The Big 12 Tournament odds are live at BetRivers.com, and while everyone is expecting Baylor to run roughshod over the entire tournament, it might be a good time to remember that the rest of the Big 12 is excellent.
While the Big Ten got all of the attention this season, an argument could be made that the Big 12, truly, was the best conference in college basketball this season.
For my money, seven of the top 20 teams in America reside in this league, and while the bottom of the conference falls off a cliff, the idea that No. 2-seed Kansas draws an Oklahoma team that owns wins over West Virginia (2x), Texas, Alabama and the Jayhawks themselves is … well, it’s something, that’s for sure.
I actually think that we are going to see some fireworks in this tournament. The top of the league is just so talented, and there really is not all that much difference between the best team in the league right now and the rest of the teams in the conference.
The Big 12 Tournament takes place from Wednesday, March 10 until Saturday, March 13. The first round tips off at 6:30 pm ET on Wednesday night. The first round will be broadcast on ESPNU. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2. The Big 12 Tournament championship takes place at 6 pm ET on Saturday night and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Click here for the full list of Big 12 Tournament odds.
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT ODDS
- #1 Baylor (-137)
- #2 Kansas (+475)
- #4 West Virginia (+700)
- #3 Texas (+800)
- #5 Oklahoma State (+800)
- #6 Texas Tech (+1000)
- #7 Oklahoma (+1500)
- #8 TCU (+30000)
- #9 Kansas State (+30000)
- #10 Iowa State (+50000)
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT ODDS: Betting Trends
As you might expect, the No. 1 seed Baylor Bears are heavy favorites and the overwhelming public pick to win the Big 12 Tournament. The Bears are backed by 63% of the Big 12 Tournament bets and 63% of the Big 12 Tournament handle. The second-most-backed team isn’t Kansas, which will be without David McCormack for the tournament due to a positive COVID test. The Jayhawks are backed the third-most Big 12 Tournament bets (8%) and third-most Big 12 Tournament handle (9%) Instead, it’s the No. 4 seed West Virginia Mountaineers who are thought to be the best bet to win if not Baylor, backed by 11.4% of the Big 12 Tournament bets and 16% of the Big 12 Tournament handle.
THE FAVORITE: Baylor
You have to slot Baylor in as the favorite to win the Big 12 tournament after what we saw from them last week. They played three games in six days, traveling to West Virginia before hosting Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, and won all three. We saw the best of Jared Butler, and Davion Mitchell, and MaCio Teague. We saw Matthew Mayer become a difference-maker late in the win at West Virginia. We saw what they can be on the offensive end of the floor. We saw them completely take games over when they needed to.
But what we also saw was that Baylor’s defense is not yet back to where it needed to be, back to where it was before they went on their pause. Their rotations are not as crisp as they have been, and that matters more for Baylor than anyone else given the way that they force baseline and pre-rotate in their no-middle defense. There are more driving lanes available, which is something that I am chalking up to rust and not fully having their legs back.
They’ll get three days to try and keep getting back into shape, so that’s a good thing for Baylor fans. And while I do think that they are correctly priced as the heavy favorite, it’s not where I am interested in investing in the Big 12, not at that price.
THE CASE FOR: Texas
I am just enamored with this Texas roster, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a fish or because I’m sharper than the market. Probably the former. Anyway, here’s the thing about Texas: How many teams in college basketball have more talent on their roster? Less than ten? Maybe less than five? Greg Brown is a lottery pick. Kai Jones is a first-round pick. Matt Coleman, Andrew Jones, and Courtney Ramey are as good of a veteran guard trio as you’ll find in the country. Jericho Sims is one of the best defensive fives in the country. They are just loaded, and outside of a three-week stretch where they dealt with a COVID pause, we’ve seen it throughout the season.
But I also think that the way the bracket shakes out is important. That matchup with Texas Tech is the first round is going to be tough — the Red Raiders swept Texas — but the home loss was a melt and the loss in Lubbock came in a must-win game that ended a three-game losing streak for Chris Beard’s boys. Texas will be favored, and if they win, they’ll draw either Kansas, who they swept, or Oklahoma, who they beat in Norman on Thursday. At 7:1 odds, Texas is tasty.
THE CASE AGAINST: Kansas
I think that this has actually been one of the best coaching jobs that Bill Self has done this season. He’s taken a team that doesn’t have a point guard and made them functional offensively. He’s taken David McCormack from being the most inefficient big man in the Big 12 and turned him into a guy who is putting up numbers that are not all that different from the likes of Hunter Dickinson and Kofi Cockburn. And he’s taken a team that likely doesn’t have an NBA player on the roster and led them to a 12-6 mark in the toughest league in the country, winning seven of their last eight games. The one loss? It came on the road in overtime.
So the Jayhawks are good.
But the truth is that I just cannot trust a team that does not have great guard play in March. I just can’t do it. So when the Jayhawks are in the same league as Baylor, and teams like Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Texas are all getting a significantly better price, I just cannot justify backing Kansas to win the Big 12.
THE SLEEPER: Oklahoma State
No team in college basketball is going to be more battle tested heading into March than Oklahoma State is.
Now, the analytically inclined will tell you that the close games make Oklahoma State risky, that their one and two possessions wins are somewhat lucky. And I get that. But I also think it’s less of a fluke when your star player, Cade Cunningham, has proven himself to be one of the best closers in the sports. And I think that the fact that they have proven they can take and make big shots when Cade is out of the lineup matters, too. Mike Boynton has this team confident, and he has Cade’s supporting cast believing that they are good enough to carry the team if they have to.
Because they’ve carried this team when they had to.
That’s worth taking a risk on.
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
First Round (Wed. 3/10)
6:30pm: #8 TCU vs. #9 Kansas State
9:30pm: #7 Oklahoma vs. #10 Iowa State
Quarterfinals (Thurs. 3/11)
11:30am: #4 West Virginia vs. #5 Oklahoma State
2:30pm: #1 Baylor vs. 8/9 Winner
6:30pm: #2 Kansas vs. 7/10 Winner
9:30pm: #3 Texas vs. #6 Texas Tech
Semifinals (Fri. 3/12)
6:30pm: QF1 Winner vs. QF2 Winner
9:30pm: QF3 Winner vs. WF4 Winner
Championship (Sat. 3/13)
6pm: SF1 Winner vs. SF2 Winner