Baylor Bears vs. Kansas Jayhawks Preview and Pick – Point Spread

NCAA basketball Baylor Bears (14-2, 7-2 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (16-1, 7-6-1 ATS), Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Wednesday, Jan. 20th, 9 PM Eastern, ESPN2
By Z-Man of

Point Spread: Jayhawks -14 1/2/Bears +14 1/2
Over/under: 149

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The former and possible future No. 1 ranked team in the land looks to extend the nation’s longest home winning streak when the Kansas Jayhawks host the Baylor Bears for a Big 12 Conference game Wednesday night at The Phog.

Most online sportsbooks opened this game with Kansas favored by 14 1/2 points over Baylor, with a total of 149. And while those numbers have held steady into Wednesday morning, the total can be gotten at 147.5 at some college basketball betting outlets.

Baylor returned just two starters from a team that won 24 games last season, and was expected to have a tough time finishing in the upper half of the Big 12 this season. But so far, so good. The Bears began the season with four straight wins over less-than-stellar competition, then lost by three points to Alabama on a neutral court down in Florida. BU then finished off its non-conference schedule with nine straight wins, including victories over Xavier, Arizona State and Arkansas. Baylor then began its Big 12 slate with a 31-point victory over Oklahoma, but then lost at home to Colorado. Last Saturday the Bears got back on the winning track with an 83-70 decision over Oklahoma State 83-70.

Kansas returned the entire squad from an outfit that won the Big 12 regular-season title and advanced to the Sweet 16 last season. And they began this season as 3/1 favorites at sportsbooks across the Internet to win the NCAA championship. The Jayhawks then won 14 straight games to open the season, albeit over a mediocre non-con schedule. Kansas then got upset 76-68 by a shorthanded Tennessee team in Knoxville, shooting just 38% from the floor. The Jayhawks have since opened their Big 12 slate with a 12-point win at Nebraska and an 89-63 romp over Texas Tech Saturday, covering the spread as 21-point favorites.

So at 2-0 in conference play Kansas sits atop the Big 12, just ahead, technically, of Texas and Kansas State, who are both 3-1. Baylor follows at 2-1.

On the season the Bears are shooting 49% from the field, 40% from 3-point land and 67% from the free-throw line. Baylor is also holding opponents to just 37% FG shooting. And the Bears, thanks in large part to 6-10 transfer Ekpe Udoh, are a much-improved team this year on the boards, outrebounding opponents on average by 12 per game.

Kansas is shooting a conference-best 50% from the floor this season, 42% from long range and 71% from the line. The ‘Hawks are also limiting opponents to just 35.5% FG shooting, and outboarding foes by 10 per game.

KU is also already 12-0 straight up at Allen Fieldhouse this season, and has won 52 games in a row there overall.

The Bears are 2-1 both SU and ATS this season in true road games.

These two teams split two games last season. Kansas beat Baylor in Waco during the regular season 75-65, but the Bears upset the top-seeded Jayhawks in the second round of the Big 12 tournament 71-64.

Both those games stayed UNDER their posted totals.

The totals are 6-3 in Bears games this season, which are averaging 142 points, but 5-8 in Jayhawks games, even though their games are averaging 146 points.

The Jayhawks are ranked second on the Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at at 94.6, with Baylor rated 35th at 84.5. Toss in Sagarin’s updated CBB home-court advantage figure of 4.1, and Kansas is favored by 14 points over the Bears for Wednesday’s game on the Sagarin line.

Z-Man’s Pick: This game doesn’t have much value when it comes to betting. If you absolutely have to bet on it though, I’d recommend a play on the UNDER.