Marquee NCAA Basketball Picks: Add Baylor & Kansas To Go 'Under' 146.5

Willie Bee

Saturday, January 2, 2016 2:16 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 2:16 PM UTC

The Kansas Jayhawks could be in a tough look-ahead spot on Saturday when they are double-digit favorites on the college basketball odds against the top 25 Baylor Bears.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 146½ 
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek


#23 Baylor vs. #2 Kansas
And so the quest begins. For 11 consecutive years, the Kansas Jayhawks have been adding to their trophy case by bringing home the Big 12 regular season title. About the only good news for the rest of the conference is all streaks do eventually come to an end.

The bad news is this just might be the best overall team Bill Self has had in Lawrence since the Jayhawks went all the way in the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, beating two top seeds in San Antonio that year in the first big dance that saw all of the No. 1 seeds make it to the Final Four. Kansas sits second in the latest AP poll, a rung lower on the coaches' list.

The first of 18 regular season league games takes place Saturday inside the friendly confines of Allen Fieldhouse, and Kansas' first victim, er, opponent is the Baylor Bears in a battle between ranked squads. CBS will broadcast the matchup starting at 4 PM (ET), and the NCAA basketball odds are all over the board ranging from KU -10½ at Bookmaker to -11 at 5Dimes to -11½ at Pinnacle. The early total is 146½.

If series trends are any indication, the Jayhawks should get off to a 1-0 start on this journey to a 12th-straight Big 12 banner. Kansas has won 24 of the previous 28 meetings, and all 13 of the clashes that took place on this floor. The Jayhawks have a 5-game win streak vs. Baylor, including dubyas and covers in all three of last season's meetings. The 'under' has also been a winner, cashing four of the last six get-togethers with one push a year ago in Lawrence.


Bears Winless In Two Road Games
Baylor (9-2 straight up, 1-5 against the spread) certainly isn't a team to take lightly despite the series trends and Kansas' win streak against the Bears. Scott Drew brings his side to Lawrence ranked 23/21 in the two polls following consecutive wins at home vs. New Mexico State and Texas Southern.

The Bears have played three ranked teams, but it hasn't been a very tough schedule they've faced otherwise. And it can't be too comforting for Baylor fans or backers to see that the only two road games ended in defeat against Oregon and Texas A&M, the Bears unable to cover either contest. They're averaging nearly 82 points per game, good enough for the top 40, but against the Ducks and Aggies, the Bears were held to 67 and 61 points, respectively.

The Bears do work the glass pretty well, led by 11 boards a contest from Rico Gathers who is also second on the team in scoring (14.1 ppg). They are hitting under 46% from 3-point range, however, relying on Taurean Prince and Al Freeman to supply most of the long-range sniping.


Jayhawks With 4-Straight Rock Chalk Covers
Self's biggest challenge Saturday might be to keep his Kansas (11-1 SU, 7-2 ATS) kids to keep from looking ahead to a potentially huge matchup with No. 3/2 Oklahoma on Monday. With top-ranked Michigan State's loss at unranked Iowa a few days ago, the KU/OU battle in Lawrence has 1-2 written all over it...assuming the Jayhawks can beat Baylor and the Sooners get past No. 11 Iowa State just after this game.

Kansas fell to those same Spartans early this season in Chicago, but have since reeled off 10 consecutive wins, covering seven of the eight games with official NCAA basketball odds listed. The Jayhawks are converting more than 51% of their field goals, and 45% from beyond the arc where the Jayhawks should have a definite edge with more bombers to go to than the Bears.

Maybe the smartest wager is to just take Kansas on the moneyline and scratch out a few dollars, but my NCAA basketball pick is on the final never reaching the scoreboard hurdle.

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