NCAA Basketball Preview – Kansas at Baylor, Best Bets

#3 Kansas Travels to #1 Baylor for Saturday Showdown on ESPN!

When it comes to college basketball powers, the Kansas Jayhawks have long been well established.  The betting public fully recognizes their status of being in the upper crust elite of the sport. 

Head coach Bill Self has taken the Jayhawks to three Final Fours and a national championship since taking over in 2003-04. He has consistently overcome the Big 12 Conference, the NCAA, his own brawling players, and even the FBI itself to keep KU on top. Self wins the old-fashioned way; He entices the best players in the country to come to Lawrence.

By contrast the Baylor Bears are the ultimate “new money” program.  Baylor lacks the KU tradition and history, yet is ranked number one in the country.  Head coach Scott Drew took over a toxic program in 2003-04 and immediately established a strong culture based on work ethic. 

He has led the Bears to the most successful era in program history.  Drew implements one of college basketball’s best defenses in a bid for his first Final Four.  Kansas and Baylor will meet on Saturday with first place in the Big 12 and top March Madness seedings at stake.  

#13 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #1 Baylor Bears

Date and Time:  Saturday, February 22, 2020, Noon ET  
Location:  Ferrell Center, Waco, TX
Betting Online Odds:  Baylor -1, Total 128
Kansas vs. Baylor TV Coverage:  ESPN

Kansas Jayhawks vs. Baylor Bears Odds Overview

Betting action should be relatively even here as Kansas is an ultimate blue blood program with recent momentum.  Counter to that is a Baylor team ranked tops in the country and gaining considerable attention.  Lately both teams have shown good value on the board. The Bears are listed as short home favorites and a defensive battle is expected with a total hovering between 128 and 129.

Kansas Jayhawks Current Form 

Kansas has covered the spread in their last four games to improve their overall record to 23-3 straight up, 16-10 against the line, with 9-17 under the total.  Bill Self’s team has strong national metrics of 73rd for scoring offense and eighth for points allowed.  The sharpshooting Jayhawks rank eighth in the nation for field goal percentage.  Even more impressive is that they rank fifth in the land for opponent’s field goal percentage.  Kansas is coming off 91-71 win and payout as 17-point home chalks to Iowa State.  KU trails Baylor by one game in the Big 12 standings. 

Baylor Bears Current Form

Baylor has come away with the cash in their last three games to now stand at 24-1 straight up, 17-8 vs. the line, and 10-15 under the total.  The Bears have national rankings of 175th for scoring offense but third for points allowed.  Scott Drew’s defense ranks 12th in the nation for opponent’s field goal percentage.  The Bears are coming off a 65-54 win and cover as 2.5-point chalks at Oklahoma. 

Baylor Bears Players to Watch

Baylor’s top scorer is sophomore guard Jared Butler with 15.6 points and 3.0 assists per game.  Butler led the Bears with 22 points in the win over the Sooners.  It was the second consecutive game that he cleared the 20-point benchmark.  Junior guard MaCio Teague is averaging 14.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Bears and senior forward Freddie Gillespie is Baylor’s top rebounder with an average of 8.8 boards to go with 9.6 points per outing.

Kansas Jayhawks Players to Watch

Sophomore guard Devon Dotson leads the Jayhawks with 18.4 points and 4.2 assists per game.  In the win over Iowa State Dotson posted 29 points.  Senior center Udoka Azubuike is averaging 12.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per outing.  The seven-footer from Nigeria is also blocking 2.6 shots per game, often in dominant fashion. 

Jayhawks and Bears Against the Point-spread

KU has the hot hand with seven consecutive trips to the payout window in away games. 

Under the total has paid in nine consecutive Jayhawks road tilts.

Baylor has covered the spread in five of their last nine home games. 

Eight of their last 10 Ferrell Center matchups have stayed under the number.

This head to head series has trended strongly towards the visitor.  On January 11, the Bears scored a 67-55 upset win at Allen Fieldhouse where Kansas was an eight-point home chalk. 

KU has come away with the cash in 11 of their last 13 visits to Waco.  Only one of the last eight meetings between these teams at Baylor went over the total.   

Kansas Jayhawks vs. Baylor Bears Game Selection

This game should have it all, including a packed sellout crowd at the Ferrell Center.  With so much on the line expect a tough, low scoring defensive battle and  Kansas extracting revenge in a big road win.  The Jayhawks superior offensive firepower should prove to be the matchup difference on Saturday. 

Kansas Jayhawks vs. Baylor Bears Prediction: Kansas Jayhawks +1