College Basketball Odds & Picks for TCU vs. Baylor: Feisty Frogs to Avoid Blowout?
Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Chuck O’Bannon Jr. (TCU)
- TCU has lost two straight games -- which has significantly hurt its NCAA Tournament resume -- but can it keep things close with Baylor?
- The Bears have some injury concerns heading into this game -- and for the remainder of the season.
- Ky McKeon breaks down this Big 12 matchup and explains why he's backing the Horned Frogs on the road.
TCU vs. Baylor Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Two straight losses have dumped some cold water on TCU’s NCAA Tournament hopes, but the Horned Frogs are still in the hunt.
A massive road win over Baylor would go a long way toward getting the Frogs back in the bubble picture.
Of course, beating Baylor in Waco is easier said than done. Texas Tech just did it, but that’s Texas Tech. TCU has won in Waco one time since joining the Big 12. Its other visits ended in a 26-point beat down and a 16-point defeat.
The Frogs have been good on the road this season from an ATS perspective. TCU is 5-1 against the number as the away team and own three outright road Big 12 wins over Kansas State, Iowa State and Oklahoma.
This is a dangerous team — one the Bears should not take lightly.
Baylor won the first matchup in Fort Worth, but TCU led at halftime and was up by as many as nine early in the second half. The Bears stormed back and won by 12, using 18 TCU turnovers as fuel for the fire.
Turnovers were one of the root causes to TCU’s defeat back in early January, specifically live ball turnovers. Baylor stole the ball 10 times from the Frogs and used those steals to start its break. The Bears thrive in transition, especially off opponent turnovers.
Offensive rebounding was a source of success for TCU in game one and has been all season. The Frogs lead the country in offensive rebounding rate, and grabbed nearly 38% of their misses against Baylor in game one.
Crashing the glass too aggressively can lead to easy transition opportunities the other way, but TCU has done well at limiting those chances.
Unfortunately, offensive rebounding has been about the only good thing TCU has done on offense all season. The Frogs rank ninth in the Big 12 in offensive efficiency, driven by a league-worst turnover rate (24.4%) and league-worst FT% (64%).
They do move the ball well behind playmakers Mike Miles and Damion Baugh, and they attack the rim with a fervor. But converting shot attempts has been a weakness.
Against a very good Baylor defensive squad, this will be a problem.
Interior defense and rim protection won’t be quite as strong for Baylor in this game without center Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (he’s out for the season due to a knee injury).
But Baylor was just fine in game one with minimal JTT impact. The Frogs held the big man to two points and four rebounds.
Baylor did get leading scorer LJ Cryer back from injury last game. He adds yet another weapon in an already highly-weaponized backcourt.
In game one, the Bears scored 1.15 points per possession and shot 13-of-27 from deep — neither of which is that out of the ordinary for the seventh-best offense in the country.
TCU kept Baylor at bay on the glass, but it didn’t really matter when most of Baylor’s shots fell through the bottom of the net.
The Bears are going to spread the floor with four shooters and attack TCU off ball screens. The Frogs have been solid defending both the ball handler and the roll-man in pick-and-roll situations all year long, but they need to do a better job of closing out on shooters behind the arc.
If Baylor shoots nearly 50% from deep again, this game won’t be close.
The spread is high in this game, which makes sense. Baylor was a 10-point favorite at TCU and covered. Going purely off that closing line, today’s current spread is actually a bit low. If we assume three either way for home court, this line should really be about 16.
Throw in a JTT injury, Baylor’s mild struggles since the first TCU game and TCU’s improvement, and it starts to make more sense.
TCU vs. Baylor Betting Pick
I’m leaning toward the feisty Frogs here. Baylor’s recent injuries and TCU’s ability to fight are enough to throw some money on the double-digit dog.
TCU head coach Jamie Dixon is an excellent game planner, and the Frogs have the talent and athletes to at least keep pace with the Bears for most of the game.
While a win at Baylor shouldn’t be expected, it’s reasonable to think TCU can finish this one within three possessions. Leading at halftime in game one should give TCU confidence in its ability to hang with the defending champs.
Pick: TCU +13
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