Baylor vs Iowa State Odds, Picks: Clones’ Defense to Cause Issues

Baylor vs Iowa State Odds, Picks: Clones’ Defense to Cause Issues article feature image

Pictured: Jaren Holmes #13 of the Iowa State Cyclones. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)

Baylor vs Iowa State Odds

Saturday, Dec. 31
2 p.m. ET
Baylor Odds
-115o / -104u
Iowa State Odds
-115o / -104u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Baylor and Iowa State will open their conference schedules with an epic top-50 matchup.

After being embarrassed by Marquette at the end of November, Baylor has won five straight games, including a marquee win against Gonzaga.

The Bears will look to prove they can win on the road against an Iowa State team that hasn't lost at home this season.

Iowa State has had its moments this season, defeating Villanova, North Carolina and St.John's in non-conference play. In addition to those marquee wins, the Cyclones have yet to record a bad-loss with their only two defeats coming against Connecticut  and Iowa (both inside the top-50).

Saturday's matchup presents an opportunity for both teams to make a major statement as Big 12 play gets under way.

Baylor Bears

It is difficult to read this year's Baylor team as the Bears finished non-conference play with a 2-2 record against top-25 opponents. The Bears defeated UCLA and Gonzaga (both by single digits), but lost to Virginia and Marquette in contests that weren't particularly close.

Baylor's offense, which ranks 14th nationally in adjusted efficiency (113.7), has shown a vulnerability to turnovers, especially against teams that produce pressure at a high rate.

That is important to note as the Bears go up against an Iowa team able to create pressure better than any team in the country. The Cyclones rank first nationally in defensive turnover percentage (31%), and second in steal percentage (16.3%).

In addition, Baylor guard LJ Cryer missed the Bears previous contest (concussion), and his status for Saturday's game remains uncertain.

Baylor coach Scott Drew says LJ Cryer's status uncertain for Iowa State. Still in concussion protocol.

— John Werner (@JohnWernerTrib) December 30, 2022

Without Cryer, the Bears will be down a crucial ball handler against an Iowa State back court that thrives on turning turnovers into points.

In order to secure its first road victory, Baylor will have to limit turnovers against the most havoc inducing defense in the country.

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Iowa State Cyclones

Head coach T.J. Otzelberger is looking to build upon last season's 22-13 campaign and boasts a plethora of experience on his roster. The Cyclones are the seventh-most experienced team in the country (3.22 years).

The Cyclones are led by St. Bonaventure transfer Jaren Holmes, who is averaging a team-high 13.8 points per game. Holmes will be matched up with Baylor freshman Keyonte George, who has impressed in his first collegiate season and is averaging 15.6 points per game.

Having Holmes on George will be advantageous for the Cyclones given Homles' defensive capabilities. Holmes has a steal rate of 2.9% and draws an average of 5.3 fouls per contest. Look for Holmes to limit George, who is a difference maker for Baylor's offense.

On the offensive end, the Cyclones have room to improve as they rank outside the top-200 in 3P%. Those poor shooting numbers have resulted in the Cyclones scoring just 26.9% of their baskets from distance.

However, those numbers will see some progression against a Baylor defense that has struggled guarding the perimeter this year. The Bears are allowing opponents to score 31% of their points from three-point range on 33.5% shooting (180th nationally).

If Iowa State is able to find success from outside, its offense will be tough to contain because it's also one of the best in the country in the interior. The Cyclones are scoring 59% of their points from close range this season, the 24th-highest rate in the country.

Iowa State will have a great opportunity to get its biggest win of the season given numerous advantageous matchups.

Baylor vs. Iowa State Betting Pick

Baylor has proven that it plays its best basketball at home.

Unfortunately, the Bears open conference play on the road, in an Ames environment that is ranked 21st in home-court advantage, according to KenPom.

This, combined with a Cyclones defense that will create major issues for a Baylor team that could be without one of its primary ball handlers, gives the Cyclones an edge.

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