Last Updated Dec 31, 2021, 1:00 PM

Baylor Bears vs. Iowa State Cyclones Picks, Predictions, Odds

Jan. 1, 2022
Dave Schwab
VI Betting Expert

In one of the top showdowns in college basketball on New Year’s Day, the No. 1 Baylor Bears kick off Big 12 play on the road against the No. 8 Iowa State Cyclones. Saturday’s tip from James H. Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa is set for 2 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU.

Score Prediction

Iowa State 71, Baylor 69

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Baylor Bears vs. Iowa State Cyclones Predictions

Baylor starts conference play the same way it ended last season as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Bears ran their current straight-up winning streak to 18 games with 12 wins to start this season. As impressive as this team’s performance has been over that amazing run, a few injury concerns and fate might be working against Baylor on Saturday afternoon.

Iowa State opens up play in the Big 12 at 12-0 SU as well. The Cyclones’ early record is littered with SU upsets against Xavier, Memphis, Creighton and Iowa. However, given what we have seen from this team so far, they would most likely be favored if they had to play those same teams again.

Baylor won both meetings last season SU as a heavy favorite. I do not see the Bears looking past this game given Iowa State’s current ranking, but I am not sure they realize just how tough this matchup really is. Iowa State is already playing with house money while having the luxury of playing this game at home. With two unbeatens going against each other, I am taking the home team SU on the money line.

Baylor Bears vs. Iowa State Cyclones Betting Odds

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Baylor Bears vs. Iowa State Cyclones Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 12
  • Date: Saturday, January 1, 2022
  • Venue: James H. Hilton Coliseum
  • Location: Ames, Iowa
  • TV-Time: ESPNU - 2:00 p.m. ET

Baylor Bears Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 12-0
  • ATS: 8-3-1
  • O/U: 7-5

Baylor has yet to rely on the full talent of this team to win a game. With its top scorer, guard LJ Cryer (13.6 points) nicked up with a foot injury, that could be more significant than it appears. The fact that guard Matthew Mayer also remains on the injury list increases that concern.

The Bears would still have to be off their game to lose on Saturday but the timing may be right. This is still an incredible team on either end of the court. Averaging 83.8 points per game, Baylor has impressive scoring depth deep into its bench.

After Cryer, guards’ Kendall Brown (13 points) and James Akinjo (12.8 points) are the Bears’ next two highest scorers. As mentioned, this lineup is deep in scoring with seven different players averaging at least nine points a game. Akinjo leads the way in assists with 6.3 a game.

Overall, Baylor is shooting 48.8% from the field and 35.8% from three-point range. It is pulling down an average of 41.1 rebounds with 14.3 a game on offense. As good as Baylor is scoring points, this is also one of the best defensive teams in the nation with a points-allowed average of 56.8.

Iowa State Cyclones Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 12-0
  • ATS: 8-4
  • O/U: 4-8

Along with 12 SU victories in non-conference play, Iowa State has been able to cover the spread in eight of those games. It is 5-1 ATS in its last six games. The total went OVER 126.5 points in the recent 79-49 rout of Chicago State after staying UNDER in the previous four games.

Guard Izaiah Brockington has been the big story for the Cyclones during this SU unbeaten start. He leads the team in both points (16.9) and rebounds (8.4) while connecting on 50% of his shots from the field. He is hitting 76.4% of his attempts from the free throw line.

Guard Gabe Kalscheur is next on the list with 11.2 PPG and guard Tyrese Hunter (9.8 points) has led the way in assists with 5.1 a game. Guard Caleb Grill is the team’s best threat shooting from outside the arc. He has connected on 23 of 50 three-point attempts this season.

As a team, Iowa State’s field goal percentage stands at 45.5 with a 35.5 shooting percentage from beyond the three-point line. The Cyclones have averaged 73.1 PPG. Interestingly enough, they basically match Baylor’s points-allowed average on defense at 56.1.

Inside the Stats - Baylor Bears

  • Record: 12-0
  • VI Ranking: 1
  • PS/G: 83.8 (12th)
  • PA/G: 56.8 (10th)
  • ORtg: 117.8 (9th)
  • DRtg: 80 (2nd)

Inside the Stats - Iowa State Cyclones

  • Record: 12-0
  • VI Ranking: 4
  • PS/G: 73.1 (161st)
  • PA/G: 56.1 (7th)
  • ORtg: 105 (141st)
  • DRtg: 80.6 (4th)

Key Players to Watch

  • BAY: Kendall Brown - G (13 ppg)
  • BAY: James Akinjo - G (12.8 ppg, 6.3 apg)
  • IWST: Izaiah Brockington - G (16.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg)
  • IWST: Gabe Kalscheur - G (11.2 ppg)

Baylor Bears vs. Iowa State Cyclones Betting Conclusion

The Bears have the SU 7-3 edge in 10 previous meetings with the series tied 5-5 ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in three of the last four games between these two teams.

Baylor remains one of the top scoring teams in the country (12th). However, Saturday’s showdown will feature two of the best defenses in Division I ball. This could work in Iowa State’s favor in its bid to knockoff the reigning champs.

Baylor Bears vs. Iowa State Cyclones Betting Trends

  • Baylor has covered the spread in eight of its last 12 games.
  • Iowa State has covered the spread in two straight games.
  • Iowa State has covered the spread in four straight games when playing as the underdog.
  • Iowa State has gone UNDER the point total in eight of its last 12 games.

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