NCAAB Betting Prediction For Baylor vs. Virginia (11/18/22)

Virginia and Baylor climbed to the top of the college basketball mountain in back-to-back tournaments, and both are built for a deep tournament run this season. A win in this neutral site game in Las Vegas could vault either team into the early championship conversation. Will Baylor hold the line, or is Virginia back to form after missing last year’s tournament?

Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for Friday’s matchup at T-Mobile Arena.

Baylor vs. Virginia Odds

Baylor is a 4.5-point favorite, entering at -205 on the moneyline.

Neither team has been tested very much early in the season, so it’s no surprise the line has Baylor as a small favorite. The Bears are ranked 5th in the nation and have won in big moments more recently. With that being said, oddsmakers are putting faith in an upstart Virginia team without many brand names to hang with Baylor.

Baylor vs. Virginia Prediction & Pick

Virginia wins the depth battle and brings one of the nation’s top defenses to the table, but even after a nice offseason, the concern is that the Cavaliers don’t have the offense to compete with the nation’s best.

By all indications, Baylor’s offense is as lethal as ever. The Bears have one of the nation’s top offensive backcourts, and it doesn’t look like losses in the frontcourt are going to hurt very much – especially if Keyonte George can build on what he’s done so far.

I expect a lower-scoring game than Baylor is used to, but Virginia doesn’t look like it has the offensive firepower to hang with the Bears right now. Baylor -4.5 is the sensible pick.

My Pick: Baylor -4.5

Baylor vs. Virginia Key Matchups

As you’d expect, this Baylor team can score. Some of the biggest pieces from the 2021 championship team may be gone, but Scott Drew’s mentality isn’t.

LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler have a chance to be one of the nation’s best backcourts this season and toy with defenses. The frontcourt has undergone some changes, though. Flo Thamba is back, which is huge for the defense. West Virginia transfer Jalen Bridges has looked terrific early on, while standout freshman Keyonte George might be the key to how high Baylor’s ceiling can be. George has filled the stat sheet early in his career, doing a little bit of everything, but he has a tendency to go cold offensively.

Tony Bennett has the type of defense that can make life difficult for young players like George. Cryer and Flagler, on the other hand, are experienced guards who could shoot their way past the Cavaliers’ defense. Flagler has been excellent offensively to open the season.

Even in a down year, Virginia’s defense had teams confused last season. UVA allowed only 60.1 points per game, good enough for sixth in the nation. The question is where the offense will come from. Leading scorer Jayden Gardner is gone, leaving Armaan Franklin and Kihei Clark as the two veteran scoring options. Neither has been a premier scorer in the past. It’s going to be a collective effort for Virginia on the offensive side of the ball this season.

The key for Virginia, as usual, will be the defense in this one. Franklin and Clark aren’t as talented offensively as the backcourt of Flagler and Cryer. Thamba may cause trouble for an offensively-challenged Cavaliers frontcourt.

The only way Virginia wins this game is if Cryer and Flagler are kept in check. Even then, you have to worry about Bridges or George putting up a big performance. If there’s one major advantage for Virginia, it may be depth. Baylor doesn’t have the bench it did two years ago, while Tony Bennett’s team is going to thrive on its many options.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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