Wichita State’s Tyson Etienne (1) brings the ball up the court against Houston during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Houston. Houston won 70-63. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
- Cincinnati Bearcats look to end a season-opening slump on Sunday, when they visit the Wichita State Shockers as betting underdogs
- The Bearcats have lost five of six, while the Shockers saw a five-game win streak end with a worrisome loss in Houston earlier this week
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of this AAC clash at Charles Koch Arena
The Cincinnati Bearcats will be looking to post consecutive wins for the first time this season when they visit the Wichita State Shockers on Sunday as 2.5-point underdogs. The Bearcats snapped a five-game SU and ATS slide with Thursday’s 76-69 road win over SMU, while the Shockers look to rebound from a 70-63 loss in Houston that halted a five-game win streak.
Here’s a look at the odds and trends ahead of Sunday afternoon’s AAC matchup at Charles Koch Arena.
Cincinnati vs Wichita State Odds
|Cincinnati Bearcats||+2.5 (-110)||+124||O 141.5 (-110)|
|Wichita State Shockers||-2.5 (-110)||-146||U 141.5 (-110)|
Odds taken at FanDuel on Jan. 9th.
Bearcats Look to Halt Season-Opening Slide
It has been a tough start to the 2020/2021 campaign for the Bearcats, who tallied wins in 12 of their final 16 games last season to claim a share of top spot in the AAC conference standings. Cincinnati has stumbled to a 3-6 SU start, with two of their wins coming early on against lightweights Lipscomb and Furman.
UC just beat a solid SMU team 76-69 on the road.
First real breath of fresh air for John Brannen’s squad this season. #Bearcats had 5 in double digits. 10-23 from 3-point range.
— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) January 8, 2021
The Bearcats have been a massive disappointment since tallying those victories, losing SU and ATS in five of their past six, including outright losses to South Florida, Georgia, Central Florida, and Tulsa, all while pegged as betting chalk. And while this past week’s victory over Southern Methodist is welcome, it is far from reassuring. Cincinnati trailed for most of that contest, spotting the Mustangs a nine-point lead in the first half, and an eight-point advantage after recess before going on a 10-2 run in the final two minutes to seal the win.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Cincy Searches for Consistent Scoring
Cincinnati enjoyed steady performances from its starters, with four of them cracking double digits in points. A pair of sophomores led the attack. Jeremiah Davenport led the way with 18 points, and added 10 rebounds to record his first double-double of the season. However, the Bearcats’ win hinged on the team’s rare success beyond the arc, going 10-for-23 on 3-point attempts, powered by four treys from sophomore guard Mika Adams-Woods.
Cincinnati 76 – 69 SMU
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Jeremiah Davenport (18 pts, 10 reb, 1 ast, 3 3ptrs)
⭐️⭐️ Tari Eason (14 pts, 5 reb, 4 blk, 2 ast, 1 stl)
⭐️ Mika Adams-Woods (14 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk, 4 3ptrs) pic.twitter.com/qmiJixkq0H
— The Bearcat Outsider (@BearcatOutsider) January 8, 2021
That marks a departure from the team’s recent struggles to find the target, with Bearcats shooters connecting on under 40% of field goal attempts on three occasions during their current six-game swoon. Cincy has also topped 70 points just twice during that stretch, sinking them to 101st in adjusted offensive efficiency at Kenpom. The road has also been consistently unkind to Cincinnati since the beginning of last season. The Bearcats sport a mediocre 6-10 SU win streak in their past 16 away contests, with their win over SMU marking their first road victory of the current campaign. In addition, Cincy has covered in just five of 19 road dates since early February 2019.
Shockers Look to Start New Win Streak
The Shockers return home looking to bounce back from a disappointing 70-63 loss to No. 11 Houston. WSU led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but quickly fell off the pace while being held scoreless for a lengthy seven-minute stretch. In addition to snapping a 5-0 SU run, Wednesday’s defeat also halted a three-game stretch during which the Shockers averaged 82 points.
Couldn’t have gone much worse for Wichita State since taking a 10-point lead in the first 90 seconds of the second half at Houston.
The 12 possessions since: 0-9 shooting, 4 turnovers.
Now the Shockers trail 41-35 with under 12 minutes to go.
— Taylor Eldridge (@tayloreldridge) January 7, 2021
Things could have been much worse were it not for the play of sophomore guard Tyson Etienne. WSU’s leading scorer led the way with 25 points and eight rebounds, and was one of just two Shocker shooters to score more than five points. Etienne has needed little help on the road of late, averaging over 28 points and six rebounds per game over his past three away appearances.
Can Etienne Do It Alone?
However, the budding star has not produced such big numbers at home this season, averaging just 15.6 points per game overall, and tallying just 19 total points over his past two home dates. Etienne has also averaged just nine points per game in two previous dates with the Bearcats.
Tyson Etienne gets buckets.
Career-high 29 points on just 15 shots last night vs. Ole Miss to lead Wichita State to its 5th straight win and 3rd straight upset road win. Third time this season the sophomore has gone for at least 25. pic.twitter.com/MiDGo5I2Pk
— Taylor Eldridge (@tayloreldridge) January 3, 2021
With the Bearcats off to a shaky start, this would be a good time for Wichita State to snap a six-game SU losing streak against its AAC rivals. However, with Etienne being forced to singlehandedly power the attack, and Cincinnati showing signs of breaking out of its season-opening funk, the Shockers will need a much greater team effort to end that slide.
Picks: Bearcats +2.5 (-110); UNDER 141.5 (-110)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.