Baylor vs Kansas Betting Prediction 2/5/22
February 5, 2022
This is the first of two highly-anticipated matchups between No. 10 Kansas and No. 8 Baylor, the reigning national champions. The Jayhawks hold a slight lead over the Bears in the Big 12 standings and are coming off an important road win over Iowa State during the week. The Bears have won four straight conference matchups since two surprising losses at home, but haven't beaten a ranked team since the first game of Big 12 play.
Baylor vs. Kansas Betting Pick
This game will be played at Allen Fieldhouse at 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, February 5, 2022.
Why bet on the Jayhawks:
✅ Before scoring 25 points against West Virginia, James Akinjo was having some major scoring issues. He had scored 13 points in his previous three games and made just six of his 27 shots, and two of those games were on the road. Akinjo has also struggled to get to the free throw line, failing to attempt a single foul shot in four of his last six games. In his last five games, Akinjo has made just 6 of 25 3-point attempts, bringing his season average down to 36 percent from behind the arc.
✅ Kansas will have a size advantage with David McCormack on the interior against a physical but undersized Baylor frontcourt. McCormack scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds earlier this week against Iowa State, and he played a large role in Kansas' win last year with 20 points. The senior has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in half of Kansas' Big 12 games this season and he's largely avoided foul trouble this year compared to last season.
✅ Big 12 teams are shooting better than 45 percent against Baylor this season despite averaging less than 65 points per game. Baylor has in particular been struggling to defend the rim as opponents are making nearly 55 percent of their two-point shots against the Bears. Baylor has been outscored in the paint in half of its last 10 games and the Bears are just 4-3 this season when being outscored on the interior.
✅ The Jayhawks have scored at least 30 points in the paint in its last six games and is averaging nearly seven more points in the paint than its opponents this season. A large chunk of those points come off offensive rebounds and Kansas averages more than 12 offensive rebounds per game in Big 12 play and more than 11 second-chance points per game. The Jayhawks have scored at least 10 second-chance points in six of its eight Big 12 games this season.
✅ No matter how good Baylor has been, Kansas has seemed to own the Bears at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks are 18-1 against Baylor in Lawrence, including last year's 13-point win that was the Bears' only regular-season loss. Overall Kansas is 26-6 against Baylor since Bill Self took over as the Jayhawks' coach with a 28-5 mark overall in Big 12 regular-season contests.
Baylor's national title defense was off to a strong start with 15 straight wins to open the season, which included victories over Michigan State and Villanova. It wasn't a disaster to lose to Texas Tech at home, but the loss to Oklahoma State a few days later was a bigger shock. Since that perfect start, the Bears are just 4-3 with two of those three losses coming to ranked foes, leaving them at 19-3 overall and 7-2 in the Big 12. This matchup with Kansas kicks off the back half of the Big 12 schedule with six games against ranked teams on the docket. Baylor's offense definitely had an off night against Oklahoma State, but it has shot at least 46 percent from the field in four of its last five games, including its last three. The Bears, though, are allowing 45.6 percent shooting against conference foes and their last two opponents both shot better than 54 percent from the floor.
LJ Cryer is the Bears' leading scorer for the season as a whole, but he ranks just third on the team in conference play. James Akinjo leads Baylor at 15.7 points per game in Big 12 games after dropping 25 earlier this week against West Virginia. Adam Flagler is averaging 15 points per game followed by Cryer at 14.3 points per game, which is actually more than his 13.9 points per game average this season. Akinjo and Flagler are also the top-two in assists with nearly 7.5 combined helpers per game. Where Cryer is excelling is perimeter shooting, making 48 percent of his team-high 50 3-point attempts, though Flagler is shooting just under 40 percent from behind the arc and Akinjo is at 38 percent. Four different Bears are averaging at least five rebounds per game in conference play, led by 6.2 from Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, ironically enough the only one of the four who hasn't started all nine games for the Bears.
Kansas responded to being shellacked by Kentucky at home with a standout performance at Iowa State. They are now 7-1 in the conference and 17-3 overall, trying to maintain their lead in the conference. Even without its best player against the Cyclones, Kansas offense proved just how dynamic it can be. The Jayhawks averaging nearly 75 points per game in conference play while shooting nearly 46.6 percent from the floor, including 36 percent from behind the arc. The defense has actually gotten better since Kansas began conference play, holding Big 12 teams to 41 percent shooting, including less than 28 percent from long range. The Jayhawks have also been dominating the glass by more than seven rebounds per game and are unbeaten this year when outrebounding their opponent.
The Jayhawks should benefit from the return of Ochai Agbaji to the lineup after he missed the Iowa State win with COVID-19 symptoms. He tested negative and is eligible to return against Baylor, and he is a large part of the Jayhawks offense when healthy. Agbaji is shooting better than 46 percent from long range this season, including 48.3 percent of his 3-pointers in conference play. He leads four Jayhawks averaging double figures in Big 12 play with more than 22 points per game, and he's also adding a vital 5.6 rebounds per game. Jalen Wilson is averaging nearly 13 points per game in league play and also adds tremendous effort on the glass with eight rebounds per game. Christian Braun has chipped in 12.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game against conference foes, but the key has been David McCormack in the middle with 10.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game after going for 14 points and 14 rebounds against Iowa State. Dajuan Harris is key in orchestrating the offense at four assists per game after dishing out a season-best eight against the Cyclones.