Baylor vs. Kansas Odds, Picks & Predictions: How to Bet Battle Between Big 12 Powers (Saturday, Feb. 5)
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images. Pictured: James Akinjo.
- Baylor (19-3) travels to Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, KS to take on the Kansas Jayhawks (18-3) on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.
- Saturday's battle between elite Big 12 college basketball programs should be tightly contested. The point spread reflects that, remaining between Kansas -2 and Kansas -3 since open.
- College basketball betting analyst Doug Ziefel breaks down Saturday's heavyweight battle, including updated odds for today's game, comprehensive analysis, and his betting pick for Baylor vs. Kansas.
Baylor vs. Kansas Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The battle for Big 12 supremacy is set to take place at Allen Fieldhouse, where the eighth-ranked Baylor Bears meet the 10th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.
This marquee matchup is only more intriguing with the amount of injury news surrounding it. Therefore, any late-breaking information for either team could create tremendous value for the corresponding side.
Everyone thought the sky was falling around the Bears when they lost back-to-back home games just a few short weeks ago, but since then, they have responded by going 4-1.
However, the real testament to their perseverance is how they played against West Virginia. Baylor was without two of its top three scorers in L.J. Cryer and Adam Flagler. James Akinjo stepped up to lead his team to victory as he dropped 25 points.
There is now some optimism that the Bears will have both of them back for this matchup.
Scott Drew says that Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer are still game time decisions for Baylor's game tomorrow at Kansas.
He says they haven't been restricted in practice and that it's a pain tolerance thing for both guys in terms of whether or not they can go.
— Eric Kelly (@EricKellyTV) February 4, 2022
Though, as I eluded to, the Jayhawks have significant injury news of their own to monitor. Their star and leading scorer in the Big 12, Ochai Agbaji, missed Kansas’ last game against Iowa State due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Jayhawks were also without Remy Martin, who has been a key contributor at times despite an undefined role. Nonetheless, Kansas still found a way to win without them.
Jayhawk fans can rejoice. as Agbaji has cleared health and safety protocols and is now eligible to play. But Martin’s status is unknown, and he hasn’t practiced due to a knee injury.
Both squads may very well be full-go here. So, without further delay, let’s dig into this matchup. After all, it’s bound to be a great one.
Expect Baylor’s Offense to Fire on All Cylinders
If you’ve been following my State of the Big 12 articles, you know that I have been preaching that Baylor is the best team in this conference. This is its chance to prove it, and because of the magnitude of this matchup, I expect Cryer and Flagler to suit up.
With that duo back, the Baylor offense will be at full strength for the first time in months. The Jayhawks will have a multitude of weapons to worry about, and the numbers show they may not be able to stop any type of offense the Bears present.
Kansas may be 46th in adjusted defensive efficiency, but that number is much different against quality opponents. The Jayhawks are 83rd in adjusted defensive efficiency when facing a top-50 team.
Baylor’s most significant advantage will be on the glass.
It’s fifth in the nation in offensive rebounding and has multiple long and lanky players to contend with David McCormack down low. Also, McCormack may not be much of a factor anyway, as Bill Self has yet to give him significant minutes consistently, and we’ve seen how he can become invisible against quality rebounding teams. For example, Oscar Tshiebwe essentially played him off the court in Kansas’ game against Kentucky.
After the big men, Kansas will then have to contend with Baylor’s quartet of guards who each have shown they can take over a game when needed.
I expect Akinjo’s momentum from his last performance to carry over, as he has played at an All-American level this season. Add that to Cryer’s ability to create off the dribble and Flagler’s sharpshooting from behind the arc, and you have a situation that spells trouble for the Jayhawks.
Jayhawks Need All Hands on Deck to Win
In its last game against Iowa State, we really saw what this Kansas team was made of.
Without Agbaji, it took four separate double-digit runs to defeat the Cyclones. It was an impressive effort as it led wire-to-wire, but with Agbaji returning, it may hamper the team chemistry that was built in its last matchup.
Now, Agbaji is a tremendous player and can be the X-factor that can get Kansas past any team in the country. Though in this one, I’m fearful that coming off a bout with COVID-19 when he experienced symptoms, his ball-dominant style of play may hurt the Jayhawks here.
Agbaji has not been able to practice all week and has not stepped on a court since last Saturday. So, it’s a real possibility his conditioning might not be where it needs to be. His shot may also be a bit rusty.
For Kansas to stay in this one, it’ll need someone else to step up and take some of the load off Agbaji.
A prime candidate to do just that is guard Christian Braun. Braun has had a stellar season as the No. 2 option in the Kansas offense, averaging 15 points per game on over 50% shooting. He is a great all-around player who can score from anywhere, hustle on the boards and distribute. If the Jayhawks want to compete, Braun will have to make his presence felt.
That all may be easier said than done, as we saw just how great this Baylor team could be when fully healthy. The best indication of this is what it did to the great Villanova Wildcats back in December. It held the then-No. 6 team in the country to just 36 points and forced them to shoot 22.2% from the field.
Entering this matchup, Baylor is ranked as the 16th-best defense in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency. However, it’s also ninth in turnover rate, an area in which Kansas is not especially remarkable.
Baylor vs. Kansas Betting Pick
This is the game that Baylor has been waiting for, and all of the dominoes are seemingly starting to fall in its favor. The Bears will be as healthy as they have been in recent memory, whereas the Jayhawks have question marks surrounding them. I expect the better team to go in and get the job done here.
KenPom has the Bears projected as one-point favorites, and I will comfortably back them up to a full possession.
Pick: Baylor +2 (Play to -3)
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