2020 Baylor Bears NCAA Basketball National Championship Odds with Predictions
Kansas owned the Big 12 for so long that it surely got hard for any other team to believe that they had a chance. But the Jayhawks didn't win the conference last year, and now other squads know that it is possible. Kansas is very talented again, and is the deserving favorite to win it all , but Baylor is a squad that can really test the favorite and make them sweat. This squad won a tournament game last year, and they return the largest part of that squad for another year. Add in a coach entering his 17th year, and you have a very stable program. Stability can be a serious weapon in the ever-changing world of college basketball, and that makes the Bears a team to watch this year. They won only 20 games last year, but the game will slow down for a lot of the players this year, so there is definitely upside.
Baylor Bears Additions/Losses
There was only one departure that is significant, and another that is a little less so. Guard Makai Mason, who arrived as a grad transfer from Yale last year, led the team in scoring. He ran out of eligibility and is playing pro in Germany now. He was a valuable player, but there is real depth in the backcourt to make up for his departure. Also gone is another senior guard, King McClure, who was a nice piece of the rotation, averaging nine points and 5.3 boards per game. With them gone, the key to the backcourt this year is going to be Jared Butler. He had a strong freshman year last year and improved and gained trust from the coaching staff as the year went along. He's a big breakout candidate. And the guy most likely to pair with him is Davion Mitchell, a top 75 recruit two years ago who landed at Auburn, played 17 minutes off the bench for a team that won the SEC, and then transferred here. MaCio Teague is another transfer who will feature in the backcourt. He starred for two years at UNC Asheville and is a strong shooter with a freakish wingspan or his size. If he can lift his game from the Big South to the Big 12, he could have a big impact. Add in senior Devonte Bandoo, who has had some starting experience, and you have a very deep backcourt that could become really strong if the new guys fit in quickly. If the first game of the season is any indication, there is reason for optimism. They were playing a woefully outmatched Central Arkansas team, so there is an asterisk, but Butler had 30 points, Teague had 18, and Bandoo had 15, and now played as many as 30 minutes.
The frontcourt is much more stable. Division III transfer Freddie Gillespie is back for his senior year after a strong junior season. Tristan Clark missed more than half of last season with an injury, but he's healthy and ready to go. Mario Kegler, a junior who started 28 games last year, is frustratingly inconsistent, but when he is dialed in, he's very dangerous. If a year adds maturity, he could do some real damage. And wing Matthew Mayer didn't carry a huge load as a freshman last year, but he appeared in 33 games and has real offensive upside that he could tap into this year. The only high school recruit to join the team this year is small forward Jordan Turner, a three star recruit who could be a redshirt candidate.
Baylor Bears Schedule
Baylor's second game of the year is against a solid Washington team. Their early-season tournament assignment is the Myrtle Beach Invitational where they open with Ohio and could wind up running into a pretty solid Mississippi State squad or a very good Villanova team. They have back-to-back home games in early December against Arizona and Butler that will be good tests, but the rest of the slate heading into the Big 12 season won't mean much. And in January they have one last nonconference game when they travel to play a very talented Florida squad . The Big 12 schedule is fairly well balanced, but early on they play consecutive road games against Texas Tech and Kansas that will really test the squad.
Baylor Bears Futures Odds and Trends
The Bears are tied with Texas Tech as the second choice to win the Big 12 at +400, behind only Kansas at +200 . They are at +5000 to win the national title, which puts them behind 22 other teams. Oddsmakers clearly don't love this team - they are ranked 16th nationally entering the season, so the odds are well below the rankings.
Last year the team wasn't any more remarkable for bettors than they were on the scoreboard. They were just 17-15-2 ATS, so there weren't any significant long-term profits to be had. They went over the total 19 times and under 14, so the betting picture was slightly better there.
Baylor Bears Predictions
We have to rely on a lot of guys fitting in and taking steps forward. But I trust the coaching, and I like the pieces they have and the experience they can draw from. I don't think the team is getting quite enough respect in the odds, so there is at least some relative value here. This is definitely a team to watch.
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