College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Baylor vs. TCU (Jan. 8)
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Eddie Lampkin Jr. (TCU)
- Odds have been moving for Saturday's Baylor vs. TCU college basketball game, as the Bears are now double-digit favorites, according to updated odds.
- Despite the Bears' No. 1 ranking, Tanner McGrath thinks the Horned Frogs can stay within single digits.
- Check out McGrath's full breakdown and top betting pick below.
Baylor vs. TCU Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The defending champs and current No. 1 team in the nation continues to plow through the opposition, as Baylor moved to 14-0 with a win over Oklahoma on Tuesday.
The Bears' next test comes against in-state rival TCU, which quietly recorded a 10-1 non-conference record with wins over Utah and Texas A&M.
TCU is catching plenty of points in this game and has the pieces to cover as a home dog. But do the Horned Frogs have the juice to keep up with a powerhouse like Baylor?
I'm ready to stake my flag on this take: Scott Drew is the best coach in college basketball.
Obviously, leading your team to a National Championship after taking on the boldest rebuild in college hoops is one thing. Adopting and effectively adapting a defensive scheme borrowed from another coach is another thing (no-middle defense, Chris Beard).
But to immediately rebuild a roster that lost its top three scorers and skyrocket to the top of the AP Poll is a whole different thing altogether. That's a level of recruiting and player development seen by coaches like John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski.
On the court, Baylor is tenacious. The team is eighth in defensive turnover rate and seventh in steal rate, while ranking fourth in offensive rebounding. In their most recent game against Oklahoma, the Bears generated 19 second-chance points while holding the Sooners to zero.
Offensively, Drew has adapted to his team's needs, as well. Last season, Baylor was very perimeter-oriented and led the nation in 3-point shooting. This season, Baylor is sub-200 in 3-point rate and is top-15 in 2-point percentage.
The personnel is a big part of the success, but I still chalk that up to Drew coaching up his team.
LJ Cryer didn't get a lot of playing time last season, as he was stuck behind a trio of NBA guards. But he's the Bears' second-leading scorer this season and is doing so with a 121.6 ORtg.
Arizona transfer James Akinjo is the new big-name guard in Waco. He's dropping 14 points and dishing out six assists per game while shooting over 40% from deep.
Baylor point guard James Akinjo is making a serious case to be National POY.
Akinjo scored 27 points in a Baylor win tonight. The No. 1 Bears are 14-0 on the season. pic.twitter.com/MlfUSIfKtA
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) January 5, 2022
If Akinjo stops taking long, contested 2s, he probably would win the Wooden Award.
I'm still waiting for Matthew Mayer to break out. The 6-foot-9 forward is a matchup nightmare on offense and rather active on defense. But he's still showing signs of inconsistency.
For the sake of brevity, I won't dive deep into the rest of the roster. But there are a number of Baylor players worth watching for the rest of the season, including:
- Junior guard Adam Flagler
- Freshman wing Kendall Brown
- Freshman big man Jeremy Sochan
Despite the Horned Frogs' 10-1 record, it's hard to see them competing in such a loaded conference.
However, there are reasons for optimism in Fort Worth.
The defense is frisky, particularly on the interior. TCU is 36th in 2-point defense and 29th in PPP allowed on put-backs. TCU also ranks top-50 in block rate while rarely fouling, allowing the 12th-lowest opponent free-throw rate nationally.
Moreover, TCU is top-25 in ShotQuality's defensive shot quality metrics, meaning the Horned Frogs are forcing opponents into low-efficiency opportunities.
One of the reasons I like TCU is its rebounding potential. Not only do the Horned Frogs avoid put-backs on the defensive side, but the team is also third nationally in offensive rebounding. A front line headed by 6-foot-11 Eddie Lampkin Jr. will challenge Baylor on the boards.
Point guard Mike Miles is a stud. The Highland Hills, TX product made the All-Big 12 Freshman Team last season and is following it up by dropping 17 points and 4.6 assists per game. His efficiency could be better, though.
🏀📊 #Big12MBB Individual Stat Leaders through Jan. 6 ⤵️
Top Three in 𝐏𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐏𝐞𝐫 𝐆𝐚𝐦𝐞
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) January 6, 2022
But that's the general problem with TCU altogether. Miles can carry the Horned Frogs through offensive droughts, but his job becomes very difficult when his teammates are sub-260 in 3-point shooting.
Baylor vs. TCU Betting Pick
As much as I adore this Baylor team and think it'll go back-to-back in March, this is a few too many points.
TCU is real on the defensive end, and the Horned Frogs have Miles to score consistently enough to keep this game close. We saw Iowa State hang around with Baylor, and although the Cyclones are much more talented, TCU is a similar team.
I also want to re-emphasize TCU's rebounding abilities. Baylor outscored Oklahoma 19-0 on second-chance opportunities, but that won't happen in this game. TCU is a hard-nosed basketball team.
Finally, Baylor has now failed to cover in three straight games. Meanwhile, TCU has started to get hot, covering in four straight.
I wouldn't play this at an inch under -9 at -110, however.