Kansas State vs Baylor Odds & Predictions: Add This Bet to Your Parlay
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Keyonte George (Baylor)
Kansas State vs. Baylor Odds
|Kansas State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Sheesh. That was fast.
Kansas State went from an Elite Eight team in 2018 to a Big 12 title in 2019 to complete irrelevancy. The Wildcats are back in full force this season thanks to Jerome Tang, Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson.
Before taking the K-State job, Tang was a longtime Baylor assistant under Scott Drew. You know he’s been looking forward to this matchup.
I’m not sure how much Drew has been looking forward to this one. The Bears caught the injury bug, and it’s led to an 0-2 start in Big 12 play.
But if there was ever a great buy-low, bounce-back moment to bet Baylor, this is it.
But can anyone stop this K-State train? Does this Baylor team that’s 6-8 ATS have a shot?
I expected a bump up for K-State this season. No way a team with a fifth-year senior at point and a former prodigy on the wing wouldn’t take a step forward, especially once you replaced Bruce Weber with a Drew assistant.
Nobody could’ve expected this, though.
The Wildcats overtook West Virginia in overtime and dropped 116 points (!!!) on Texas in Austin to move to 2-0 in Big 12 play. They’re now 13-1.
It all starts with Nowell, who is putting up some historic numbers this season.
Markquis Nowell's last 2 games:
🔥 59 PTS
🔥 19 AST
🔥 10 STL
The last D1 player to surpass those numbers in a 2-game span… Stephen Curry 👨🍳
— bet365 US (@bet365_us) January 4, 2023
Nowell already has 119 assists this year after finishing with 136 last season. It’s propelled Kansas State to the sixth-best assist rate in the country, and the Wildcats’ ball movement pops on the court.
It’s also thanks to Tang, an incredible Xs and Os coach. Did you know the Wildcats are the 16th-most efficient ATO offense in the nation? They’re scoring 1.036 PPP off Tang’s ATO sets.
While Nowell is the rightful leader of the team, Johnson’s story is miraculous. Less than three years ago, Johnson’s on-court collapse was a scary moment, and now he’s dropping over 18 points per game while being one of the most efficient scorers in the nation (1.097 PPP, 91st percentile).
Johnson has blossomed into everything he was expected to be at Florida. He beats everyone off the dribble and can score in a multitude of ways on the interior, whether it’s a pull-up jumper, floater or at the rim with either hand.
Keyontae Johnson had a season-high 28 PTS along with 9 REB & 5 AST on 62.5% shooting in a win against Texas. Showed the full package yesterday with his explosive first step & midrange shooting. Good seeing him succeed. pic.twitter.com/LcMP9d2hH9
— Israel (@iohandles) January 4, 2023
Surprisingly, you don’t see a lot of ball-screen action from Tang. Instead, he lets those top two guys attack in isolation scenarios and then has the secondary players cut or search for spot-up opportunities.
But when you have two elite dribble penetration guys, you can easily collapse defenses. That’s exactly what the Nowell-Johnson tandem has done, as they score in volume while not shooting from deep that often.
Defensively, Kansas State runs your stereotypical Big 12 no-middle-ish scheme, which Tang likely imported from Waco. But of course, his top two defenders are Nowell and Johnson.
Cam Carter and Nae’Qwan Tomlin have also stepped up big on that end.
Either way, things are clicking in Manhattan. Kansas State has jumped 50 spots in KenPom since the start of the year.
Tang and Drew run the same defensive scheme with almost identical effectiveness. Both force a high amount of turnovers and struggle to defend weak-side shooters.
Offensively, Tang and Drew run much different stuff. Tang uses his stars to get to the rim, while Drew runs a guard-heavy, perimeter-based offense.
Drew’s entire offense is based on LJ Cryer, Adam Flagler and Keyonte George creating off-the-dribble perimeter shots. The Bears are seventh nationally in off-the-dribble 3-point frequency and 24th in 3-point rate.
But Baylor also runs a lot of chuck-and-crash stuff, as the Bears are eighth nationally in OR% and generate over eight points per game on put-backs.
But the right guys go down, and your whole system can crash.
The Bears went 5-for-22 from 3 against Iowa State with Cryer on the bench. And Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua’s long-term knee injury has hurt the Bears’ frontcourt depth, as TCU cooked Baylor on the interior.
Image Credit: CBB Analytics
So, how do you fix it?
Health is one thing. Cryer seems to be okay again, which is a start.
Continued improvement from George is probably the next step. The freshman has become the team’s highest-usage player and one of the highest-usage players in the Big 12, but his efficiency is lagging slightly.
Image Credit: CBB Analytics
George’s best asset so far has been his court vision, as he’s immediately stepped in as Baylor’s biggest distributor. But alongside that has come a ton of turnovers, with his 18.2% turnover rate ranking in the 34th percentile of Division I players.
But that’s the problem with depending on a freshman so heavily, they are still young and aren’t quite ready to carry a team. The problem is the same at South Carolina with GG Jackson.
However, when George is cooking, he’s one of the best guards in America. His shot-making against TCU was wildly impressive and shows just how high this kid’s ceiling is.
Some really impressive shotmaking yesterday by Keyonte George. He had 27 points 6 rebounds 2 assists and 1 steal on 6/13 shooting. His 3 point shot making is great, bordering elite once that 3P% rises more. He also has really smooth driving ability, all shown below pic.twitter.com/djo2ulNmrF
— Mavs/Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) January 5, 2023
Doesn’t that look like a prototypical Drew guard? This kid could be special if he develops quickly, and the future of the Bears may well depend on that development.
Kansas State vs. Baylor Betting Pick
This is a good bounce-back spot for Baylor, especially now that the Bears have Cryer back in full health.
Meanwhile, we must reach the top of Kansas State’s market.
The problem is this line is just a tad too high. I just can’t justify laying two possessions in the Big 12 right now, no matter the team or the situation.
While I see no value on the spread, I don’t see how Kansas State walks out of Waco with a win. The Wildcats are entering a very tough road environment against a very hungry Bears team.
The best play here is to take Baylor’s ML and pair it up with another team you like to win or cover on Saturday. I don’t mind Illinois at home against Wisconsin.