Baylor vs Kansas: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (2/5/22)

Baylor vs Kansas Betting Odds

The Battle for the Big 12 commences Saturday afternoon, as the 7-2 Baylor Bears will take on the 7-1 Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence.

Both Baylor and Kansas were in the news recently, as both lost their SEC-Big 12 challenge matchups.

Baylor dropped a tough one to Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide took the lead over the defending National Champs with 10 minutes left in the first half and never looked back. It was a beatdown.

Meanwhile, Kansas suffered a more-debilitating defeat. Kentucky whooped Kansas, as the Wildcats won outright by 18 after closing as five-point underdogs.

However, Baylor is an underdog for the first time this season, opening at +2.5.

Does that mean we’re auto-betting the Bears?

Baylor Bears Odds

Alabama has the perfect offense to beat Baylor’s no-middle defense. Everyone can shoot and everyone can pass, and therefore the Crimson Tide can beat the Bears with optimal spacing on the weak side.

However, that’s not how the game script went.

Alabama did shoot 7-for-21 from 3, including 7-for-16 from above the break, but the Crimson Tide overpowered Baylor on the interior. Look at this shot chart:

Screen Shot 2022 02 04 at 5.15.37 PM

Image credit: CBB Analytics

Alabama shot 20-for-23 at the rim. That’s an 87.5% clip, which is insane. The national average is 59.5%. Baylor leads the country in that stat at 74.4%, and it got beaten at its own game.

That’s a bit concerning. Baylor allowed a 2-point average of 54% in both the other losses.

Digging deeper: Baylor is ninth in the Big 12 in 2-point defense this season (54.8%). So, while Baylor is still very active and forces turnovers at a top-10 rate nationally, there’s some softness in the interior defense.

Kansas Jayhawks Odds

Although it was a much bigger beatdown, I’m much less concerned about the Jayhawks’ loss to Kentucky.

Kentucky is a really good team. A Final-Four caliber offense led by a top big man in college hoops and a bevy of young playmakers. Kentucky dropped 110 on Tennessee, I’m not surprised by that result.

Therefore, I’m not concerned about Kansas.

The inside-outside combination of Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack is so big. Thanks to those two, the ‘Hawks are third in offensive efficiency, 18th in effective field goal percentage, and 22nd in offensive rebounding rate.

Plus, Kansas trails only Baylor in Big 12 conference-only offensive efficiency.

Kansas has the worst defensive efficiency mark in the Big 12, however, which is somewhat surprising from a Bill Self-led team. KU has played better on that end in recent weeks, however, so I’m expecting this team to trend up in the future.

Baylor vs Kansas Prediction and Pick

My pick: Baylor +2.5 (-110 at FanDuel)

Scott Drew as an underdog is an auto-bet.

The last time Baylor was an underdog was in the National Championship game against Gonzaga. As four-point dogs, the Bears controlled the game from tip-until-buzzer.

I’m fully expecting Baylor to do the same thing in this game.

The key for Baylor will be to neutralized McCormack on the interior, as I’m very confident in the guards to match up well with Agbaji and Co.

But Baylor is an overall better defense than Kansas is, and defense travels. Meanwhile, look for Baylor to shoot the lights out again.

When everyone counts the Bears out, that’s when they perform their best. Take Baylor at +2 or better.

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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