Oklahoma vs. Baylor NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua #23 of the Baylor Bears dunks over Brandon Slater #3 of the Villanova Wildcats. Ron Jenkins/Getty Images/AFP

Tuesday’s sports betting card features the top-ranked Baylor Bears in action on their home floor as the Oklahoma Sooners travel to Waco for a Big 12 battle.

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Baylor Bears

Tuesday, January 04, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Ferrell Center

There were four different No. 1 teams in the first six weeks of the season, including Baylor, and the Bears have brought some stability to the top perch by holding it for four consecutive rankings. Yet, it doesn’t quite seem as if the Bears are getting the attention they deserve despite owning the title of defending champions and a 67-6 record since the start of the 2019-20 season.

Porter Moser is in his first season at Oklahoma, after building a mid-major juggernaut at Loyola Chicago, and has the Sooners off to a better than expected start. Oklahoma sits just outside the two conventional polls after being picked to finish in the second half of the Big 12 on preseason NCAA basketball futures boards where the Sooners were ranked sixth by most oddsmakers.

Tanner Groves a Gametime Decision for OU

On an evening with nine teams from the latest AP top 25 in action, Oklahoma and Baylor get the ESPN2 spotlight for their showdown. The top online betting sites are carrying the Bears as 12½-point favorites, and scoreboard bettors are faced with a decision on a total that is running 137½-138 points.

This is only the second time this season the Sooners have been pegged as the underdogs, and the other was when Florida came to Norman about a month ago as measly 1-point road chalk. Oklahoma took care of business in that matchup by holding off a late challenge by the Gators for a 74-67 victory, so we’ll have to see if the Sooners might feel a little disrespected with the double-digit spread on Tuesday evening.

Moser’s men opened the year and the Big 12 schedule with a 71-69 decision over Kansas State this past Saturday. Closing college basketball odds had the Sooners giving up eight points, and they needed a late jumper from Elijah Harkless to avoid being upset after building a 15-point lead in the first half.

Harkless was one of five Oklahoma players in double-figures with 21 points, and canned all four of his 3-point tries. The Sooners were without Tanner and Jacob Groves, along with Bijan Cortes, for the Kansas State game due to virus protocols. Jacob Groves has been cleared to play Tuesday, with his brother Tanner and Cortes still questionable.

Bears Riding 19-Game Win Streak

Drew’s dribblers weren’t able to cover the 7½-point spread at Caesars on New Year’s Day, but the Bears did leave Ames with a 77-72 win over Iowa State to begin their conference slate. Baylor took the lead for good about six minutes into the contest, but never could shake the Cyclones for much breathing room to make it a comfortable win.

Part of the trouble at Hilton Coliseum was sloppy play as the Bears turned it over 19 times. Iowa State could only convert one of its 14 attempts from beyond the arc, but managed to hang close thanks to a 21-10 scoring advantage at the charity stripe.

The 72 points scored by the Cyclones are the most Baylor has given up this season, a bucket more than the 70 Oregon scored a couple of weeks ago in the Bears’ only other true road game. Baylor is tied for 10th in the country allowing 58 PPG, and the win at Iowa State marked the Bears’ ninth in a row against a top 10 team.

‘Under’ Cashes Last 6 Meetings

Oklahoma has a very strong 45-20 lead in the rivalry, but Baylor has won six in a row and eight of the last nine. The Bears have won the last five games played in Waco, and this will be the fourth consecutive meeting for Baylor to be ranked No. 1 or No. 2. Baylor has covered five of the last seven, and the last six have come up short on the totals board.

The two sides only met once a season ago, with a second matchup waved off for virus reasons. That lone clash took place in Waco where the Bears led wire-to-wire in a 76-61 final that was more than enough to cover an 11-point spread, Baylor outscoring Oklahoma 30-12 from 3-point range.

Whether or not Tanner Groves plays is the key here for Oklahoma. My college basketball pick is based on the assumption the 6-10 senior misses the contest, along with the scoreboard trend in the rivalry the last few years.

NCAAB Pick: Under 138 (-110) DraftKings