Big 12 basketball rarely disappoints. College basketball fans seem to be in for another treat this Saturday as a ranked-on-ranked matchup awaits when the No. 13 Baylor Bears (17-5, 6-3 Big 12) head to Lawrence to face the No. 4 Kansas Jayhawks (18-5, 6-4).
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times in the Big 12 that neither of these teams resides atop the conference despite both being ranked as Top-15 clubs. That honor resides with No. 5 Houston, whom Kansas defeated 78-65 in a dominant performance at home last weekend.
Oddsmakers certainly seemed to have taken note of that victory and are buying into the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse. Checking out the college basketball odds, Kansas is listed at -8 while the total resides at 148.5.
I’ve taken note of one particular Jayhawk and his player prop. Check out our college basketball picks and predictions for Baylor vs. Kansas on Saturday, February 10.
Baylor vs Kansas best odds
Baylor vs Kansas picks and predictions
This version of the Kansas Jayhawks may not have the most depth of past iterations, but its starting five certainly can compete with any team in the nation.
Big man Hunter Dickinson is averaging 18.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per game as one of the sport’s most dominant forces. Kevin McCullar has been just as prolific, averaging 19.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game as a do-it-all ace. KJ Adams (12.7 ppg) and Dajuan Harris (6.7 assists per game) are known ballers, while freshman Johnny Furphy has emerged as this team’s X-factor with six double-digit scoring efforts in his last seven games.
Bill Self’s squad seemed to be rolling after a 29-point victory over Oklahoma State and the aforementioned 13-point statement win over Houston. Who on Earth wins by 13 points over a Kelvin Sampson Houston team? Exactly.
Just when you’re feeling yourself, that’s when reality hits in the most inopportune fashion. Kansas followed up that momentous Houston win with a five-point loss on the road against rival Kansas State, who entered that game having lost four in a row.
Next up on the schedule for Self’s squadron is Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears, winners of three in a row. All three have been impressive — an eight-point road win over UCF can easily be overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. No. 14 Iowa State has lost once since January 16, and that one demerit came at the paws of the Bears. And No. 23 Texas Tech couldn’t walk the walk in Waco.
As has become custom with Drew’s lineups, this Baylor team is well-equipped with an arsenal of offensive explosives. The Bears average 83.7 ppg and feature five players averaging double figures — the precocious Ja’Kobe Walter (14.2), the steadying presence of RayJ Dennis (13.8), the alliterative artist Langston Love (11.5), the floor-stretching Jalen Bridges (10.7), and the freshman freak Yves Missi (10.5).
Now that we’ve firmly established both teams are fully stocked with stars, let’s expound upon the brightest of them all — Dickinson.
I fancy the big man to register plenty of buckets on Saturday. He’s a star made to shine and he should do so in a plus matchup against a Baylor defense that ranks just 75th in adjusted efficiency (KenPom).
Baylor’s defense game plan involves running teams off the 3-point line, walling off the paint, and allowing a plentiful amount of mid-range jumpers free of charge. Per Hoop-Math, the Bears allow the third-highest percentage of opponent field-goal attempts to come via two-point jumpers (39.1%).
How does that benefit Dickinson? He lives in the mid-range as 48.6% of his attempts come on 2-point jumpers (also via Hoop-Math), the highest percentage on the Jayhawks by 9.5 percentage points. He takes such a high percentage of his shots there because he’s absolute cash, converting 52.9% of those looks, which is also the highest on his team.
The lefty is also great from close range, converting 75.4% of his looks at the rim. While the Bears do limit shots from up close (third-lowest percentage of shots allowed at the rim at 26.3%), they are an absolute sieve when adversaries to make it to the cup, ranking third-worst in field-goal percentage allowed at the rim (68.8%).
Dickinson is a maestro, and he’ll be able to cook from the mid-range and at the rim against a vulnerable defense.
My best bet: Hunter Dickinson Over 17.5 points (-125 at FanDuel)
Baylor vs Kansas same-game parlay
This three-leg SGP is playing along with the storyline that Kansas has some adept bucket-getters and will be able to score against this Baylor defense while acknowledging this is a sell-high spot on the Jayhawks.
In addition to my best bet, I’ll add freshman slinger Johnny Furphy to exceed his points prop of 10.5. The young man has topped this number in six of his last seven games and sets up well at home against a subpar defense.
The last leg is Baylor against the spread, which may seem out of the blue considering I’ve thus far spilled most of my ink on the Lawrence lads. This one is somewhat simple — I still think it’s time to sell high on Kansas as it went berserk from the field (68.9%) against a staunch Houston defense and therefore is being rewarded in the betting market for an outlier performance.
Baylor is about that life, and I’m willing to bet them against an inflated spread.
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Baylor vs Kansas spread and Over/Under analysis
Bookmakers opened this line at -6.5 but bettors quickly disagreed, moving it up to -8 at current at most books while -7.5 is also available. Cash communicators also disagreed with the opening total, moving it from 151.5 to 148.5 at current.
Always allow yourself to check our college basketball line movement tool to track fluctuations and ensure your wager is at the best price available before it is placed.
Baylor has been a profitable team to back this year at 12-7-2 ATS. Kansas, on the other hand, has been slightly unreliable at 10-12 ATS.
If you’re one for recent performance, you might be inclined the target the Jayhawks considering they’re 3-1 ATS in their last four while the Bears are just 1-2-1 ATS in their last four.
I’ve spoken my peace on preferring Baylor against the spread in the section above and I simply believe this is too many points to lay in a game between two elite teams.
As for the total, I’ll point out that the early money is in my preferred direction. Baylor has a below-average defense and great offense while being 12-9 O/U on the year, but it also plays at a slow pace (256th in KenPom’s adjusted tempo) and went on a run of four straight Unders to begin conference play before bookmakers starting adjusted their numbers.
The Bears racked up some big scores against overmatched non-conference defenses, but it’ll be increasingly more difficult to do so against tough conference opponents — especially on the road.
If you aren’t catching my drift, consider the fact that Baylor dropped 88 or more points nine times in non-conference play but has done so just once in Big 12 play. That’s code word for “lean toward the Under”.
Baylor vs Kansas betting trend to know
Hunter Dickinson has scored at least 18 points in six of his last eight games. Find more college basketball betting trends for Baylor vs. Kansas.
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Baylor vs Kansas game info
|Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
|Saturday, February 10, 2024
|6:00 p.m. ET
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