Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #8 Texas vs. #9 Baylor (2/24/2023) - Taking Vegas

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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #8 Texas vs. #9 Baylor (2/24/2023)

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
February 24, 2023
Photo by: Raymond Carlin III - USA TODAY Sports

#8 Texas Longhorns vs #9 Baylor Bears (2/24 @ 2:00 PM EST)

Spread: Baylor -3
Money Line: Texas +127 / Baylor -137
Total: 155

Overview and Betting Info

The #8 Texas Longhorns (22-6) will be facing the #9 Baylor Bears (20-8) on Saturday in a battle for the Big 12 title. These teams met back in January with Texas winning at home 76-71. The Longhorns are tied with Kansas to lead the Big 12, with Baylor just two games back.

Texas is 12-16 against the spread this season and have covered two of their last five games. They have gone over the total 15 times, doing so in three of their last five games.

Baylor is 14-13-1 versus the spread and have covered four of their last six games. They’ve gone over the total 14 times but have been under in seven of their last ten games.

Texas Longhorns

Texas has established itself as one of the country’s top teams and proved it again on Tuesday with a 72-54 win against #23 Iowa State. They have won seven of their last ten, with two losses coming to top-ten teams (Tennessee & Baylor). While they had a massive win at Kansas State, they have lost four of their last six road games. The worst came last week against a Texas Tech team that is 5-10 in the Big 12. Their offense has been elite, ranking 1st in the Big 12 and 25th in the county in scoring (79.4 PPG). They lead the conference in field goal percentage (47.6%), 4th in assists, and have the least turnovers. Three-point shooting has been an issue, where they rank sixth in the conference by making 34.6% of their attempts. Their defense has been just as good, ranking 1st in opponent scoring (60.6 PPG) and 4th in steals (8.07 SPG) and blocks (3.68 BPG).

Texas has been led by the play of Marcus Carr (17.0 PPG, 4.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, 39.1% 3PT) and Timmy Allen (10.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG). Carr has been at his best of late, averaging 19.6 points and grabbing eight steals over his last five games. He’s also making 40% of his three-point attempts during that stretch. Carr is the third-highest scorer in the conference but was shut down by Baylor’s defense, making just two shots for five points. Allen is their top big man and rebounder, but his scoring has been inconsistent. This is highlighted by looking at his last five games, where he averaged 11 points despite scoring less than seven points twice. Allen was fantastic against Baylor last month, scoring 18 points by making 70% of his shots.

The Longhorns have one of the best sixth men in the country in Sir’Jabari Rice (12.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 37.1% 3PT). Despite averaging just 23.8 minutes, Rice is the team’s second-leading scorer and a dangerous three-point threat. He is averaging 16.6 points over his last five games and had 21 points  and made 80% of his threes against Baylor. Along with Rice, the Longhorns have two solid role players in Tyrese Hunter (9.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG) and Dylan Disu (6.9 PPG, 1.4 BPG). Hunter is a solid shooter but has struggled to score consistently. He did play well against Baylor last month, scoring 13 points and stealing the ball three times. Disu is third in the Big 12 in blocks and has had at least one in his last nine games. He struggles to score, but his role on defense more than makes up for it.

Baylor Bears

Baylor comes home after being swept by the Kansas schools, desperate to win to stay in the Big 12 race. The back-to-back losses shocked a Baylor team that had won ten of their previous eleven games. They have won their last six home games but lost to Kansas State and TCU. The Bears have been great on offense, ranking second in scoring (78.0 PPG) and first in three-point percentage (36.6%), despite being ninth in field goal percentage (44.9%). The Baylor defense has been solid, ranking fourth in opponent scoring (64.1 PPG) even though they have not forced turnovers (10th in blocks, 7th in steals).

The Bears are led by a trio of shooters in Keyonte George (16.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG), Adam Flagler (15.6 PPG, 4.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 40% 3PT), and LJ Cryer (14.9 PPG), 43.4% 3PT). George is a Freshman but has been fantastic this season and is fourth in the Big 12 in scoring. The guard has 43 points over his last two games. He scored 17 against Texas despite making just 27.8% of his shots. Flagler is fourth in the conference in assists and has scored over 20 points in three of their last five games. He is a great three-point shooter but was just 2-7 against Texas last month. Cryer may be the hottest shooter, averaging 20 points and making 61% of his threes over his last four games. Cryer was Baylor’s leading scorer against Texas with 19 points.

Baylors’ shooters are supported by a duo of Jalen Bridges (9.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.0 BPG) and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (6.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG). Bridges has been their best rebounder and a fantastic defender. He has six or fewer points in four of his last five games, making less than 35% in each. JTT was cleared to play on February 4th, but he’s already impacting this Bears team. He is coming off his best game against Kansas State, where he scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. He was unavailable against Texas last month, so his presence could give the Bears an edge.

Free Pick: Baylor -3

This one should be an exciting game, but we see Baylor being able to cover. The biggest reason is due to how both teams have fared on the road/at home recently. Baylor is coming off painful back-to-back losses but has won six straight home games. That includes impressive an impressive win against Kansas. Conversely, Texas has been bad over the last two months. Their previous road game may have been their worst, losing to an average Texas Tech team. Before that, they lost three straight road games, all against ranked teams. They lost each by seven or more points.

Baylor lives and dies by the three and has shot better at home, so we’re taking them to take down Texas.

We’re giving up the points to roll with Baylor.

TODAY’S FREE PICK