Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jamal Bieniemy (24)
- Baylor is drawing an overwhelming amount of support tonight against Oklahoma.
- Using Bet Labs, we analyzed how exceptionally popular teams have done against in-conference opponents to see where the value might lie.
Monday’s college basketball slate is a bit lacking in quantity, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few quality matchups, headlined by Virginia-UNC and Kansas-TCU.
In the next tier of somewhat high-profile games comes Oklahoma-Baylor. While neither team is ranked, they’re both highly recognizable names as members of the Big 12, and as such, will be playing on a national stage (9 p.m. on ESPN2).
That also means this game will be a target of plenty of recreational bettors. Seeing two familiar teams — especially on board with as many random games as tonight’s — playing in a game they can actually watch on TV should catch the attention of average Joes looking for a bit of action Monday night.
Almost all of that action — 86% of bets, at the time of writing — has come on Baylor (-4.5) so far, which isn’t too surprising. Baylor’s overall record is a half-game better than Oklahoma’s, and its in-conference record is 5-5 compared to the Sooners’ 3-8.
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Oh, and Baylor also beat Oklahoma by 30 when the two met just two weeks ago in Norman. With the Bears now on their home court, laying only 4.5 points seems like a pretty easy call.
The question is, should it be?
Historically, it’s actually been profitable to fade the public in major conference games (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC). In fact, simply taking teams in those six conferences that are getting less than 25% of bets against a conference opponent has gone 669-551-30 (54.8%) against the spread (ATS) since 2005.
And if you’re worried about Oklahoma being on the road, history would tell you not to be; filtering that system down to show only visitors improves the ATS record to 214-159-5 (57.4%).
So while you may be the only one in your betting group-text suggesting a play on the Sooners tonight, you can be confident in the fact that history is in fact on your side.