Kansas vs. Baylor Betting Picks, Odds & Predictions: Are the Jayhawks Undervalued on the Road?
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Devon Dotson and Mark Vital.
- In perhaps the college basketball game of the year, the No. 1 Baylor Bears will host the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks at 12 p.m. ET (ESPN).
- Our power ratings have Kansas as the better team, which is why Baylor is only a small -1.5 favorite on the spread at home.
- See how our experts are betting the spread and over/under for this marquee matchup below.
Kansas vs. Baylor Odds
- Odds: Baylor -1.5
- Over/Under: 127
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
You may not have expected Kansas vs. Baylor to be a matchup of top three teams before the season, but the Bears just keep winning.
Saturday, the Jayhawks will look to avenge a January home loss to Baylor and snap its 23-game winning streak.
Odds Moves for Kansas-Baylor
While Baylor is the No. 1 team in the AP Poll, Kansas is the top team in our power ratings, nearly three points better than Baylor on a neutral court.
That’s why the Bears are only a short favorite here. Baylor opened at -2.5 at MGM and -2 everywhere else, and is down to -1.5 at a lot of shops as of 7:30 a.m. ET.
Betting action is split evenly, with 52% of tickets and 54% of money on Baylor. — Steve Petrella
When Baylor Has the Ball
The Bears are no slouch on offense, ranking top 25 in adjusted efficiency and fielding a national top 5 ranking in offensive rebounding. Baylor was out rebounded in its first matchup with Kansas, but managed to shoot 42% from 3-point range.
The Bears may not be as effective from long range in this one, as their conference 3-point shooting has shrunk to 32.6% since the turn of the year.
Baylor has the best offensive steal rate in the Big 12 as ball protection will be paramount. Kansas had double digit blocks in their first meeting.
Baylor’s Achilles Heel on offense is blocks with a rank of 351st in all Division I. The key to a Baylor victory is to stay hot from outside, continue to deny turnovers and avoid having to go to the paint for points against Kansas’s elite interior defense. — Collin Wilson
When Kansas Has the Ball
The Jayhawks are 11th in adjusted offensive efficiency and seem to do most everything better than anyone else in the nation. Sophomore Devon Dotson is the front runner for Player of the Year, while Udoka Azubuike is considered the best big man in college hoops.
Kansas is 15th nationally in 2-point percentage with a point distribution rank of 40th nationally from that range. In short, Kansas loves to score in the paint and is backed by one of the best rebounding rates in the Big 12.
This game will come down to ball protection, much like in the previous loss to Baylor on Jan. 11.
Kansas out-rebounded Baylor on the offensive and defensive side of the court while blocking 10 shots, but carelessness with the ball dictated the final score.
Baylor had just five turnovers in comparison to 14 for Kansas. Baylor is top 20 in the nation in steal percentage, making Kansas protection of the ball the single biggest aspect to a Jayhawks victory. — Collin Wilson
Of concern is Kansas’s free-throw shooting, ranking 298th at 66.7%. In conference play, the Jayhawks have enjoyed good fortune from their opponents, who are only shooting 64.4% from the charity stripe, worst among all opponents in conference play. — Mike Randle
Kansas Dominant on the Road
Kansas has been dominant in Big 12 play on the road. The Jayhawks are undefeated on the road while posting a perfect 6-0 record against the spread. Their spread differential in those games is an impressive +45, meaning they cover their point spread by an average of 5.6 points per game.
Baylor is undefeated at home (also 6-0) but just 2-2 in their last four Big 12 home games with a spread differential of just +0.5 in those games. On a positive note, their effective field goal percentage allowed (43.2%) and 3P% defense allowed (29.5%) have even improved from their strong non-conference numbers. — Mike Randle
Our Best Bets
This is just a classic spot that Kansas coach Bill Self wins often. I’m not a huge trend player, but the numbers say it all:
- 26-18-1 ATS overall as an underdog (14% ROI).
- 10-3-1 ATS as a road underdog against top 10 teams, covering by an average margin of 5 points per game. Self is the second-most profitable coach to back in this situation of 470 coaches in our Bet Labs database.
- 5-0-1 ATS on the road as an underdog against top 5 teams.
- 23-1 SU in same-season revenge games, including an astonishing 18-6 ATS record.
The Jayhawks are led by a dynamic inside-out duo of Azubuike and Dotson — two potential first team All Americans. Keep in mind that Dotson hurt his hip a few minutes into the first meeting against Baylor and just wasn’t the same player the rest of the way as he tried to play through it. He was noticeably limping and even missed the team’s next game against Oklahoma as a result.
The Kansas role players are also playing a lot better right now than they were at the beginning of conference play when these teams met.
I still think Baylor can be vulnerable against elite bigs and Kansas certainly has one. As long as Azubuike stays out of foul trouble (which is always worth monitoring), he should clean up inside.
I’ve had the Jayhawks as my top rated team for a few weeks now and given the situation, would take them at anything +2 or better. Then again, Baylor has proven me wrong all season and continued to rob my bank roll, but I’m rolling with what I see here and trusting my numbers and the spot.
MaCio Teague could potentially miss for Baylor or not be at 100% which would only help KU as well. — Stuckey
Stuckey’s Pick: Kansas +2 or better
This is a Kansas team that has been in this spot many times during Self’s tenure, and has shown dominance on the road all season.
The uncertainty of junior guard MaCio Teague for Baylor looms large, as he has missed the last two games with a wrist injury. Teague totaled 16 points, five rebounds, and went 3 of 5 from 3P in their first meeting.
I expect freshman Christian Braun (44.3% 3P) to play a much bigger role than their first meeting as his production has greatly increased.
This is a must-win for Kansas if they want to regain the Big 12 championship after seeing their 14-year reign snapped last year by Texas Tech and Kansas State.
I will take the road warrior Jayhawks with a solid point guard-center combination as a slight underdog in Waco. — Mike Randle
Randle’s Pick: Kansas +2 or better