Texas vs Baylor: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (2/12/22)

Texas vs Baylor Betting Odds

Things aren’t great in Waco right now.

After a 15-0 start, the Bears are just 5-4 since. They’ve been hurt, but they’ve also had some terrible showings in that stretch.

Meanwhile, Texas is starting to play some of its best basketball.

The Longhorns were awful to begin the season, but they’ve recently picked up wins over Tennessee and Kansas – two KenPom top-10 teams.

Both these teams will be high seeds in the NCAA Tournament, but this game means a lot in the Big 12 regular-season race. At 8-3, Baylor is a half-game behind Kansas for the top spot. And at 7-4, Texas is a game behind Baylor.

So which team has the edge in Waco on Saturday?

Texas Longhorns Odds

The Longhorns are starting to look like the team that was ranked in the top-five in the preseason.

The offense is beginning to come around, as the team scored 1.22 points per possession against Kansas despite shooting 3-for-20 from 3.

Running the offense through Timmy Allen should be Chris Beard’s top priority. Allen took 17 2-point shots against Kansas and made 11 of them, scoring 24 points in the process.

When Allen is getting most of the shots in the flow of the offense, that’s when Texas is most effective.

Texas still defends at a high level, and it can always fall back on that. But for Texas to make a deep NCAA tournament run, the offense needs to come together.

Baylor Bears Odds

Waco’s injury report has been long lately.

Both James Akinjo and Adam Flagler have missed some time. LJ Cryer was in, then he was out, then he was in again. At the time of this writing, Cryer is still listed as questionable on Saturday with a foot injury.

However, despite the injuries, a 24-point loss to Kansas is inexplicable.

Kansas shot just 5-for-20 from 3 but made a whopping 64% of its interior shots. It also outrebounded the Bears 35-20 on the defensive end. Baylor also finished with a lackadaisical 10:14 assist-to-turnover ratio.

It was the furthest thing from Baylor basketball I’ve seen this season.

Baylor is generally tenacious, specifically in forcing turnovers and on the offensive boards. The team also shoots the lights out from 3, but it went just 7-for-27 in the Jayhawk loss.

And the no-middle defense is supposed to keep opposing offenses away from the interior. But Baylor has been getting cooked on the interior in recent games, allowing West Virginia to shoot 71% from 2 and Alabama to shoot 78%.

A similar thing happened last season, however. Baylor’s usually dominant defense took a nosedive following a long COVID pause. Scott Drew regrouped his guys following a Big 12 tournament loss, and Baylor’s defense stormed all the way back.

Don’t be surprised if that happens again this season.

Texas vs Baylor Prediction and Pick

My pick: Baylor -5.5 (-110 at BetMGM) IF LJ Cryer is healthy

Baylor is due for a classic Bears performance. It’s looked ugly for a while.

But if Cryer is healthy on Saturday, all the Bears’ major contributors will be in the fold. That would make me very confident in backing Baylor on Saturday.

Moreover, Texas has been playing great, but it’s likely due for a letdown game – especially on the road after beating Kansas.

I’ll take the Bears to win and cover convincingly.

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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