Houston Cougars Betting Odds

Clyde “The Glide” Drexler and Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon have long since hung up their sneaks, but the legend of Phi Slama Jama lives on with the Houston Cougars men’s basketball team.

The Phi Slama Jama style (fast breaks and high-percentage dunks over set plays and mid-range jumpers) took the Cougars to three consecutive NCAA Final Fours in the 80s. Combined with a few threes and some D, it still works in today’s game.

The program has made six Final Four appearances, putting it in the Top 10 all-time, and is positioned for another run at the National Championship.

Should lawmakers back a sports betting bill, you might be able to bet on it here in Texas in the coming years.

This week’s Houston Cougars point spread odds

Below find the latest Houston Cougars basketball odds from legal Texas online sportsbooks once they’re live. Click on a line to go directly to the sportsbook that posted it and get down a bet.

Houston Cougars National Championship odds

The Houston Cougars have yet to hang a national championship banner despite six Final Four appearances. Check below for the latest March Madness odds on the Houston Cougars to win the tournament.

How to bet on the Houston Cougars basketball team

People bet on college basketball at online sportsbooks in the country in big numbers. Legal and regulated online sportsbooks in Texas will make every Houston Cougars bet imaginable available to you.

These are the four most popular NCAA basketball bet types you’ll find at Texas online sportsbooks and TX sports betting apps once they’re open for business.

What is the Houston Cougars point spread? 

Experienced bettors find more value in the point spread bet than they do in the moneyline. That’s because even in a game expected to be a one-sided blowout, the point spread bet makes it all a bit more “even” by assigning a number of points the favorite needs to win by.

If the favorite wins by that many or more, they’ve covered the spread, and bets in their favor would pay out. If there’s any other outcome, bets on the underdog pay out.

Every sportsbook has point spread bets for you to dabble in, but some have better lines than others. FanDuel Texas Sportsbook will offer up a wide selection of point spread bets for NCAAB games, including bets with decent value.

Here’s an example of a Cougars point spread you’ll see:

  • Houston Cougars     -7.5 (-110)
  • SMU Mustangs          +7.5 (-110)

Houston must win by at least eight points to cover the spread in this example. Odds for both sides are set at -110, which means you need to wager $110 to win $100 in profit.

If you were to bet $75 and win, you’d get paid out $143.18, including your original stake and $68.18 in winnings.

What is the Houston Cougars moneyline? 

It’s easy to understand and pretty straightforward — two reasons the moneyline bet will be one of the most popular at Texas online sportsbooks.

For newcomers, there is less confusion about what they are expected to do regarding a moneyline compared to other bet types. The basic idea of the moneyline is there are two sides to the bet, and you choose which side wins.

You will find competitive moneyline odds at sportsbooks like BetMGM Texas, once it launches. It will feature various odds on every NCAA basketball game that are competitive with rival online sportsbooks, even those in Las Vegas.

Here’s an example of what a Cougars moneyline bet could look like:

  • Houston Cougars     -185
  • Rice Owls      +230

Negative odds show us which team is the favorite to win the game and indicate how much money you need to bet to win $100. For Houston, a $185 winning bet would pay out $285, which is the original stake plus the profits.

On the other hand, positive odds indicate which team the underdog is as well as how much you stand to win if you bet $100. For the Owls, a $100 winning bet would pay out $330.

Houston Cougars totals (over/under) bets 

When betting totals, you will find you don’t have to try and figure out which team will win the game. Instead, you are focused on the predicted final point total and if the two teams can score over that amount or if they’ll be held under.

Oddsmakers assign a predicted points total for a game, and if you believe the two teams can score higher than that prediction you would bet on the over. If you think they will fall short, then you bet the under.

Once Caesars Texas Sportsbook goes live, totals bets will be available for all of the most popular college basketball games. You will find some value in totals if you take the time to do some line shopping to find the best odds.

You’ll be able to access Caesars sportsbook anywhere within the state of Texas, allowing you to use the website or the betting app to shop for sports lines to give yourself the best possible return on your investment.

This is what a possible totals bet might look like:

  • Over         138.5 (-110)
  • Under         138.5 (-110)

The half-point on totals bets and point spread bets is included to guarantee winners and losers for each bet and no one can tie or “push,” which would require the sportsbook to return the original stake.

Best Houston Cougars basketball prop bets 

Prop bets are often difficult to research, making it hard to have complete confidence in them. That being said, many bettors enjoy dabbling in prop bets and make them a part of their weekly betting strategy.

Some prop bets are simple questions with a yes or no answer, while others are over/under bets or situation-specific bets.

When DraftKings Sportsbook comes to Texas it will bring a huge selection of NCAA basketball prop bets with it. Some games will have more than others, which is why it’s always a good idea to have multiple sportsbooks to compare odds to or so you have access to the number of prop bets you are interested in.

Here’s an example of one possible prop bet you might see:

  • Which team will lead after three-quarters of play? Houston (-155) or Temple (-130)

The more popular the game or event, the more likely you’ll find a larger variety of prop bet opportunities. Not every game will have them, but the more popular the teams playing, the more likely you’ll find prop bets in your sportsbook.

Houston Cougars basketball coaching staff

Here’s a look at the current Houston Cougars men’s basketball coaching staff and a list of the head coaches who have come and gone over the decades since basketball first arrived at the school.

  • Head coach: Kelvin Sampson
  • Assistant coach: Kellen Sampson
  • Assistant coach: Quannas White
  • Assistant coach: Hollis Price

Here is a list of the Houston Cougars’ head coaches over the years:

  • Kelvin Sampson (2014-current)
  • James Dickey (2010-2014)
  • Tom Penders (2004-2010)
  • Ray McCallum (2000-2004)
  • Clyde Drexler (1998-2000)
  • Alvin Brooks (1993-1998)
  • Pat Foster (1986-1993)
  • Guy Lewis (1956-1986)
  • Alden Pasche (1945-1956)

Where do the Houston Cougars play home games?

The Houston Cougars call the Fertitta Center home. Below we have details about the arena.

Fertitta Center

  • Address: 3422 Cullen Blvd, Houston, TX 77204, United States
  • Owner: University of Houston System
  • Operator: University of Houston
  • Capacity: 7,100
  • Opened: Dec. 1, 1969
  • Construction cost: $4.2 million ($31 million in 2021 dollars) with a $60 million renovation in 2017
  • Former names: Hofheinz Pavilion (1969-2017)

How to watch and listen to Houston Cougars basketball games

You can catch the Houston Cougars basketball games both by watching or listening. Below we take a look at some ways you can find the games.

For watching:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN 2
  • ESPNU
  • CBS
  • ABC
  • TNT
  • TBS

Some streaming services where Aggies games can be found:

  • ESPN+
  • fuboTV
  • Sling TV
  • Hulu Live TV
  • DirecTV Stream

If you’d like to listen to games on the radio, you can listen at:

  • KBME 790 AM (Houston)

To find the broadcasted games via streaming services, you can go to:

  • Cougars All-Access
  • Sirius XM
  • TuneIn

A brief history of the Houston Cougars basketball team

The Houston Cougars are a relatively young basketball team compared to many programs across the country. They first began in 1945, but have had an interesting history since that first year.

  • 2023: Houston moves to the Big 12 Conference
  • 2021: The Cougars return to the Final Four for the first time since 1984
  • 2019: The team wins the American Athletic Conference for the first time, which they would repeat in 2020 and 2022
  • 2013: The Houston Cougars men’s basketball team joins the American Athletics Conference
  • 1996: Conference-USA welcomes the Cougars as a member
  • 1984: For the second year in a row, the Cougars finish as the NCAA Tournament runner-up
  • 1983: Houston finishes as the NCAA Tournament runner-up
  • 1983: The basketball program is ranked No. 1 in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll
  • 1982: Houston reaches the Final Four for the first time since 1968, which they would repeat in 1983 and 1984. Nicknamed Phi Slama Jama, these teams embraced a playground-style that prized the dunk over the jumper.
  • 1982: The Cougars win the Southwest Conference for the first time, which they would repeat in 1984 and 1992
  • 1975: Houston makes the move to the Southwest Conference
  • 1968: The men’s basketball team finishes the season as the No. 1 ranked team in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll
  • 1967: Houston advances to the Final Four, which they would repeat in 1968
  • 1967: The Cougars make it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history (they would make it again in 1968, 1982, 1984, 2021, and 2022)
  • 1960: The Cougars basketball team goes independent of any conference affiliation
  • 1956: The University of Houston gets its first NCAA Tournament invitation and makes it to the Sweet Sixteen (they would make it to the Sweet Sixteen again in 1961, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1982, 1983, 1984, 2019, 2021 and 2022)
  • 1955: Houston wins the Missouri Valley Conference title
  • 1949: Houston’s basketball team makes the move to the Missouri Valley Conference
  • 1945: The Cougars join the Lone Star Conference and win the championship that season and again in 1946-47
  • 1945: The Houston Cougars field their first men’s basketball team with Alden Pasche as the head coach

Houston Cougars Basketball FAQ

According to SeatGeek.com, the average price of a Cougars men’s basketball game ticket is $24, though tickets are often as low as $12.

The Cougars have not won the NCAA Tournament, but they finished as the runner-up twice in both 1983 and 1984, and they’ve been to six Final Fours.

Guy Lewis, the second head coach of Cougars men’s basketball, is the winningest coach in the program’s history. He coached from 1956 to 1986 and compiled a 592-279 record. Lewis is the coach that helped create the Phi Slama Jama style of play.

As of 2024, the Houston Cougars have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 24 times: 1956, 1961, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1992, 2010, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023.

There have been four Cougars named unanimous All-American selections:

  • Elvin Hayes (1967 and 1968)
  • Otis Birdsong (1977)
  • Clyde Drexler (1983)
  • Hakeem Olajuwon (1984)

According to Real GM, 46 Cougars players have been selected in the NBA Draft.

The first-ever Cougars selected was Charles Raynor, who was the 49th overall selection in the 1947 NBA Draft and was chosen by the Baltimore Bullets.

Houston has had two No. 1 overall picks in NBA Drafts with Elvin Hayes being selected first in 1968 by the San Diego Rockets. In 1984, Hakeem Olajuwon was the first-overall pick and was chosen by the Houston Rockets.

Other top-10 selections include Otis Birdsong (1977, 2nd overall, Kansas City Kings), Dwight Davis (1972, 3rd overall, Cleveland Cavaliers), Dwight Jones (1973, 9th overall, Atlanta Hawks), and Gary Phillips (1961, 9th overall, Boston Celtics).

Phi Slama Jama was the nickname given to the Houston Cougars in the early 80s. Since the school has trademarked the name, it lives on to this day.

Houston Post writer Thomas Bonk coined the phrase after seeing the length of emerging stars like Clyde “The Glide” Drexler and Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon and the fact they played a fast-paced playground style that prized the fast break and dunk.

The players lapped it up, embracing the fraternity idea and wearing Phi Slama Jama gear. Along the way, the Cougars made three consecutive Final Fours in 1982, 1983, and 1984. The Phi Slama Jama nickname has been a part of the fabric that binds together the Houston Cougars basketball team ever since.