PJ Washington’s Injury Impact on Kentucky vs. Houston Betting Line

PJ Washington injury kentucky betting line

Getty Kentucky Wildcats forward PJ Washington

When the Kentucky Wildcats and Houston Cougars square off to wrap up the Sweet 16 in Friday night’s final game, the hope is that PJ Washington will be on the floor. While Kentucky has looked solid through the first two games of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, the date with Houston will be by far their biggest test. Even still, they opened as early favorites with the status of Washington up in the air.

Call it respect for John Calipari and the Wildcats or maybe even a bit of disrespect for Houston, who’s won their first two games by a combined 44 points. Regardless, Kentucky opened as roughly a 2-2.5-point favorite, depending on where you look. But the impact of Washington’s potential return could lead to the betting line moving quite a bit.

Impact of PJ Washington’s Injury on Kentucky-Houston Betting Line

*Note all betting information courtesy of OddsShark

Kentucky has already picked up traction with the line moving in their favor a bit on some sites. This may have to do with the hope Washington plays, but the Wildcats are now between 2.5-3-point favorites. As SB Nation’s Jason Marcum revealed, there’s a realistic chance the spread could move to -5.5 in favor of Kentucky should Washington suit up.

While a three-point move on the line stands out, it’s not overly surprising. Washington has impressed this year, posting averages of 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 51.5 percent from the field through 33 games. Kentucky has managed to knock off Abilene Christian and Wofford in solid showings but Washington’s presence could be a game-changer in this matchup.

Kentucky’s Tough Matchup With Houston

Both Kentucky and Houston boast strong numbers on the defensive end, but the Cougars have been a force in college basketball in that area. They currently rank as the No. 7 best team in the country in terms of points per game allowed at just 61.0. Kentucky deserves plenty of love as well, coming in ranked in a tie for No. 28 while giving up 64.5 points per game.

But Washington’s presence on both ends of the floor could make a strong Houston defense become beatable, especially in the paint. In the team’s 74-59 win over Ohio State, Buckeyes forwards Kaleb and Andre Wesson combined to score 20 points on 5-of-11 shooting with 11 rebounds. Kaleb scored 15 on 3-of-7 shooting, but only one of his buckets came from inside the paint.

Going one step further, according to the ESPN shot chart from that game, it appears only six of Ohio State’s baskets came from inside the paint while they made 10-of-29 shots from deep. While the Wildcats will certainly need to knock down shots from outside in this matchup, the ability to cause problems down low is what may prove to be the difference.

READ NEXT: PJ Washington Injury: Analyst Hints Star Returns in Sweet 16

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