 (-112)
With 3:48 remaining in the second half of Houston's game with Oregon State, the Beavers evened the score, after trailing by 17 to start the second half.
The Cougars were outscored 44-33 in the final 20 minutes and shot just 29% from the field after halftime.
Great comeback from Oregon State, but a couple of late TO's and Houston's insane offensive rebounding was the difference. Beavs fall to Houston in Elite Eight 67-61.— 1080 The FAN (@1080TheFAN) March 30, 2021
If they fall behind Baylor, a team that ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency, Houston won't be able to recover and win the second-half battle.
The Bears have outscored every opponent in the second half, except for Wisconsin, who tied Baylor, with 34 points, after the halftime break.
Total points by Baylor: Over 69.5
Aside from one shaky outing against Villanova, Baylor has scored at least 76 points in its three other tournament games.
In the Bears' most recent contest, the team shot 48.4% from field-goal range and 53.3% from three.
Houston allowed Oregon State to hit 37.5% of its threes in the Elite Eight, which was better than the Beavers' season average.
Not only should Baylor knock down a couple of deep shots against the Cougars, but the defense should fluster Houston enough to create a few turnovers and score in transition.
Look for the Bears to rack up the points and hit the Over on total points.
Three-way result, end of 2nd half: Baylor -195
There is too much going Baylor's way to pick against a team that was undefeated up until Feb. 27. Before COVID-19 issues forced a near-month-long hiatus in the schedule, the Bears owned an 18-game win streak, which was snapped by Kansas on the road.
The only team in the country that has looked better than Baylor is Gonzaga, and these two appear destined to square off in the final matchup of the tournament.
Baylor's two-way moneyline odds are -220, but you can get better odds on the three-way moneyline at -195.
Bank on the Bears to edge past Houston and end a 73-year drought in the national title game.