No. 17 Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 2 Baylor Bears Betting Preview
Line: Baylor -4.5
Where: Allen Fieldhouse
When: Saturday, 2/27, at 8:00 p.m. ET
No. 2 Baylor will play its third and final game in the month of February when it travels to Allen Fieldhouse for a showdown with No. 17 Kansas on Saturday night.
The Bears had five consecutive games postponed in the middle of the month due to COVID-19 issues within their program. They looked shaky in their first game back, but they were able to overcome a 17-point deficit to get past Iowa State 77-72 as 24-point favorites on Tuesday.
Kansas had its five-game winning streak snapped in a 75-72 overtime loss at No. 14 Texas on Tuesday night. The Jayhawks are in good form, though, covering the spread at a 5-0-1 clip in their last six games.
Circa Sports opened Baylor as a six-point road favorite on Friday afternoon. Saturday night’s total opened at 143.5. By early Friday evening, the Bears had been adjusted to 4.5-point ‘chalk.’ KU was +150 on the money line.
Allen Fieldhouse has been a house of horrors for Baylor, which is 1-15 in its last 16 trips to Lawrence. The Bears will have to buck history if they want to keep their unbeaten season alive on Saturday night. They are listed at -1000 to snag a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and need to win just one of their next four games to clinch their first Big 12 regular-season championship.
Baylor’s first meeting with Kansas resulted in a 77-69 win on Jan. 18. Junior guard Jared Butler, who leads the team with 17.1 points and 5.1 assists per game, poured in 30 points in the win. However, the Jayhawks took the cash miraculously on a desperation 40-footer that banked home at the buzzer.
Scott Drew’s team is known for its defense, but the Bears’ offense ranks No. 4 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings and No. 2 in effective field goal percentage.
They are the top 3-point shooting team in college basketball at 43.2%. Junior guard Davion Mitchell is scoring 13.4 PPG and is shooting at a blazing 48.2% clip from beyond the arc. Senior guard Macio Teague is adding 14.7 points and 4.0 RPG.
Sophomore forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is scoring 7.8 points and grabbing 6.4 RPG, but he missed Tuesday’s game due to COVID-19 protocols. He is listed as ‘questionable’ for this game.
They will be facing a Kansas defense that is No. 11 in adjusted efficiency and has been solid in every metric. The Jayhawks have not been quite as good offensively, listed at No. 192 in effective field goal percentage.
They are led by junior guard Ochai Agbaji, who is scoring 13.8 points per game. He had 16 points in the first meeting with Baylor and had 17 in the loss at Texas on Tuesday. Junior forward David McCormack is scoring 13.0 points and is grabbing 6.0 RPG, but he was not effective against the Bears in January.
Kansas has three other players averaging double figures and will need a team effort to pull off the upset Saturday night. Freshman Jalen Wilson, who tailed off for part of the season, has now notched double-doubles in six of his last seven games.
The Jayhawks have had five players score in double figures in each of their last two games. Baylor’s defense is No. 10 in adjusted efficiency and it forces the third-most turnovers in the country.
Both teams are on fire for our purposes. Baylor is 13-5 ATS in its last 18 games, while the Jayhawks are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six. These teams have played ‘under’ the total in 12 of their last 16 head-to-head meetings.
The pick: Baylor -4.5
This has been one of the weirdest seasons in college basketball, so Baylor picking up a rare road win at Allen Fieldhouse should come as no surprise. The Bears had to knock off some rust against Iowa State on Tuesday, but I expect them to re-find their form on Saturday night. They have the second-best average winning margin (23.1) in the country behind Gonzaga, which is wildly impressive given how tough the Big 12 has been this season. Kansas was swept by Texas in its home-and-home series on Tuesday—it will be swept again on Saturday night.