Baylor Bears vs. Kansas Jayhawks Pick ATS
Baylor Bears (18-0 SU, 13-5 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (17-8 SU, 12-11-1 ATS)
When: Saturday, February 27, 8 p.m.
Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.
Point Spread: BAY -5/KU +5 (Find the best sportsbooks >>> Why re-deposit and get NOTHING when you could get a 100% bonus up to $500!)
Last Time Out:
Baylor beat Iowa State 77-72; Kansas lost 75-72 to Texas in overtime.
About the Matchup:
You can probably count on one hand the number of times that Bill Self has been an underdog at Allen Fieldhouse and have fingers to spare, but that’s how good this Baylor team is when everything clicks. Prior to its most recent game against Iowa State — which, to be fair, came af-ter three weeks off from COVID — Baylor hadn’t allowed an opponent to stay within eight points of it all season.
Kansas was one of three teams to manage to keep the margin to single digits against Baylor — although that comes with an asterisk because the Jayhawks were down 11 with a second left before swishing a meaningless three at the buzzer when the teams met in Waco — and the Jayhawks have been playing much better in recent weeks. Kansas had won six straight Big 12 matchups before getting beat at Texas, and although there’s no shame in losing at Texas, the Jayhawks absolutely gave that game away. Can they recover from what they did wrong and get the biggest win of the season against Baylor?
Scouting the Bears:
The rust was evident for the Bears in their first game back from COVID concerns, as Baylor sleepwalked through the first 30 minutes before doing just enough to escape from Big 12 bot-tom-feeder Iowa State. That the undefeated Bears nearly lost to the Cyclones, who are winless in league play, speaks to the depth of the conference, but also to how long it takes to recover from a long COVID break.
Baylor should look more like itself in this one, which means getting MaCio Teague back on track. Teague did score 14 against Iowa State, but he shot just 38 percent while doing so, giving the Cyclones ample opportunity to stay in the game with his misses. Had Adam Flagler not picked up the slack, the Bears might very well have lost that game. Instead, Baylor remains on track to lock up a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history, a significant achievement for a program that some see as having underachieved since its most recent Elite Eight trip in 2012.
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Scouting the Jayhawks:
Kansas learned the truth the hard way: the Jayhawks cannot outscore Baylor. Kansas allowed the Bears to shoot 53.8 percent in the first meeting between these teams, which meant that the Bears led wire-to-wire despite Kansas shooting 52.6 from behind the arc and forcing 18 turnovers. To have a chance, the Jayhawks have to do a better job of forcing the Bears into shots they don’t want to take.
Getting more out of David McCormack than they did in the first meeting would also make a big difference. In theory, McCormack should be the key to this game, given that Baylor starts four guards and doesn’t have much of a presence inside. But McCormack picked up more fouls (four) than rebounds (two) in Waco and was confined to the bench after a mere 19 minutes of action. Kansas has to keep him on the floor and give itself some kind of answer to the Bears’ firepower.
Pressure. Is Baylor feeling the heat after getting through nearly four months of basket-ball without a loss? Getting 18 straight wins is difficult to do and borderline impossible when you play in a power conference (Gonzaga has it much easier, as nobody in the West Coast Con-ference can stand up to the Bulldogs). Against Iowa State, Baylor looked like a team worn down by the challenge of getting and taking everyone’s best shot.
Unlike Kansas, which has been here many times before, Baylor hasn’t really been the team in the top spot in quite a while. The Bears haven’t won a league title since 1950 and haven’t made a Final Four since then either, so Baylor’s really not used to being the hunted. So far, the Bears aren’t showing signs of handling it all that well.
Baylor will Cover If:
The Bears can shoot holes in the Kansas defense again. The Jayhawks have played a lot better on defense in recent games, but there’s a big difference between playing Kansas State and playing Baylor. The Bears have to hit shots early and show the Kansas defense that it isn’t going to be able to stay with their offense.
Kansas will Cover If: The Jayhawks can get a big game out of McCormack. Kansas has the edge inside and has to be ready to exploit it from the beginning. The Jayhawks ultimately failed to do it in the first meeting, and they have to show a deeper commitment to the inside game than they did in January. If the Jayhawks settle for outside shots again, they’ll be playing right into Baylor’s hands.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Baylor’s only won once in Lawrence, but that came last year when the Bears handled the Jayhawks by a 67-55 count. If that Baylor team could win in Kansas with fans in attendance, this one certainly can do it with limited attendance.
The Jayhawks should keep this closer than they did the first time, but the Bears are the better team here by a comfortable margin and should get the cover. Give me Baylor. Question: You’re most likely laying -110 odds on your college basketball bets at your sportsbook. Did you know that you could be laying only -105 elsewhere? Start saving big money by making the switch to reduced juice betting at BetAnySports Sportsbook today!