Texas Tech vs. Baylor Odds & Pick
Texas Tech Red Raiders (17-8 SU, 10-15 ATS) vs. Baylor Bears (20-1 SU, 14-7 ATS)
When: Sunday, March 7, 4 p.m.
Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
Point Spread: TTU +8/BAY -8 (BetOnline)
Last Time Out:
Texas Tech defeated Iowa State 81-54; Baylor beat Oklahoma State 81-70.
About the Matchup:
The final game before the Big 12 tournament matches a pair of rivals looking to gain a bit of momentum before the final push for the NCAA tournament. Texas Tech has managed to win three in a row, but the Red Raiders haven’t won a game outside of Lubbock since February 6 (and given that it was Kansas State, it doesn’t really count for much). The Red Raiders will be comfortably in the tournament, but they’d like a win over Baylor to prove they can do it before the NCAA tournament.
Baylor, on the other hand, is trying to get back on track after its COVID pause cost them all of its momentum. The Bears have a No. 1 seed locked up, but if they don’t improve on the way they played at Kansas, they’re going to have trouble making the kind of run their talent sug-gests. The Bears have better guard play than anyone, and they’ll need to put it on display if they’re going to rebuild their momentum in time for the Big 12 and NCAA tournament.
Scouting the Red Raiders:
When you think about Texas Tech basketball, you think about defense, defense, and more de-fense. The Red Raiders seem to have finally figured that out, as they’ve held their past three opponents to 59 points or less. Granted, two of those were against Iowa State and TCU, who have been two of the three weakest teams in the Big 12, but the Red Raiders have also man-aged to keep Texas under that number.
When the Longhorns made the trip to Lubbock, Texas Tech controlled the game by holding Tex-as to just 34.7 percent from the field, allowing the Red Raiders to pull away in the second half. What made that game more impressive for the Red Raiders was they did it their way, without having anyone stand out on offense. Mac McClung still shot a little more often than he should have, taking 13 of the Red Raiders’ 50 shots, but as a whole, the Red Raiders ended up with 46 of 68 points coming from the starters and an efficient attack. Texas Tech doesn’t really need much more than that.
Scouting the Bears:
The Bears needed those games against West Virginia and Oklahoma State, as they’ve now got-ten themselves back on track and figured out what was wrong with the offense. Baylor is built around its great guards, and when the Bears don’t shoot it well, they’re in big trouble.
In the win over Oklahoma State, the Bears looked much more like themselves. Baylor couldn’t find an answer for Cade Cunningham, but it didn’t matter because the Bears shot 51 percent from the floor and forced 18 turnovers, numbers built off the backs of their superior guard play. What makes the Bears so dangerous is that they don’t have just one or two guards that teams can focus on stopping. If MaCio Teague and Jared Butler are struggling, Matthew Mayer and Mark Vital are perfectly capable of picking up any slack. It’s a combination that few teams are able to match, and it’s why the Bears have lost just once all season.
Rest vs. preparation. The cake is already baked for both of these teams, as Baylor’s going to be a No. 1 seed, and Texas Tech will be safely in the field. The Red Raiders can improve their seed a line or two with a nice run in the Big 12 tournament, but ultimately, Texas Tech’s probably not getting above a No. 3 or No. 4. With both teams having little to play for here, these teams might choose to get a few starters some rest and prepare themselves for what really matters: the NCAA tournament. Ultimately, while this is a rivalry game, it’s relative-ly meaningless compared to what’s coming up in Indianapolis, and that’s likely to be these teams’ focus.
Texas Tech will Cover If:
The Red Raiders can play tight defense and force the Bears away from their shooting spots. Texas Tech wants to slow this game down and force Baylor into bad shots when the Bears do have it, and they’ll try to do everything possible to throw the Bears off their rhythm. As long as the Red Raiders don’t try to do too much on offense, this has a chance of working.
Baylor will Cover If:
The Bears get the offense moving. Baylor has to force Texas Tech out of its comfort zone by forcing the Red Raiders to play faster than they want, which can both open things up and force the Red Raiders’ shooters to try to do too much. When Texas Tech deviates from its system, the results can be ugly.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Baylor’s picked up its game as of late, which is why the line has jumped to where it is, but I think the Bears are going to have their focus elsewhere in this one. With little on the line for Baylor, I expect Scott Drew to use this game to ensure that his team is healthy, making this a game where I really don’t want to place a large bet on either team.
It’s usually wise to take the points in a situation like that, so that’s what I’m going to do here. Give me Texas Tech. Did you know that you can bet on games live-in-progess as they happen? Find the BEST live wagering platform on the planet at Bovada Sportsbook. They’ll give you a 50% real cash bonus too!