Bet Nebraska +3.5 vs. Baylor for NCAA Tournament

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 6:28 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2014 6:28 PM GMT

The Baylor Bears and Nebraska Cornhuskers were two of the hottest teams in the country down the stretch, which should lead to a back-and-forth battle Friday. Where does the best value lie for our NCAA Tournament picks?

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA Tournament odds for this second round matchup in the West Region at the AT&T Center, with the opening tip scheduled for 12:40 p.m. ET on truTV.

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Playing its best basketball

Baylor had its six-game winning streak snapped in dropping a 74-65 decision to the Iowa State Cyclones in the Big 12 Championship final last Saturday.

The Bears have compiled a solid 30-16 SU record in the months of March/April since the start of the 2008-09 campaign.

Nine of Baylor’s 11 losses this season are to programs ranked in the RPI top 40—an important number to remember with Friday’s opponent occupying the No. 49 spot.

Unable to hold on

Nebraska was unable to hold onto an 18-point second-half lead in getting eliminated by the Ohio State Buckeyes in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, but the roster is still confident it can make some noise in the Big Dance.

The Cornhuskers are led by Big Ten Coach of the Year Tim Miles, who directed  the program’s first top-four conference finish since the 1997-98 season.

College basketball handicappers will find that the squad is 20-6-1 ATS in its last 27 games following a loss.

Experienced group

The Bears are definitely a trendy pick at a large price to cut down the nets in the futures market, as they possess an experienced starting lineup led by senior forward Cory Jefferson, who is averaging 13.5 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Baylor is 9-3 in games decided by five points or less or in overtime—a dramatic improvement from its 3-8 mark in that situation a season ago.

Scoring is up

The Cornhuskers have increased their tempo on the offensive end, which has led to scoring 8.7 more points per game than they did during the 2012-13 campaign.

In two seasons under Miles, Nebraska has won 26 of 35 games when scoring over 60 points.

Keep an eye on sophomore guard/forward Terran Petteway, who owns the distinction of being the only Big Ten player with multiple 30-point games.

Compare 2013-14 NCAA Tournament Betting Futures

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cornhuskers as one of their college basketball picks, as they covered the number in 14 of their last 17 games.

Miles is light on postseason experience, but I think he can out coach Baylor’s Scott Drew on the sidelines.

NCAA Tournament Pick: Nebraska Cornhuskers +3.5

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