Baylor opens as NCAA basketball odds favorite; but neither Baylor or Texas have been very good bets as of late and both teams are struggling in Big 12 play in urgent need of a victory Saturday night.
'Horns-Bears Betting Odds
Most of the NCAA basketball odds opened Baylor at -3 for this game, and that line was holding steady in the early betting. Those wishing to eschew the point spread here could play the Bears at -155 on the moneyline at BetOnline, while Texas could be gotten at +140 at Heritage to win this game outright.
Heading into this season we gave Texas, which returned basically the whole roster from a team that made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last March, a decent chance of finally knocking Kansas from the top of the Big 12 standings. And the Longhorns started 11-2 through non-conference play, with one of those losses coming against Kentucky. But at the moment those lofty expectations appear slightly off, because Texas has lost four of its first seven games in Big 12 play.
Last time out, Monday night, the 'Horns lost at Iowa State 89-86. Texas trailed the Cyclones by 21 points with 12 minutes to go, but rallied late to make things interesting. Also, much to our delight, Texas came up with a cover as a five-point underdog.
The Longhorns shot 47 percent from the floor Monday night, but allowed ISU to shoot 55 percent.
On the homey side of this match-up Baylor got to the Sweet 16 last season, then lost four starters. So we figured the Bears for a middle-of-the-pack finish in the Big 12 this season. Baylor then started 11-1 through non-conference play, the loss coming against Illinois.
But the Bears have also found the going a little tougher in Big 12 play, going 3-4 SU and 2-4-1 ATS so far. Last time out, Tuesday night, a cold Baylor lost at Oklahoma State 63-54. The Bears trailed that game by nine points at the half, and never got closer than seven the rest of the game.
Baylor shot just 35 percent from the floor Tuesday, made just six of 20 three-pointers and went 9-15 from the line.
Big-picture, the Bears and 'Horns are tied for seventh place in the Big 12, three games behind the first-place Jayhawks.
This is the first meeting between the teams this season; last season Texas swept two games from Baylor during the regular season, by scores of 74-60 and 74-69, but the Bears bounced the 'Horns in the semifinals of the Big 12 conference tournament 86-69.
'Horns-Bears Key Stats
Texas is shooting just under 44 percent from the floor this season, but 74 percent from the free-throw line, which is pretty good for a college team. Also, at the other end of the court the Longhorns are holding opponents to just 36 percent FG shooting, which ranks right near the top in all the nation.
Baylor is shooting just 42 percent from the floor, and 66 percent from the line, but holding foes to 39 percent shooting.
'Horns-Bears Betting Trends
Texas has leaned toward the UNDERS this season by an 8-5 margin, as Longhorns games have averaged 129 points.
Baylor has gone 8-6 toward the UNDERS, as Bears games have averaged 127 points.
Texas is 5-1 ATS in true road games this season.
'Horns-Bears Free Pick
We got a little lucky with Texas at Iowa State Monday night, but what the hell, we deserved it. We played the Longhorns mainly because we thought they could play some defense; apparently, they caught Iowa State on a hot night. We still have some faith that Texas could make a run this season. The Longhorns probably won't win the Big 12, but they could win a couple of games in the NCAA tournament. Baylor, on the other hand, has struggled ATS lately, which indicates to us the Bears might be playing a little more toward our preseason expectations. We like the 'Horns in this spot as our NCAA basketball pick, and we don't need the points.
Free College Basketball Pick: Texas +140 on the moneyline at Heritage