Big 12 College Basketball Futures Betting: Looking Toward the Conference Tournament
John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: De’Vion Harmon.
With the regular season heading down the backstretch, Baylor has a significant lead on the rest of the Big 12.
As the conference evaluates its schedule for early March, the undefeated Bears stand four games clear of second place in the loss column. A pack of six teams follows behind, jumbled in a mess in the standings.
The good news, for bettors at least, is the arrival of Big 12 Tournament futures.
No longer are we evaluating Baylor’s chances to hang on to the top spot in the regular season, but now there’s the excitement of a one-and-done tournament to wager on.
The tournament will begin in Kansas City on March 10, with two first-round games before the quarterfinals the following day.
Throughout the 10-team league, there are several teams capable of winning the conference tournament. When looking at the odds associated with those chances, some things jump out.
It’s logical that Baylor is the odds-on favorite to cut down the nets in Kansas City.
The Bears are 9-0 in Big 12 play and rank as the second-best team in the nation in nearly every metric you can find.
Scott Drew has his team ranked in the top six of both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency, per KenPom. There are plenty of reasons to think Baylor would finish this Big 12 season as the tournament champions.
For those of you looking for reasons to bet against Baylor, there are a few hidden nuggets.
Baylor’s unbeaten conference record has come against the easiest competition in the conference to date. The Bears have played six road games in their nine Big 12 matchups but have yet to face a road game against any of the three teams closest to them in the standings (Oklahoma, Kansas, and West Virginia).
Baylor is currently paused due to COVID-19 concerns in the program. With teams struggling to bounce back after long layoffs, there’s a chance that Baylor loses its footing a bit before the conference tournament and opens things for a longshot team to sneak in and win the Big 12’s automatic tournament bid.
Tuesday’s close call against Iowa State showed there could be some rust as the Bears return to action.
Photo Credit: David K Purdy/Getty Images.
The Jayhawks currently boast the second-best odds to win the Big 12 Tournament. That would be familiar territory for Bill Self’s program; the Jayhawks have won eight of the last 15 Big 12 Tournaments. Kansas City has acted as a second home to the Kansas program, often bringing pro-Jayhawk crowds along for the ride.
This season would not offer that advantage, with conference tournaments generally erring on the cautious approach without fans in the stands.
Despite that, Kansas has built a bit of momentum with five straight wins after a 6-5 start in conference play.
The Jayhawks were building that momentum on wins against the bottom feeders of the league, Iowa State and Kansas State. Tuesday’s overtime loss at Texas was encouraging but still a loss.
The Jayhawks will welcome Baylor to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday in what will act as a major barometer for Kansas’ postseason fortunes.
Photo Credit: William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.
The value in the Big 12 Conference Tournament betting market comes on the Sooners.
Despite sitting tied for third place (in the loss column) in the standings, Oklahoma has the fifth-best odds to win the tournament in Kansas City.
That is positively out of whack for a team that had lost just once since Jan. 10 and rattled off three straight road wins in conference play. With all five starters healthy and in the lineup, the Sooners were 9-2 this season, until a major slip up at Kansas State on Tuesday that hopefully acts as a wake-up call.
Lon Kruger’s penchant for pick-and-roll offense that punishes opposing defenses for switches and mismatches is particularly attractive in the conference tournament setting.
Needing to win three games in three days to be crowned champions, the Sooners’ balance is an enticing bet against other teams that are more focused on the ups and downs of one individual player.
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Oklahoma State (Currently Unlisted)
No team is living more in a state of limbo than Mike Boynton and the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State was placed under a postseason ban for this season by the NCAA, but it has appealed that decision.
In the months since the formal appeal, the NCAA has not made a ruling. If the NCAA doesn’t hand down a ruling before the conference tournament, there’s an expectation that the Pokes will be permitted to play in Kansas City and potentially beyond in the NCAA Tournament.
Purely from an entertainment standpoint, that would be great news. College basketball would be better off with future lottery pick Cade Cunningham playing in March.
He would not, however, necessarily make the Cowboys an attractive pick to win the Big 12 Tournament.
The Cowboys have only beaten one of the other seven tournament quality Big 12 teams on the road, an overtime win over Texas Tech all the way back on Jan. 2.
Cunningham may be excellent, but it’s more likely one of the five top-30 defenses in the Big 12 finds a way to stop him in Kansas City — if he’s welcomed by the NCAA.