College Basketball State of the Big 12 Betting Report: Breaking Down 3 Top Teams
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The new year is officially upon us and with it came our first Saturday of Big 12 league play. The first slate set the tone, as the competitiveness of the conference is at an all-time high with each game having its own importance.
Let’s take a closer look to evaluate some of the top teams. Also, we’ll look ahead to the best matchups, as we try to separate the contenders from the pretenders.
The Top Dog
The Baylor Bears not only sit at the top of the Big 12, but they also find themselves atop the nation’s AP Poll.
The Bears passed their first inter-conference road test, as they edged out the Iowa State Cyclones. The matchup with the Cyclones showed just how well-rounded and deep this Baylor team is, as it essentially led from wire-to-wire and responded to every run Iowa State put together.
The scary thing is this Baylor team may only be getting better. James Akinjo and Adam Flagler have really found their strokes as of late. This team not only has conference championship potential, but national championship potential, as well.
The Bears will be at home for two of their next three matchups:
- Jan. 4: vs. Oklahoma Sooners
The matchup against the Sooners is much more intriguing than the point spread may tell you.
As of now, the Bears are projected to be 10-point favorites by Bart Torvik, but the Sooners are a top-five shooting team and have the firepower to go shot-for-shot with Baylor.
- Jan. 8: at TCU Horned Frogs
Baylor will head back on the road to take on an upstart TCU team.
The Horned Frogs are a very sound defensive team that excels on the offensive glass. Although, on the offensive end, they are a one-man show.
While Mike Miles Jr. is a threat, the Baylor defense should have no issue containing him.
Look to take Baylor here as you may get it at a road discount.
- Jan. 11th: vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
The Red Raiders are exceeding nearly all preseason expectations, as they are currently ranked No. 25.
I feel that their matchup with Gonzaga earlier this season — a 14-point loss — will be very telling of how this game against Baylor will go.
The Red Raiders have two sources of offense: Terrence Shannon Jr. and Kevin McCullar. The Red Raiders were without Shannon against Gonzaga, but had others step up in that game and still fell short by double digits.
Baylor should be victorious in a similar fashion, as Baylor’s offense will overwhelm the Red Raiders.
The Birds are The Word
The Kansas Jayhawks are now tied with the Baylor Bears for the best odds to win the Big 12. They have slipped from being the preseason favorites, but that is not due to their performance.
Bill Self has himself one of the most potent offenses in the country. Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun are two of the better scorers in the nation and transfer guard Remy Martin has come over to form a deadly trio.
Last but not least is the veteran big man David McCormack, who is one of the best rebounders nationally.
Kansas’ only slip-up so far was against Dayton, as it put forth a bad night overall — both offensively and defensively.
While the Jayhawks have not lost since their defensive issues were revealed, those concerns could be amplified against stiffer competition.
Let’s look at two of the Jayhawks’ next few matchups and see how they stack up against some Big 12 foes:
Jan. 4th: at Oklahoma State Cowboys
Kansas will make the trip down to Stillwater, where it’ll face a very stout defensive team in the Cowboys.
While the Cowboys may be able to slow the Jayhawks for stints, they lack the offense to create runs for themselves.
Expect the potent Jayhawks to come away victorious in this one, and we may get a nice, short number to take.
- Jan. 11th: vs. Iowa State Cyclones
We saw just how tough and resilient these Cyclones can be in their matchup with the Bears.
The Jayhawks could find themselves in some trouble, as the Cyclones have the defense to force misses and the impact offensive player, Izaiah Brockington, to put points on the board in bunches.
Now, the Jayhawks are still projected to be sizeable favorites, but I am high on the Cyclones in this spot to cover any number trending toward double digits.
Hitting Their Stride
Texas will enter this stretch of conference play on the heels of its largest statement win yet.
The Longhorns were in complete control of the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday. Now, the Mountaineers were missing Taz Sherman — their leading scorer — but it wasn’t just the Longhorns shutting down a weakened West Virginia offense that was impressive.
The Longhorns had one of their best offensive performances against the difficult “Press Virginia” defense. They were led by transfer Marcus Carr, who has been streaky this season.
If Carr can continue his success — and Texas can pair that production with its fabulous frontcourt of Timmy Allen and Tre Mitchell — the Longhorns will be in the mix to win this conference.
Chris Beard’s team seems motivated. Their only upcoming opponent that I have not touched on is Kansas State, which the Longhorns should easily dispatch.
Interestingly, they are projected to be favorites in every matchup this month, though there are two opponents that will really test them. The first will be Iowa State and the second is Tennessee in a non-conference duel.
Both teams profile very similarly to the Longhorns and both games will be true tests on the offensive end of the floor.