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College Basketball Odds & Picks for Baylor vs. Iowa State: How to Bet Elite Big 12 Battle

College Basketball Odds & Picks for Baylor vs. Iowa State: How to Bet Elite Big 12 Battle article feature image
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Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Izaiah Brockington.

  • Two Big 12 teams put their undefeated records on the line as No. 1 Baylor travels to No. 8 Iowa State.
  • The Bears are searching for their third straight win over Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum.
  • Doug Ziefel breaks down where the value lies in this matchup.

Baylor vs. Iowa State Odds

Saturday, Jan. 1
2 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Baylor Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-8
-110
133
-110o / -110u
-400
Iowa State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+8
-110
133
-110o / -110u
+300
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

There may be no better way to ring in the new year than with some Big 12 basketball.

While there are multiple exciting matchups, this one may steal the show, as the No. 1 Baylor Bears take on the No. 8 Iowa State Cyclones. This matchup not only carries weight in the conference, but the result has national implications as both teams are currently undefeated.

Somebody is going to get their first loss.

Baylor has been nothing short of impressive this season. The Bears have defeated every opponent thoroughly and will carry the nation’s longest winning streak (dating back to last season) into this matchup.

Iowa State, meanwhile, has burst onto the national scene after entering the season outside of the top 25. The Cyclones have already pulled off a number of upsets thanks to their suffocating defense. A win over Baylor, though, would obviously be the biggest surprise of them all.

This matchup has been anticipated for weeks now, so before we dive deeper, check out my initial thoughts in my State of the Big 12 piece. There, you’ll also find an analysis of these teams’ outlooks for the remainder of the season.

Enough plugging. Let’s get to it.


Baylor Bears

Look For Bears to Work the Ball Inside

This Baylor offense has been potent, to say the least.

The Bears are averaging nearly 84 points per game, which is good for 13th in the country. What makes this offense such a difficult matchup is that points can come from anywhere.  Baylor’s top four scorers are all guards, and they each average double-digit points per game.

The Bears may not be at full strength for this one, though, as leading scorer L.J. Cryer has missed the last two games due to a foot issue. They may also be without key sharpshooter Matthew Mayer, who was in COVID protocols as of Friday.

In this matchup, Baylor may not have to rely as heavily on its outside shooting, though, because of the edge it has in the paint.

A big part of the Bears’ success comes from their ability to gain extra possessions by dominating on the offensive glass. Baylor is eighth in offensive rebounding percentage and that dominance should continue against the Cyclones.

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Jeremy Sochan may play much larger roles in this game down low. Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Sochan are four and five inches taller than Iowa State’s leading rebounder, respectively, and both are capable scorers, as well.

Look for them to thrive, especially if Cryer and Mayer remain out.

While that may seem like a solid game plan for the Bears, scoring against the Cyclones is much easier said than done. Iowa State is seventh in adjusted defensive efficiency and sixth in effective field goal percentage allowed.

As for the size disparity, this will not be the first time Iowa State has faced that this year. The avenues are there for the Bears, but executing will prove difficult.

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Iowa State Cyclones

Expect Brockington’s Best Effort for Cyclones

Senior transfer Izaiah Brockington has been the fuel for this Iowa State team, as he is leading the Cyclones in both scoring and rebounding. He has also shown the ability to rise to the occasion, as well, with his biggest performances coming against Iowa State’s toughest opponents.

As for how he and the rest of the Cyclones will fair in this matchup, consistent success can not be guaranteed. The Bears are a very sound defensive team in their own right, as they are 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

The one area where the Cyclones can find success is from behind the arc. Baylor is only average at defending the 3-point shot and the largest portion of its points allowed come from long range.

Fortunately for Iowa State, Brockington is a 42% 3-point shooter. We have seen how his hot shooting has carried the Cyclones, and he’s definitely capable of doing it again.


Baylor vs. Iowa State Betting Pick

These two teams are going to make the other earn its points in this game, which could come down to the final minutes.

It’s worth noting that this is Baylor’s first true road game. It will be against a conference rival with an electric atmosphere. This matchup is really going to tell us a lot about this season’s Bears.

With that being said, I am sticking to my original position for this game and backing the Cyclones here. I expect the atmosphere to hype up Iowa State and hamper Baylor, which might be shorthanded.

Try to get the Cyclones as early as possible. I’ll be looking to grab them.

Pick: Iowa State +7.5

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