College Basketball Picks: Oklahoma State at Baylor Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 1/13/2012
OK, new rule: I am no longer picking Syracuse games. My only two free college basketball picks losses this season have come on Orange games – I expected SU to win last Saturday against Marquette but the Orange didn’t cover. They also burned me earlier against N.C. State. So I am hoping Syracuse loses soon to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten so I am not tempted to preview its games any longer.
Speaking of unbeatens, we are down to three (of 345 Division I teams) entering the weekend, and it’s now time to acknowledge No. 4 Baylor, one of the trio. Of course, the Bears football team had the Heisman winner in Robert Griffin III and ended the year on a six-game winning streak, climaxed by a record-setting 67-56 win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl. It’s been a good year so far for the Bears.
Basketball-wise, things couldn’t be any better. The women’s team, led by monstrous Brittney Griner, is No. 1 in the nation at 16-0. And the men aren’t so shabby, either, also 16-0 and No. 4 in the country entering Saturday’s home game against Oklahoma State (9-7) in Big 12 action. That's a 38-0 record since the start of November in the three major sports at the Big 12's smallest and only private university.
Oklahoma State at Baylor Betting Storylines
I will be honest in that I thought that Baylor would lose Tuesday night at ranked Kansas State, which had handed Missouri its first loss last Saturday. And K-State did lead 44-37 in the second half. But the Bears went on a 20-4 run, led by Perry Jones III (team-high 17 points) -- who could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft -- and held the Wildcats to one basket over the final five minutes for a 75-73 win. It’s the first 16-game winning streak in Baylor history. Tuesday’s win was the Bears’ second consecutive road win, which means they’ve already tied their conference road win total from last season. K-State had won 14 in a row at home.
Clearly this team is no fluke. In addition to that KSU win, Baylor has beaten West Virginia, Mississippi State, BYU, San Diego State and Saint Mary’s (which looked tremendous in spanking Gonzaga on Thursday night). All could be NCAA Tournament teams.
This will be only Oklahoma State’s second game against a ranked team this season and the Cowboys lost that first one, 74-68, at a neutral site to a Pitt club that isn’t ranked any longer. This is not a good offensive team, ranking near the bottom of Division I in assists and shooting percentage. The Pokes do enter off a 72-65 win over Oklahoma. Star Keiton Page had 18 points and OSU didn’t trail after the first four minutes. But Oklahoma State hasn’t won back-to-back games since the start of December. This is just the third true road game of the season (win at Missouri State, loss at Texas) for the Pokes.
Last year these teams split their two meetings (as they have the past four seasons overall), each winning at home and both by double digits. That March 1 71-60 loss in Stillwater played a huge role in Baylor missing the NCAA Tournament a season ago as it started a season-ending three-game skid. Oklahoma State leads the series, 50-17, but Baylor has won five straight on its home floor against the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State at Baylor Betting Odds and Trends
The Bears opened as 14.5-point favorites with the total at 124 on college basketball odds. OSU is 7-7 ATS overall and 2-1 ATS on road. Baylor is 5-4 ATS overall and 1-1 ATS at home. ‘Over/under’ records: OSU 5-8-1, BAY 5-4.
OSU is 2-9 in past 11 Saturday games. Baylor is 1-5 ATS in past six vs. Big 12 teams. The under is 7-1 in OSU’s past eight vs. Big 12. Cowboys haven’t covered in past five visits to Waco. The over is 4-1 in those five.
College Basketball Picks: Oklahoma State at Baylor Betting Predictions
The magic number clearly is 60 points here. Baylor has won 51 straight games when holding opponents to fewer than 60 points, including 10 this season. The Bears have yet to allow a team to shoot better than 47.8 percent this year.
And if it’s close you have to like Baylor. It is 4-0 in games decided by five points or fewer this season; the Bears have won three of their past five games by exactly two points each.
This looks very much like a trap game for the Bears. Why? On Monday night they travel to No. 10 Kansas, which has won or shared the past seven Big 12 titles. It would be a major statement for the Bears to go to Lawrence and win.
Just FYI, Baylor and KU would presumably meet as Top-10 foes for the first time. There have been 21 Top-10 matchups in Big 12 history, and KU has been involved in 15 of them. It would be Baylor’s first such contest.
Yeah, this is a trap. Baylor is better and will win but take OSU and the points. And the under.
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