Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Odds, Picks, Preview: First-Half Play to Make

Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Odds, Picks, Preview: First-Half Play to Make article feature image

Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images. Pictured: James Akinjo (Baylor)

  • After losing to Texas Tech, Baylor will host Oklahoma State in another Big 12 affair.
  • The Bears normally come out firing in the first 20 minutes.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Odds

Saturday, Jan. 15
5 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State Odds
-110o / -110u
Baylor Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The almighty Baylor Bears lost their first game in 22 opportunities when the Red Raiders pulled off a gritty upset earlier this week. Baylor dropped to 15-1 on the season, but it is certainly not off the one-line.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State is searching for a post-Cade Cunningham identity. The Pokes are now just 2-6 in their last eight games, suffering a loss to Wichita State during the down streak.

So, is there any hope for Oklahoma State to compete in Waco against a Bears team coming off of a loss?

Let's investigate further.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

It's been an offensive nightmare for the Cowboys this season.

Outside of offensive rebounds, this team has no clear identity. Oklahoma State can't shoot (sixth percentile in spot-up PPP), can't run the pick-and-roll (seventh percentile in PnR PPP) and can't post-up (seventh percentile in post-up PPP).

Avery Anderson III was supposed to break out without Cunningham carrying the offense. While he's scoring 10.8 points per game, he's doing so with an 85.6 ORtg, and his turnover rate is double his assist rate.

Mike Boynton's offense continues to run fast (76th in tempo) and continues to work through the inside (315th in 3-point rate), but nothing is coming easy.

All-in-all, Oklahoma State is 156th in offensive efficiency this season.

The defense is a bit of a mixed bag. The interior defense is solid, and the team is forcing turnovers at the 15th-highest rate nationally. Plus, the Pokes could be due for some opponent free-throw regression (244th in defensive FT%).

But the Pokes can't rebound, currently ranking eighth in the conference in defensive rebounding rate and 271st overall. Plus, they often get into foul trouble, as they rank sub-250 in opponent free-throw rate.

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Baylor Bears

So, Baylor lost a game. What does that mean?

Well, the Bears had to lose one eventually. Texas Tech is a dominant defensive team led by a guru in Mark Adams. The Red Raiders also stormed back from a 15-point first-half deficit and shot 59% from inside the arc.

It also doesn't help when James Akinjo and Matthew Mayer combine to go 1-for-11 from behind the arc.

Baylor's identity hasn't changed.

The team is tenacious. Offensively, the Bears rank seventh in offensive rebounding rate. Defensively, they rank eighth in defensive turnover rate.

Additionally, Baylor is 13th nationally in eFG%, draining a high percentage of its perimeter (37 3P%) and interior (56.4 2P%) shots. The Bears can shoot the lights out from all areas of the floor.

I would be scared of Scott Drew off a loss, but that narrative has never really rung true. Drew is just 35-43-2 ATS coming off of a loss.

Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Betting Pick

While Baylor hasn't been a cash cow after a loss, the Bears have been a cash cow in the first half.

Since 2019, the Bears are 31-23-1 ATS in the first half, covering at nearly a 58% clip.

I also love Baylor to come out firing in the first 20 minutes here.

The Bears feed off turnovers. A pillar of Drew's no-middle defense is being very active in the passing lane and cutting off cross-court passes.

Oklahoma State is 311th nationally in offensive turnover rate and 349th nationally in offensive steal rate. The team loves to throw the ball away, and Baylor's tenacious defense is going to destroy that lackadaisical ball control.

Plus, the best way to beat Baylor's no-middle is by optimal weak-side spacing and solid perimeter shooting. Those are two things Boynton-led teams don't have, and now, coach Boynton doesn't have Cunningham to bail him out.

With Baylor coming off its first loss of the season, look for the Bears to come out of the gates firing. Specifically, they are going to force turnovers and generate easy buckets early.

I'm expecting Baylor 1H to open around -7 or -7.5, but I'm willing to play this up to -8.5.

Pick: Baylor 1H -8.5 or better

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