Kansas vs Baylor Odds, Picks, Prediction: NCAAB Betting Guide

Kansas vs Baylor Odds, Picks, Prediction: NCAAB Betting Guide article feature image
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Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images. Pictured: Dajuan Harris Jr. (Kansas)

Kansas vs Baylor Odds

Saturday, Feb. 18
4 p.m. ET
ESPN
Kansas Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-5
-110
149.5
-110o / -110u
-225
Baylor Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+5
-110
149.5
-110o / -110u
+190
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Big 12 is the best conference in college basketball. Currently, four of the 10 teams in the conference rank 15th or better, per KenPom, with eight of the 10 teams sitting in the KenPom top 30.

The depth of the Big 12 is hard to fathom. The worst team by KenPom's ranking is Texas Tech at 61st. Those Red Raiders are 3-10 in the conference, yet those three wins are no fluke. Those victories came over highly-ranked Texas, Kansas State and Iowa State.

If that's the easy night in the Big 12, there are no water breaks in this marathon.

Looking forward, six teams in the Big 12 can currently be bet to reach the Final Four at odds of +1000 or shorter. For any of those teams to have a more realistic shot at making a run to Houston, improving their seed prior to Selection Sunday becomes critical.

The Baylor Bears and Kansas Jayhawks are currently tied atop the conference standings, alongside Texas, with Iowa State just a game behind. Winning the conference brings a banner and bragging rights, but also the top seed in the Big 12 Tournament and a better chance at a top seed in the Big Dance.

Saturday's meeting between the Bears and Jayhawks has massive implications, with the winner taking over first place and cementing itself as the team to beat down the stretch.


Kansas Jayhawks

As teams ranked atop the AP Poll continue to lose week after week, eyes are certainly starting to turn toward the Jayhawks, who have yet to occupy the top spot in the polls, peaking at No. 2 for two weeks in January.

Are the reigning champs the best team in the country? Should they be the favorites to win the national title?

There are compelling cases for both of those questions, which all start with the synergy of Bill Self's starting five. The Jayhawks' opening lineup has played the fourth-most possessions together of any five-man unit in college hoops this season, per EvanMiya. That unit outscores opponents by 18 points per 100 possessions.

For that reason, Self sticks with that five as often as he can. That group has seen over 600 possessions together. No other combination of five Jayhawks — even lineups with four starters and one reserve — has topped 100 possessions yet this season. Kansas ranks 351st in bench minutes played this year.

If the Jayhawks have their five best men on the court in crunch time or in the flow of a game, they feel pretty good about their chances. But if an injury, foul trouble or matchup disadvantage emerges, Self does not have a lot of options in his toolbox.

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Baylor Bears

Over the last month, the Bears are 11-1, racking up critical road wins at West Virginia and TCU in that span.

Scott Drew's team currently boasts the top-ranked offense in college basketball by offensive efficiency, scoring 1.22 points per possession, adjusted for opponent.

Like the 2022 Baylor team that won the national title, these Bears are fueled by their backcourt. Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer are both 42% shooters from outside the arc on a high volume of looks.

Flagler is also a threat to create off the dribble, ranking third in the Big 12 in assist rate.

They are joined by freshman star Keyonte George, who has proven difficult to keep out of the lane off the bounce. He's top-six in the conference in free-throw rate and fouls drawn per 40 minutes, a testament to his nose for contact and tough-earned buckets at the rim.

If there are worries about this Baylor team, they come on the defensive end of the floor. In Big 12 play, the Bears rank dead last in defensive efficiency, allowing the highest effective field goal percentage and 2-point shooting percentage.

There's some hope that those issues can be remedied by the return of center Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua from injury. Since the high-motor big man known as "Everyday Jon" checked back into the lineup four games ago, Baylor is 4-0 and has posted three of its seven best performances of conference play by defensive efficiency.

As his minutes and involvement continue to ramp up by March, the hope is that his presence can elevate the Baylor defense to at least a passable level of play that allows its offense to win games.


Kansas vs Baylor Betting Pick

Given the importance and location of this game, you need a damn good reason to bet on Baylor.

Self is 292-16 in his career at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks haven't lost multiple home games in a season since 2018 and have done so just once since 2007.

With one home loss at the Phog already in the books this season, the odds are against an upset win for Baylor.

Any team that's going to walk out of Allen Fieldhouse with a win needs to be able to get stops defensively down the stretch. This Baylor team has not shown that ability this season — at least not against opponents as potent as Kansas.

Betting on Self at home is like investing in treasury bonds. Just sit back and trust it. In games in Lawrence where the Jayhawks were favored by six points or fewer since 2008, Kansas is 14-6 against the spread.

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