Oregon State vs. Houston: The best betting props for the Elite Eight
The Cinderella story continues for the No. 12 seed Oregon State Beavers, who meet the No. 2 seed Houston Cougars in Monday night’s Elite Eight showdown.
Mon, March 29 2021, 11:15 PM
Led by junior guard Quentin Grimes, Houston reached the Midwest regional final by employing its back-breaking defense to dismantle No. 11 seed Syracuse, 62-46, on Saturday.
Oregon State put up a similar defensive effort in its 65-58 win over No. 8 Loyola-Chicago.
Both the Cougars and Beavers are firing on all cylinders defensively, and are ready to lay it all on the line for a spot in the Final Four.
In what should be a low-scoring slug fest, here are the five best prop bets to consider for Oregon State and Houston’s Elite Eight matchup.
Total points, first half: Under 59
The last time Houston made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament was 1984, during the Hakeem Olajuwon era. For Oregon State, this is the first time since 1982 that the school has played in a regional final.
With both of these teams entering unfamiliar territory, the pressure of the March Madness spotlight could result in a slow start.
Points will likely be at a premium, like they were in Oregon State's game with Loyola-Chicago on Saturday. In the lowest-scoring first half of the tournament, the Beavers led 24-16, after they shut out Loyola in the last 5:48 of the half.
Houston held Syracuse to just 20 points at halftime in their regional semifinal tilt.
Expect another low-scoring first half, with defense setting the tone from the start.
Total points by Houston, first half: Under 31.5
After a 37-point half against Cleveland State in the first round, Houston has averaged just 28.5 points in the opening half of its last two games.
On the flip side, Oregon State has held its opponents to an average of 21.67 points in the first half.
Both of these teams like to play at a slow pace, so expect Oregon State and Houston to take their time to ease into this game.
First-half spread: Oregon State +4 (-112)
The Beavers have yet to trail at halftime in three tournament games.
Against No. 5 seed Tennessee, they built a 14-point lead at the half and led by the same margin at the half against No. 4 seed Oklahoma State.
Oregon State's first half defense has been tremendous during the tournament.— Nick Daschel (@nickdaschel) March 22, 2021
Oklahoma State is shooting 9 of 29 at halftime. Tennessee went 8 of 31 vs. the Beavers on Friday.
In Saturday's meeting with defensive powerhouse Loyola, the Beavers built an eight-point lead before the break.
Houston's largest halftime lead was 10 points against Syracuse. The Cougars went up by just eight points against No. 15 seed Cleveland State and fell behind by three against No. 10 Rutgers at halftime of its second-round matchup.
Second-half spread: Houston -3.5 (-105)
While the Beavers have looked stronger in the first half, compared to Houston, the Cougars are the better second-half team.
In all three games, Houston has outscored its opponent in the second half by at least six points, whereas Oregon State has been outscored in the second half in all but one game. The lone exception was the Beavers' victory over Tennessee, in which the Volunteers matched Oregon State in scoring, at 37 points apiece, coming out of halftime.
Look for Houston to make the necessary adjustments to win the second half.
Total points by Houston: Under 68.5
Despite ranking in the top 10 in offensive efficiency, Houston has not scored more than 63 points in its past two tournament games.
Additionally, in the last five games in which Houston was favored by 10 points or fewer, the team has averaged 66.2 points per game, with the Under hitting in all but one of those matchups.
The Cougars are favored by 7.5 points against Oregon State, who has held tournament opponents to 61.3 points per game.
The Beavers are also capable of shutting down opposing teams' leading scorers. Jaden Springer (Tennessee), Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State), and Cameron Krutwig (Loyola) all combined for 17-of-44 shooting against Oregon State and averaged 16.7 points.
Grimes struggled against the Orange in the Sweet 16, as he went 5-of-15 from field-goal range and 4-of-12 from three-point land to score 14 points — his lowest total since a Feb. 18 matchup with Wichita State.
He could experience similar trouble against the Beavers, which will keep Houston from racking up too many points in this defensive battle.