Free College Basketball Picks: Kentucky vs. Baylor Odds
by George Monroy - 12/5/2013
The Kentucky Wildcats and their talented freshmen recruits slipped to the No. 3 spot in the nation after losing to the then-No. 2 Michigan State Spartans. Since that time the team has rattled off five straight victories—two of which were much closer than they should have been—but it was still leapfrogged by the Arizona Wildcats in the AP Top 25 rankings. Kentucky will get a chance to prove that it is one of the nation’s best teams when it faces the No. 20 Baylor Bears on Friday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Baylor has been a Top 45 team in rebounds, assists and field goal percentage through the first month of the season. The team’s only slip up came in a seven-point loss to the No. 4 Syracuse Orange at the end of November. The Bears will have a chance to move up in the rankings when they face Kentucky and try to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the year so far. Let’s take a look at the matchup and figure out which side of the spread has the most value to wager on.
Kentucky vs. Baylor Betting Story Lines
Kentucky is coming off a 14-point victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles that was much closer than coach John Calipari expected. The No. 3 team in the nation led by only three points heading into halftime against the Eagles and did not build a double-digit lead until the 13-minute mark of the second half. A 14-point point win may be nothing to scoff at for most people, but for bettors who gave up 19 points on the Wildcats, the team was never really in a position to cover the spread.
Kentucky is a very good squad, but it is still working out the kinks to its freshmen-run system. The team has covered three of its six posted lines so far this season and has looked dominant outside of its loss to Michigan State. The trouble for Kentucky is the large double-digit spreads it faces on a regular basis. Overall, the team scores and rebounds extremely well, but those 18- to 19-point lines can be difficult to overcome.
Baylor is also struggling to cover spreads early in the season and so far has only covered two of its six posted lines. The team has played three close games this season, and the one blowout it had was off the board. The Bears are coming off a 45-point win over Hardin-Simmons where they made 63 percent of their shots.
Overall, the team grabs an impressive 41 rebounds per game and shoots 50 percent from the field. Baylor struggles a bit at the free throw line, shooting only 67 percent as a team, but it does score 78 points per game, which is ranked 98th in the nation. The Bears are being led by forward Cory Jefferson, who is averaging 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season.
Kentucky vs. Baylor NCAA Betting Odds and Key Trends
Kentucky opened as a 4.5-point road favorite heading into its matchup against Baylor, with the total unavailable, according to BetOnline. Kentucky is 4-1 ATS over its last five against the Big 12 and 8-3-1 ATS in nonconference games. The team is also 2-7 ATS following an ATS win. Baylor has struggled ATS-wise recently and is only 1-4 ATS over its last five overall games and 1-4 ATS following a SU win. Baylor has also gone “over” the posted total 11 times during its last 14 Friday games.
Free College Basketball Picks: Kentucky vs. Baylor Predictions
The jury is still out on just how good Kentucky really is. The team has talent, but it is filled with inexperience at nearly every position, and a matchup against a very good Baylor squad should go along way in answering that very question. Friday’s matchup will be Kentucky’s third neutral-site game of the year, so playing away from home will probably not be an issue for the Wildcats. Kentucky is the more talented squad and should be able to win this game. I don’t expect a blowout, but the Wildcats should control the pace of the game and come away with a big win. Take Kentucky minus the points.
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