Houston vs Temple Picks and Predictions: No Marcus Sasser, No Problem for the Cougars

After losing leading scorer Marcus Sasser, the No. 21 ranked Houston Cougars will have to lean on their depth as they take on a 7-5 Temple squad. Sasser's injury has shrunk this number, creating some value that we'll happily grab Sunday night.

Last Updated: Jan 2, 2022 9:19 AM ET Read Time: 3 min
Jamal Shead Houston Cougars college basketball
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The Houston Cougars are 11-2 on the season and will now hit the road looking for win No. 12. They’ll have to do this without leading scorer Marcus Sasser, who is going to miss the rest of the season due to injury. 

Meanwhile, the Temple Owls are just 7-5 on the season and don't have a single win against a Top-50 team via KenPom this season. With losses to USC, Clemson, Boise State, and UCF, Temple seems to be a couple of tiers below Houston. 

But any given Sunday a team can win. With Temple at home, do the Owls have a chance? Here are our picks and predictions for the AAC matchup between the Houston Cougars and Temple Owls. 

Houston vs Temple odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Houston Cougars opened as a 13-point favorite but have now been bet down to a 12-point favorite. You can even find Houston at -11.5 at a couple of outlets. 

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Houston vs Temple predictions

Predictions made on 01/02/2022 at 9:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Houston vs Temple game info

Location: The Liacouras Center, Philadelphia, PA
Date: Sunday, January 2, 2022
Tip-off: 5:00 p.m. ET

Houston at Temple betting preview


Houston: Kessler Edwards G (Out), Taze Moore G (Probable), Marcus Sasser G (Out), Tramon Mark G (Out).
Temple: Kessler Edwards G (Out), Taze Moore G (Probable), Marcus Sasser Emmanuel Okpomo C (Out), Khalif Battle G (Out) G (Out), Tramon Mark G (Out).

Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Cougars are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games following three or more consecutive home games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Houston vs. Temple.

Houston vs Temple picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Life without Marcus Sasser is going to be difficult. The Cougars haven’t played a game since Sasser was ruled out for the rest of the season, so bettors are starting to fade Houston because of his absence. 

Sasser was scoring over 17 points per game this season and did so much to lead this team, so the reaction is understood. But Sasser isn’t the entire team. The next guy has to step up for this Houston team. 

The Cougars have shot a 55.4% effective field goal percentage while turning the ball over 16.3% of the time. On the glass, Houston has brought down 38.2% offensive rebounds and continues to shoot it well as a group. 

Houston has hit 37.3% from long range and 55% from inside the arc this season. The only thing Houston has done poorly on the offensive end is shooting 64.4% from the foul line. 

But the big question is how Temple will be able to keep up offensively. The Owls have shot a 45.4% effective field goal percentage while only hitting 28.5% from long range. Temple has hit only 46.9% from inside the arc and could see turnovers elevate in this one.

Houston is earning 25.7% turnovers on the season and while Temple only turns the ball over 17.4% of the time, there’s a good chance Houston still ends up winning the turnover battle. 

Temple is solid on the offensive glass, earning 33.1% offensive rebounds, however, Houston has been better overall in that area and should be able to limit Temple on the boards.

The big thing for Temple will be trying to get to the line. The Owls have made 69.1% of foul shots but get to the line at a very high rate. Houston can sometimes foul a little too much due to their aggressive defense. 

But if Houston is capable of shooting a higher percentage while also earning more turnovers and rebounds, it should lead to a Houston cover. But, again, it’ll be interesting to see how the team performs without Sasser.

Prediction: Houston -11.5 (-110)

Again, Houston lost their leading scorer to an injury. Meanwhile, I just don’t know how Temple is going to keep up offensively against Houston. Houston is one of the best defenses in the nation and is currently ranked in the top 5 in adjusted efficiency on the defensive end. 

The only chance Temple has of pushing this game Over is getting to the line and scoring points at the line with the clock stopped. 

There’s a reason why this total is trending down as the game approaches. Take the best number you can find and ride the Under. 

Prediction: Under 128.5 (-120)

I’m rolling with Houston to cover the number as my best bet. Houston is top 10 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. The last time the Cougars were top 20 in both categories, Houston ended up rolling through March Madness and into the Final Four. And that was last season.

This team is legit and Temple is certainly not. There’s value on Houston with the -11.5 number. 

Pick: Houston -11.5 (-110)

College basketball parlays

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