With two weeks left in college basketball’s regular season, time is short for schools to add quality, picking up wins to improve their seed lines come Selection Sunday. Tuesday’s roster is one of those times, however, as the roster is loaded with four Top 25 matchups leading Kansas State-Baylor, Texas A&M-Tennessee, Creighton-Marquette and Texas-Iowa State.
Will Kansas State and Baylor play in another high-possession matchup? How will Texas A&M’s offense fare fair against Tennessee’s elite defense? Is Creighton back yet? Are the Longhorns too heavy with favourites? We’ll answer these questions and more by analyzing all four Top 25 matchups with our best bets.
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
#14 Kansas State vs. No. 9 Baylor odds, the best bet
- Spread: Kansas State +1.5 (-110); Baylor -1.5 (-110)
- Above under: OVER 145.5 (-115); UNDER 145.5 (-105)
- Money line: Kansas State +104; Baylor-125
Kansas State looks for a regular season victory over Baylor after posting a 97-95 win over the Bears in Waco on Jan. 7. -possession, coin-operated type of game in Tuesday’s rematch.
Both teams enter Tuesday night with polar opposite performances on Saturday, as Kansas State erased an eight-point halftime deficit en route to a 66-51 home victory over Iowa State, while Baylor allowed Kansas to fight back by a 17-point hole in an 87-71 road loss.
With the current spread close to a pick ’em, we will refrain from betting one side and focus our attention on the total. Kansas State and Baylor combined to score 192 total points in their first meeting in a game that went to overtime and tallied 79 possessions. Both offenses were also super efficient, scoring over 1.2 points per possession while combining for 19 three-pointers made.
Even though Baylor sports the weakest defense in the conference according to KenPom’s modified defensive efficiency metric (109.9 points allowed per 100 possessions), we expect a lower-rated, less efficient rematch. Therefore, we would bet the UNDER 145.5 at its current price. There is a chance that some OVER money will come in, so you may want to wait until the tip runs out to get the best of the number.
Best Bet: UNDER 145.5 -110 (playable at that number)
Odds #22 Texas A&M vs. #11 Tennessee, best bet
- Spread: Texas A&M -1.5 (-110); Tennessee +1.5 (-110)
- Above under: OVER 129.5 (-106); UNDER 129.5 (-114)
- Money line: Texas A&M -125; Tennessee +104
#11 Tennessee hits the road for his second straight game, traveling to Reed Arena to face the second-ranked and newly ranked Texas A&M Aggies. These two schools met in last season’s SEC Tournament Championship Game, when Buzz Williams’ group was one win away from securing an automatic bid to the big ball, but was held to just 0.79 points per possession against the solid defense of the Volunteers in a 65-50 loss.
We could see a similar offensive outcome from the Aggies, as Tennessee’s defense enters Tuesday night still atop KenPom’s modified defensive efficiency metric, allowing just 86 points per 100 possessions. With the Tennessee offense having had its fair share of struggles over the past month, we think an Aggies defense that ranks third in the SEC in regulated defensive efficiency may limit the Vols’ effectiveness on offense.
The Aggies are going to have a tough time at the glass against a volunteer group that holds their opponents to only a 26.3% offensive rebounding rate (second in the SEC), so we’re not sure they’re capable of winning outright, but I think the offense will be hard to find on both ends of the pitch. Give us the UNDER 129.5 at -114.
Best bet: UNDER 129.5 -114 (playable up to 128 at odds of -120)
Odds number 19 Creighton versus number 10 Marquette, best bet
- Spread: Creighton -5.5 (-110); Marquis +5.5 (-110)
- Above under: OVER 147.5 (-110); UNDER 147.5 (-110)
- Money line: Creighton -230; Marchetta +188
He has since missed six straight games from Nov. 23 to Dec. 23. 16., Creighton was on a tear, winning 12 of his last 15 Big East games. The Blue Jays are hitting their stride at the right time and now face a top ten foe in Marquette at the CenturyLink Center as 5.5 point favorites.
Creighton’s final loss in their late November-early December losing streak came against the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee, losing 69-58. In the loss, All-Big East preseason center Ryan Kalkbrenner missed the game with illness and, without his best inside defender, allowed Marquette to connect on 54 percent of two-point shooting (21-for-39). .
In Big East conference play, the Bluejays boast the best home defense in the league, holding their opponents to 43.7 percent shooting from colon territory. Kalkbrenner’s return along with guards Ryan Nembhard, Trey Alexander and Baylor Scheierman playing clean basketball results in another Quadrant 1 win for Creighton. The spread has tightened with Creighton’s hot play and the return of Kalkbrenner, so we wouldn’t bet more than -5.5.
Best bet: Creighton -5.5 -110 (playable at that number)
No. 8 Texas vs. No. 23 Iowa State odds, best bet
- Spread: Texas -7.5 (-105); Iowa State +7.5 (-115)
- Above under: OVER 136.5 (-106); UNDER 135.5 (-114)
- Money line: Texas -315; Iowa State +250
Texas pulled off an 85-83 overtime home win over Oklahoma after dropping their early week game against Texas Tech, and is now rated as a 7.5-point home favorite out of a pack by Iowa State which they lost by 11 points earlier this season. Is the spread too high? It could be, but we’d rather side with the Longhorns than score points with the ‘Clones’.
For starters, Texas is a different beast inside freshman Moody Center, losing just one home game this season in 15 tries. On the other hand, Iowa State has suffered seven of its nine road losses, the latest falling to the aforementioned Wildcats on Saturday. Iowa State prides itself on the defensive end of the field, entering Saturday with a 22 percent turnover rate better than the Big 12. Turning defense into offense helps make life easier for an offense that ranks in the 88th No. 1 in adjusted offensive efficiency, but Texas sports the second-lowest offensive turnover rate among the Big 12 (17%).
If Texas plays clean basketball, it should tie the season series with Iowa State. We also think a Longhorns offense scoring 107.3 points per possession in the Big 12 (second in the Big 12) outpaces the Cyclones defense, resulting in a comfortable home win for the “Horns.”