BYU vs. Baylor odds, props, predictions: Cougars make first Big 12 road trip for top 20 matchup

We’re going to have some great debates over which conference is truly best over the next few months, but the Big 12 has the inside track. The opening day of conference play featured multiple close games and a couple upsets, including previously unbeaten BYU getting upset at home by Cincinnati in a battle of teams making their league debuts. 

Despite dominating opponents and winning 12 of 13 games, the term fraud was being thrown around after the Cougars were handled 71-60 by the Bearcats as nearly a double-digit favorite. That makes their first trip into enemy territory as a new member of the conference all the more intriguing to their season’s journey, as they come off their lowest-scoring game of the season. 

Baylor (12-2 SU, 9-4 ATS) narrowly survived its first league test, struggling with its shooting in a 75-70 OT win at Oklahoma State. It welcomes in BYU (12-2, 11-3) hoping for an easier time than it had in Stillwater, but the books are expecting a one-or-two possession game in this matchup between ranked teams.

Handicapping BYU vs. Baylor betting odds and props requires anticipating which of these teams will bounce back best. The Cougars are at a disadvantage in that they’re playing their second true road game, losing their first one at Utah. The Bears won 60 of their last 66 games at Ferrell Center and are 1-0 inside the brand new Foster Pavilion, christening the new digs with a 98-79 win over Cornell on Jan. 2.

This is a matchup between the two highest-scoring teams in the Big 12. Both teams are scoring over 88 points per game but coming off dreadful offensive efforts, which will also be crucial to picking up a victory.

BYU vs. Baylor odds: Point spread, moneyline, total

Here are the latest college basketball betting odds for the Cougars vs. Bears:

BYU betting news: Cougars hope offensive drought isn’t packed in their luggage to Waco

Things looked promising for BYU at halftime against Cincinnati on Saturday night. It led 31-24 after holding a double-digit edge late in the first, but managed just one field goal over a nine-minute second-half stretch, closing 3-for-17 from the field. 

Although Trevin Knell hit nine 3-pointers, the Cougars struggled to get much of anything inside and got pushed around. They shot 32.8 percent from the field, but outside of Knell’s 9-for-14 night, the rest of the team finished 4-for-32 from beyond the arc. 

Sixth man Jaxon Robinson, BYU’s leading scorer, was held to just five points and could never get anything going, while wing Dallin Hall and forward Noah Waterman combined to shoot 6-for-25. What that all means is a lot of guys will be looking to get going after going cold at home when it mattered most in a historic game given the circumstances.

Standout forward Fousseyni Traore, last season’s top scorer and rebounder, returned for the first time in over a month. The 6-6, 255-pounder came off the bench, but played just eight minutes and scored one point. It remains to be seen if he can get back to being a difference maker in the paint, but he clearly has some strides to make before he can be counted upon the way the Cougs will need. 

Despite how high-scoring BYU’s attack has been, the UNDER has cashed in nine of its last 13 contests.

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Baylor betting news: Star freshman Walter looks to get back on track after dud

Baylor entered Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State as the best 3-point shooting team in the nation. Despite one open look after another, the Bears finished 2-for-15 from beyond the arc and were on the ropes for much of the second half, trailing by four with 1:56 to go. They won in OT, even earning the cover on a 4.5-point spread through a dunk just before the clock expired.

It was a good lesson for a new-look Bears team relying heavily on a pair of freshmen, future lottery pick wing Ja’Kobe Walter, and athletic center Yves Missi, both of whom performed below their abilities in their first true road game.

They’ll likely be much better back home in Waco. Walter finished with just seven points on 2-for-11 shooting against OK State and looks for a bounce-back game.

Although Walter is by far Baylor’s top NBA prospect, transfer guard RayJ Dennis has been the straw that stirs the drink for the Bears, leading the team with 6.2 assists and ranking in scoring (14.2 ppg). Baylor has covered seven of nine and has seen the over hit in six of its last nine.

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BYU vs. Baylor player prop picks

  • Ja’Kobe Walter OVER 21.5 Points+Reb+Assists (-115)
  • Trevin Knell UNDER 17.5 Points+Reb+Assists (-115)

Expect Walter to bounce back with a strong performance, topping his points + rebounds + assists total of 21.5. Look for Missi to use his athleticism around the rim to have a strong contest after finishing with a double-double but arguably being outplayed by fellow freshman Brandon Garrison on Saturday, topping 17.5 points, rebounds and assists here.

On the BYU side, ride the UNDER on Knell’s points + rebounds + assists (17.5), since Knell isn’t likely to be as flammable as he was in Provo against the Bearcats.

BYU vs. Baylor ATS pick

To be clear, I’m not of the belief that BYU is a fraud by any means, and respect that they were as dominant as they were with Traore on the shelf. But they’ve entered big boy country and look like they’re going to take some lumps before everyone is fully engaged effectively enough to notch these Big 12 wins, especially on the road.

Baylor dodged a bullet in Stillwater and should play much better in their new building, particularly with the student section sold out and a raucous crowd expected for their first conference game at Foster Pavilion.

Pick: Baylor

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