Baylor vs. Texas prediction: Back the underdog Bears in key Big 12 battle

Baylor vs. Texas prediction: Back the underdog Bears in key Big 12 battle

Updated: 2 months, 17 hours, 9 minutes, 19 seconds ago

Baylor point guard Keyonte George, who averages a team-high 17.2 points per game, leads the 11th-ranked Bears into Austin for Monday's Big 12 clash with No. 10 Texas. Baylor, which has won six in a row, will take the court as an underdog. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) Read more

Saturday’s SEC/Big 12 challenge was a lopsided affair in favor of the Big 12, which won seven of 10 matchups.

No surprise there, since the Big 12 has proven to be college basketball’s top conference all season.

However, Texas was saddled with one of the Big 12′s three losses, an 82-71 drubbing at the hands of No. 4 Tennessee as a 5-point underdog.

And while Baylor held serve at home against Arkansas, its 67-64 victory was a dogfight the entire way, with the Bears never threatening to cover as a 6.5-point favorite.

Which brings us to Monday night’s marquee matchup on the college hardwood, as No. 11 Baylor travels 100 miles south from Waco to Austin for a rumble with the 10th-ranked Longhorns.

If you believe in history, the Bears are destined to hand Texas its second home loss of the season. But if you believe the oddsmakers, the Longhorns should prevail comfortably.

Our Baylor vs. Texas prediction? It leans on the side of history.

Odds updated as of 2:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 30.

Baylor vs. Texas Prediction

Baylor +4.5, -115 (at BetMGM)

Baylor vs. Texas Prediction: Analysis

Before diving into that aforementioned history, let’s examine these instate rivals in their current form.

While Baylor wasn’t exactly dominant Saturday, it still found a way to get past a tough, physical Arkansas squad for its sixth consecutive victory.

The Bears’ winning streak, which followed an 0-3 SU/ATS start to the conference season, includes three straight road wins at West Virginia (83-78), Texas Tech (81-74) and Oklahoma (62-60).

The victories at West Virginia and Oklahoma are particularly impressive, given what those teams did Saturday in their SEC/Big 12 Challenge games: The Mountaineers held off then-No. 15 Auburn 80-77 at home, while the Sooners annihilated second-ranked Alabama 93-69 at home.

Despite the recent run, Baylor (16-5, 10-10-1 ATS) remains stuck in a three-way tie for second place in the Big 12 standings at 5-3. The Bears are one game behind a trio of 6-2 squads, including the Longhorns.

As for Texas (17-4, 8-13 ATS), it had won five of six prior to falling in Knoxville. However, only two of those games were against top-six Big 12 opponents.

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One was a 79-75 win over TCU as a 6.5-point home favorite on Jan. 11. The other: A 78-67 loss at Iowa State as a 2.5-point road underdog three days later.

The Longhorns’ only other game against an upper-echelon league opponent this season was at home against Kansas State. The Wildcats rolled to a 116-103 victory as a 9-point pup.

To be fair, Baylor’s three conference-opening losses came against K-State (97-95 in overtime at home), TCU (88-87 at home) and Iowa State (77-62 road). But the Bears have since shaken off that rocky start, and one of their six straight wins was last Monday against Kansas.

When looking at the raw stats, both Baylor and Texas are among the nation’s most prolific offensive teams. And if there is one concern in backing the Bears, it’s the that their field-goal defense is poor on the road (48.6%) while the Longhorns shoot lights out at home (50.7%).

That said, this is a tricky spot for Texas, which is playing its fourth game in the last nine days, all in a different city. The Longhorns have gone from West Virginia to Austin (vs. Oklahoma State) to Knoxville and back to Austin.

On the other hand, Baylor is coming off two straight home games and has a short 90-minute drive from Waco.

Another reason to like the Bears: They’re 3-0 SU and ATS as an underdog this season, with a 64-63 neutral-court win against Gonzaga as a 3-point pup preceding small upsets at Texas Tech and West Virginia.

Meanwhile, Texas is 2-7 ATS when laying between 3 and 12 points. That includes a 1-3 ATS mark in four Big 12 home games.

Now about that history: Baylor has won the last six meetings in a row and 12 of the last 13 overall since 2015-16 (10-3 ATS). The Bears are 6-1 in Austin during this stretch, and they’ve covered the last five in a row regardless of venue (all as a favorite).

Not that you can put a lot of stock in past history in college basketball (especially with the constant roster turnover these days). Still, that’s some serious dominance.

Do we see another outright Baylor win over Texas on Monday? Frankly, we do. But the good news is, we don’t need it. As long as the Bears keep this thing within one possession, we’ll cash.

Baylor vs. Texas Odds: (via BetMGM)

Point spread: Baylor (+4.5, -115) @ Texas (-4.5, -105)

Moneyline: Baylor (+155) @ Texas (-190)

Total: 146.5 points

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