Kansas vs. Baylor Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Jayhawks in Marquee Matchup
John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: David McCormack (33) and Ochai Agbaji (30).
- One of the best matchups of the college basketball season takes plsce Monday night as the Baylor Bears host the Kansas Jayhawks in a Big 12 battle.
- Baylor head coach Scott Drew has struggled against the spread in his career against Kansas, which could give the Jayhawks value as large underdogs.
- Tanner McGrath breaks down Monday's marquee matchup below and shares a betting pick based on his analysis.
Kansas vs. Baylor Odds
|Kansas Odds||+9.5 (-120)|
|Baylor Odds||-9.5 (-102)|
|Moneyline||+380 / -490|
|Time | TV||Monday, 9:00 p.m. ET||ESPN|
Flashback to last season.
The 28-3 Kansas Jayhawks and the 26-4 Baylor Bears looked destined to play in the National Championship game. Ranked No. 1, Kansas won the Big 12, while Baylor sat at No. 2 and finished second in the conference.
However, as we all know, the season was canceled, and the potential all-Big 12 National Championship game never occurred.
Fast forward to today. Kansas is a nine-point underdog in Monday night’s matchup. Nine-point underdogs to a Baylor team it beat on the road at the end of last season.
That’s a lot of points. Let’s talk about why.
Baylor is 12-0 overall (5-0 in conference play), atop the Big 12 and ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Bears are the clear second-best team in the nation and perhaps the only threat to Gonzaga’s title hopes.
The Bears have also covered in three straight games, beating Oklahoma, TCU and most recently Texas Tech.
The win over Texas Tech was very impressive. The two were neck-and-neck with about seven minutes left in regulation, and then Jared Butler took over.
Butler, who I think should be the Big 12 Player of the Year, was so good at the end of that game. He drained two step-back 3s and made a great drive-and-kick assist to Davion Mitchell for another 3. Those nine points were the difference in that win.
On the other end, Kansas is 10-3 overall, 4-2 in conference play and ranked No. 6 nationally. The Jayhawks are now third in the Big 12.
Kansas suffered a home loss to second-place Texas earlier this month and most recently lost a tough road game to Oklahoma State. In that loss to the Cowboys, Kansas made just five of its 21 3-point attempts and had 15 turnovers to only nine assists.
A bright spot this season for Jayhawk fans has been junior big man David McCormack, and he’s excelled recently. He posted 24 points and eight rebounds against Oklahoma State, scored 17 points against Oklahoma and 20 points against TCU.
Kansas boasts a top-10 defense and is incredibly solid on that end. In fact, the Jayhawks are first in the Big 12 in 2-point percentage this season.
But the Jayhawks have not been shooting well, especially from 3-point range, where the team is making just 31.7% of its attempts, ranking eighth in the conference.
Everybody knows what Baylor is about.
Scott Drew runs the dominant no-middle defense, the Bears have three two-way guards who can match up with any backcourt, and the Bears are first in the Big 12 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Without Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike, Kansas has a new look this season. However, the Jayhawks are still coached by Bill Self, and the team will play good defense and keep it close with almost anyone.
What to Watch For: Kansas Bounce-Back and Baylor Letdown
Kansas is coming off a tough loss. Meanwhile, Baylor pulled off that huge win against a tough Texas Tech team.
But Baylor now has to play a second top-15 team on just one day of rest after a two-game road trip. Kansas just had five days of rest, practice and time to game-plan for a team it knows very well.
For Kansas, this is a classic “Hungry Dog Runs Faster” game, as it will look to bounce back after a loss that happened almost a week ago.
For Baylor, this is a tough spot. The Bears seem primed for a letdown game after an incredible start to the season. Baylor won its first 11 games by double-digits before it defeated Texas Tech by eight.
Kansas should look fresh and motivated, while Baylor might look a little sluggish.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Shout out to our own Mike Randle for this:
Scott Drew is 2-10 ATS at home against Kansas in his career at Baylor, including 0-5 as the favorite (@ActionLabs_HQ)
Bears host Jayhawks on Monday Night
— Mike Randle (@RandleRant) January 17, 2021
Nine points is far too much for this matchup. This is a Big 12 conference game between two of the best teams in the country. Drew and Self have coached against each other twice a year since 2004, and they are very familiar with one another.
I think this game will unfold similarly to how Baylor-Texas Tech did. It will be a grind-it-out, defensive battle that remains close until the final minutes. The under is 8-2 in the last 10 games between Kansas and Baylor because Kansas and Baylor always play grind-it-out, defensive battles.
I’m still expecting Baylor to win and stay undefeated, but I don’t expect it to take this one by double digits. Self is a covering machine in Waco, and I’m really confident playing Kansas +9 in this spot.
Pick: Kansas +9 (-120).