College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Baylor vs. Arizona State: Will Bears Cruise Against Sun Devils?
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Scott Drew
- The defending national champs will square off with Bobby Hurley's Arizona State Sun Devils in the Bahamas.
- The Bears are blowing teams out this year but their schedule gets significantly tougher starting today.
- Alex Hinton breaks down the matchup and offers up his top pick.
Baylor vs. Arizona State Odds
-108o / -112u
|Arizona State Odds|
-108o / -112u
For a defending national champion, Baylor has seemingly flown under the radar this season. The Bears have gotten off to a 4-0 start with wins over Incarnate Word, Nicholls, Central Arkansas and Stanford. The Bears are winning by nearly 35 points per game this season.
Baylor is up to No. 6 as it heads to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis, where it will battle Arizona State in its opening game.
Arizona State enters Atlantis at 2-2. The Sun Devils suffered a shocking loss to UC Riverside on a shot from beyond half court at the buzzer. It bounced back with a win over North Florida before losing a hard-fought battle to San Diego State last Thursday.
Arizona State has beaten five ranked non-conference opponents in seven seasons under Bobby Hurley. However, it will have a hard time pulling an upset of Baylor.
Flo Thamba is the lone returning starter from last year’s national championship team.
However, a few returning contributors have stepped up into larger roles thus far. Guard LJ Cryer is averaging 18.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and three assists per game with absurd shooting splits of 63/53/100.
Forward Matthew Mayer is averaging 10.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Five-star freshman Kendall Brown is averaging 15 points, four rebounds and 3.8 assists per game on 69% shooting from the field.
Arizona transfer James Akinjo is contributing 10.3 points and eight assists per game while shooting 44% from three. He was First Team All-Pac 12 last season. Arizona State will be a familiar opponent for him.
Defense has been a staple of Scott Drew’s tenure and this season has been no exception thus far. Baylor is allowing 53.8 points per game, which is 12th-best in the nation. It also ranks third in defensive rating and sixth in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is averaging nine rebounds per game off the bench, while Thamba is averaging 1.5 blocks per game.
The Sun Devils are led by forward Kimani Lawrence. The super senior is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds per game thus far.
He has been the bright spot while a few of his teammates have gotten off to slow starts.
Marcus Bagley and Luther Muhammad are each averaging 10 points per game, but are shooting 38 and 32%, respectively, from the field. Muhammad sat out last season with a shoulder injury after transferring from Ohio State.
Guard Marreon Jackson came over from Toledo as a graduate transfer. He was the MAC Player of the Year last season, however, thus far, he is averaging only 9.3 points and 4.5 assists on 30% shooting from the field and 22% from 3.
He should get going soon, though. Last season, he averaging 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, while dropping two triple-doubles along the way.
Forward Alonzo Gaffney began his career at Ohio State and came over from junior college. He is averaging 6.3 points and two blocks per game through the first four games.
While the Sun Devils have struggled to score themselves, they have held their own opponents to 38.7% shooting from the floor.
Baylor vs. Arizona State Betting Pick
Arizona State is due for some positive shooting regression. However, it will have to come against the best defense the Sun Devils have faced thus far.
Baylor is sixth in adjusted defensive efficiency. Its pressure will pose problems for an ASU team that turns the ball over 13 times per game. Baylor is also averaging 13 steals per game this season.
If the Sun Devils do knock down more shots, the Bears are capable of putting points on the board, as well. Baylor is averaging 88 points per game and is also sixth in adjusted efficiency.
Baylor has five players averaging in double figures. That does not even include Flagler, who is capable of having big nights. Baylor’s depth, tenacious defense, ball movement and unselfish play will be too much for Arizona State, which has struggled against far worse opponents thus far.
I like Baylor to win by double digits and it should cover -11.5, as well. I would play the spread up to -13.