Texas vs. Baylor Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Saturday’s College Basketball Over/Under
Chris Covatta/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrew Jones.
- Texas and Baylor meet in Big 12 college basketball action on Saturday.
- The Longhorns and Bears are two of the top teams in the nation, which should make for a fun battle on Saturday.
- Check out the full betting breakdown from Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave below.
Texas vs. Baylor Odds
-114o / -106u
-114o / -106u
Texas visits Waco in a Lone Star State showdown Saturday.
The Longhorns are fresh off their marquee win over Kansas, while the Bears are set to host their first home game in nearly two weeks. Baylor is still in the hunt for a 1-seed and a Big 12 title, but this might just be a must-win for both.
Texas is finally trending in the right direction after muddling around for weeks upon weeks. Impressive wins over Iowa State and Kansas took the Longhorns to 7-4 in league play and made them victors of five of their last six contests.
But those games came at home, where the Longhorns have thrived all season. The road has been a much unfriendlier place, as Texas sits just 2-5 against the spread in its seven away games.
Defense has been rock solid under Chris Beard all season, as expected. However, Texas’s offensive end has significantly lagged behind.
In too many games this year, Texas has failed to score 1.00 or even 0.90 points per possession. On occasion, the half-court centric offense can sputter and turn into isolation/hero ball.
The Longhorns can score in transition, and Baylor’s one weakness defensively this season has been stopping teams on the run, but that’s not in their game plan. Texas ranks 317th in FGA percentage in transition, per Hoop-Math. Beard likes to slow down the pace.
In the half-court, Texas plays through the post and allows its talented guards to play in space and drive-and-kick.
The Longhorns are also one of the highest cutting frequency teams in the country, ranking sixth nationally in percentage of plays ending via basket cut, per Synergy. Baylor’s defense is designed to stop this action. The Bears are so good at playing help defense and covering each other’s backs that it almost seems like a 5-on-6 situation for the offensive squad.
Considering the three factors of 1) an offense that tends to stagnate, 2) against an elite defensive team, and 3) playing on the road, it’s a tall task for Texas to be efficient on this end of the floor on Saturday.
As Jon Rothstein reminded everyone in a tweet this week, Baylor has not lost this season with a fully healthy roster. Unfortunately, Baylor has had a plethora of injury issues all season long.
Quasi-starting guard LJ Cryer has been the latest Bear on the shelf. He’s missed the last four contests, and his team has felt the effects. In those four games, Baylor is just 2-2 straight-up and 1-3 against the number.
Star guard Adam Flagler also missed the West Virginia game during that stretch, but he was back last contest.
Cryer’s impact is primarily on the defensive end. Baylor allows five fewer points per 100 possessions on an adjusted basis when Cryer is on the floor, per Hoop-Explorer. That’s a significant number, and though Baylor has plenty of guard depth, Cryer is a crucial perimeter piece against a Texas team oozing with backcourt talent.
Baylor should find success on the offensive glass, as it does in every game. Though Texas has size, Baylor’s is bigger and stronger.
The Bears are also an excellent outside shooting team and lead the Big 12 in 3P% in conference play. Counterintuitively, Texas actually defends the 3-point line better than anyone in the league. Though Beard practices pack-line principles, his squad ranks No. 1 in 3PA allowed in conference play. Running shooters off the line and forcing Baylor to play off the bounce is critical to Texas’s success.
In the half-court, Baylor runs a ton of ball screens, an action Texas defends quite well. The Longhorns rank fifth in the country in points per possession allowed (0.549) to ball handlers coming off screens, per Synergy.
Texas is also excellent at shutting down transition, an area in which Baylor has thrived. However, Baylor mainly runs off steals (19th in FGA percentage following a steal), so if it can force Texas’s guards into sloppy ball control, it won’t matter how good Texas’ transition defense is.
The Texas defense has truly been elite this season, but there is one slight caveat. Opponents are shooting just 62.8% from the free-throw line against the Longhorns this season, which leads the country by almost a full percentage point. That is nothing but blind luck and due for regression.
Does it have much consequence in this game? Maybe not, but an interesting note nonetheless.
Texas vs. Baylor Betting Pick
We have two elite defensive teams lining up in this game. There’s a good chance Cryer returns, making Baylor’s defense even better.
Texas plays at the slowest tempo in the Big 12, and you can bet Beard will want to limit possessions on the road against a top-five opponent. In all six of the Longhorns’ losses this season, the opposing team has scored over 60 points.
Texas will slow this game to a crawl, Baylor will stop Texas, and it’s likely the Bears struggle to score if Texas takes care of the rock, runs shooters off the line, and plays its typical ball screen defense.
That all points to the under in what should be a hotly contested heavyweight bout.