Cincinnati at Connecticut Spread
The Connecticut Huskies (5-6) host the Cincinnati Bearcats (8-3) Saturday at 3:30 PM ET in Big East Conference action. Oddsmakers have listed Cincinnati as a five-point favorite and have set the total at 40.5.
Why Cincinnati Covers
The Bearcats could be playing for a share of the Big East championship if Louisville beats Rutgers Thursday. That would certainly provide them with plenty of motivation. Still, I expect Cincinnati to show up whether a conference title is in the cards. Butch Jones’ squad has played hard all season, and I expect no different here.
The Bearcats have the big edge on offense. They rank 40th in the country in total offense with 437.5 yards per game while Connecticut ranks 115th with 313.4 yards per game. Cincinnati also rank 51st in scoring with 30.7 points per game while the Huskies rank 120th with 17.8 points per game.
Cincinnati hasn’t just been an offensive force. It ranks 13th in the nation in scoring defense with 17.2 points allowed per game. UConn’s anemic offense will have a tough time getting much of anything against Cincy’s stout stop unit.
Cincinnati has been an awesome investment in conference play. It has covered the spread in seven of its last eight Big East contests dating back to last season.
The Bearcats have also been a solid investment lately on the road where they have covered the spread in four of their last five. It is also worth noting that they are on a 4-0 against the spread run versus teams that have losing records.
The Bearcats won last season’s matchup 35-27 and have won six of the past eight meetings.
Why Connecticut Covers
The Huskies looked dead in the water when they lost four in a row from Oct. 6 to Nov. 3, but they have bounced back strong with back-to-back wins and covers against Pittsburgh and Louisville. Now, Connecticut can become bowl eligible with a win. The prospect of a bowl trip should definitely have the Huskies motivated.
One could make an argument that this is a letdown spot for UConn following such a big win over Louisville. However, that argument might not hold much water when you consider that the Huskies are on a 10-1 against the spread run in home games following an upset victory. They have won by an average score of 33.5 to 17.1 in this situation.
Connecticut is one of the best defensive teams in the country. It ranks 10th in total defense with just 305.7 yards allowed per game. This statistic is significant because Cincinnati is 0-6 against the spread under Butch Jones versus good defensive teams that give up 310.0 yards or less per game. The Bearcats have lost by an average score of 26.7 to 14.2 in these contests.
The road has been unkind to Connecticut, but it is 3-2 at home and both of its home defeats came by just three points. The Huskies have long been a quality investment at home, going 32-15-1 against the spread in their last 48 home games.
The home team has been the play in this matchup. Consider that the home side has won each of the past five meetings by an average of 15.8 points. The home team went 4-1 against the spread in these games, and it is 6-1 against the spread in the last seven meetings.
Connecticut has won convincingly in each of its last two home games against Cincinnati. It won 40-16 Oct. 25, 2008 and 38-17 Nov. 27, 2010.