Baylor vs. Arizona State: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (11/24/21)

Baylor vs. Arizona State Betting Odds

The Bears lost their three best players from last year, and yet are looking almost as good as during their championship run. The Bears are currently ranked #6 in the AP Poll and are fourth in KenPom’s efficiency ratings.

Meanwhile, Arizona State played its first decent game of the season last Thursday, losing by two to San Diego State as 8.5-point underdogs.

Once again, the Sun Devils are catching eight points once again in this game. But is Bobby Hurley’s squad frisky enough to cover another big spread against a dominant defensive opponent?

Baylor Bears Odds

Baylor lost four starters and his top three scorers from last season, but Scott Drew managed to return its top seven other players. Drew also added the program’s best-ever recruiting class (fourth nationally per ESPN) and some impact transfers.

The biggest addition has been former Georgetown and Arizona guard James Akinjo. Akinjo was a first-team All-Pac-12 guard last season, and so far he’s replaced a lot of what the Baylor backcourt did last season.

Akinjo can score (18 points vs. Central Arkansas), shoot from deep (40% from 3 last season), and run Drew’s offense to perfection (averaging over seven per game).

Meanwhile, Drew’s no-middle defensive scheme is working to perfection. Drew’s defense is meant to force opponents to the sidelines and baselines rather than the middle, avoiding shots at the rim and forcing teams into long, turnover-prone skip passes.

Well, only 15% of Baylor’s opposing shots are coming at the rim, which is second in the country.  And the Bears currently rank third nationally in defensive turnover rate (30.3%) and second in defensive steal rate (17.8%).

The Bears have now covered in three straight games, and they have a solid Quad 3 victory over Stanford, whom they beat by 38. Things are looking up again in Waco.

Arizona State Sun Devils Odds

I’ve been low on the Sun Devils since pre-season, believing that losing Remy Martin and over 60% of their minutes from last season would hinder this team’s ceiling. The loss to UC Riverside only reinforced those feelings.

However, the team woke up against San Diego State. The Sun Devils shot well over 50% from inside the arc, and they managed to relatively avoid turnovers with 11. Plus, they held the Aztecs to just .86 points per possession.

But can ASU keep it up?

I believe a lot of that is up to Marreon Jackson. He had an impact game against SDSU, dropping 16 points with seven assists and seven rebounds. However, he’s been largely terrible otherwise, and he only shot 2-for-12 from deep in that game.

Kimani Lawrence will continue to score at a high clip with high efficiency, but he needs more help on that end.

Prediction and Pick

My pick: Baylor -9.5 or better

I’m worried about the Arizona State turnover issues.

Before Jackson’s seven assists and two turnovers against SDSU, he had a 3.7:2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio before that. Now, he’ll be facing the most aggressive and assertive defense in the nation.

Meanwhile, Baylor is on the come-up. After three straight covers, I am starting to believe coach Drew has started to develop chemistry and cohesion within his new lineup.

I don’t trust the Sun Devils, and I’m not getting in the way of the Bears. Give me Baylor by double-digits.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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