Baylor vs. Oklahoma State Basketball Odds & Pick: Cade Cunningham & Co. Can Hang With Bears
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Cade Cunningham drives against Miles McBride.
- Oklahoma State gets a third shot at Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament semis after the Bears won their two regular-season matchups.
- Despite Baylor's dominance, Cade Cunningham gives the Cowboys a shot to pull out the win in any game he's active.
- College basketball betting analyst BJ Cunningham breaks down the matchup and makes his pick below.
Baylor vs. Oklahoma State Odds
Oklahoma State looks for revenge against top-seed Baylor Friday night in the Big 12 tournament semifinals.
The Cowboys used a huge second-half run Thursday to beat West Virginia for the second time in less than a week. Cade Cunningham returned to the court after suffering an ankle injury a little over a week ago against Baylor and dropped 17 points in the win. Baylor swept Oklahoma State fairly handily during the regular season, so it’s going to be a tall task for the Cowboys to knock off the No. 2 team in the country.
Before their three-week COVID shutdown during the regular season, the Bears looked unstoppable, but after the shutdown they are looking really vulnerable. They barely beat a terrible Kansas State squad in the quarterfinals and never were able to pull away from the Wildcats. Scott Drew’s squad needs to start playing a lot better if they want to contend for a national title.
When Oklahoma State has the ball
It’s no surprise that Oklahoma State’s offense goes through Cunningham, as he’s leading the Cowboys in scoring at 19.7 per game. Oklahoma State plays a lot of isolation-heavy basketball with Cunningham and he was playing fantastic before getting injured against Baylor, scoring 24 points. The problem was his supporting cast didn’t help him at all, as he had more than 31% of the team’s points.
Where Oklahoma State was successful against Baylor was scoring inside, as the Cowboys shot a blistering 63.6% from inside the arc. However, the way you beat this Baylor team is from behind the arc. The Bears allow better than 37% from three-point range and allowed Kansas State to shoot 40% from deep on Thursday. Oklahoma State combined for 11-of-29 from three-point range in both meetings with Baylor this season, so the Cowboys have to shoot a higher percentage on Friday night.
Oklahoma State biggest issue heading into this game is going to be holding onto the ball. Baylor has the third-highest turnover rate on defense, while Oklahoma State has the second-highest turnover rate in the conference. The Cowboys turned it over 18 times in their loss to Baylor a little over a week ago, so they have to hang on to the ball if they want to have any chance of winning.
When Baylor has the ball
The Bears’ offense has been absolutely destroying the rest of the Big 12, averaging 1.18 points per possession in conference play. They put up their season average against Oklahoma State last Thursday and beat Oklahoma State from all over the floor, shooting better than 56% from two-point range and better than 40% from three.
Baylor is the best three-point shooting team in the conference, making more than 42% of its three-point attempts. Baylor also shoots threes on almost 40% of its field-goal attempts, so as long as it’s hitting a high percentage, it’ll shoot most teams out of the gym. The good news for Oklahoma State is it possesses the best three-point defense in the conference, allowing 32% from deep.
Baylor also dominates inside, shooting better than 54% from two-point range and 64.2% on attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math, both of which are the best marks in the Big 12. Oklahoma State plays solid defense inside, allowing worse than 47% shooting from two-point range and ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. If the Cowboys want any shot at winning this game, they have to find a way to hold Baylor to fewer than 75 points, which they failed to do in both meetings during the regular season.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The way the Cowboys are playing right now with Cade Cunningham back at full strength, they look like one of the best teams in the country. Baylor has looked vulnerable ever since coming back from their COVID shutdown, so I think Oklahoma State has a good shot at hanging with Baylor.
I only have Baylor projected as a -7.69 favorite, so I think there is a little bit of value on the Cowboys at +9 (FanDuel) or better.
Pick: Oklahoma State +9
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