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NCAA March Madness betting: Baylor is massive Big 12 tournament favorite, but there's plenty of value elsewhere

Sam Cooper
·4-min read

Conference tournament betting previews: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC

With just 10 teams and seven locks to make the NCAA tournament, the depth of the Big 12 tournament makes it one of the most fun events of championship week.

Everybody knows about the incredible season Baylor is having. The Bears enter the postseason with a sterling 21-1 record and are in contention with undefeated Gonzaga to be the NCAA tournament’s No. 1 overall seed. As such, Baylor is a pretty overwhelming betting favorite (-135 at BetMGM) to win the Big 12 tournament.

Behind Baylor, though, are a slew of evenly matched teams capable of stringing wins together and cutting down the nets in Kansas City. Which of those teams should you bet on?

Using the odds provided by BetMGM, here are the teams you should consider — and avoid — once the Big 12 tournament begins on Wednesday evening.

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Best bet: West Virginia +900

With Baylor such an obvious favorite, let’s look down the list a bit.

How about the team that gave Baylor fits earlier this month? That team was West Virginia. The Mountaineers took Baylor into overtime, but fell 94-89. Despite the loss, that game showcased the level of talent on the WVU roster.

The Mountaineers have stellar guard play from Sean McNeil, Miles McBride and Taz Sherman. When you have great guard play, you can go a long way, and any of those three can carry WVU on any given night. So can 6-foot-10 Derek Culver, a first-team all-Big 12 selection who averaged 14.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

And when you can get a team of this caliber at +900 odds, it’s worth a shot.

Team to avoid: Kansas +500

Kansas won 14 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles from 2005-18 and are again among the conference’s best teams. KU struggled early in conference play, opening with just a 4-4 record. Since then, though, the Jayhawks won nine of their next 12 games and finished in second place in the Big 12 standings.

The play of junior big man David McCormack played a big role in the Jayhawks’ rise late in the regular season. McCormack averages 13.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and emerged as one of the conference’s breakout players, performing at a higher and higher level as the season progressed.

Unfortunately, McCormack and reserve forward Tristan Enaruna will be unavailable in the conference tournament due to COVID-19 protocols. It’s a tough blow for the Jayhawks, and makes them an unwise bet at +500 odds. With fully healthy teams available at a better number, your money is best served elsewhere.

Sleeper: Oklahoma State +1000

To bet on Oklahoma State, it would be a bit of a bold swing.

The Cowboys have been one of the Big 12’s hottest teams over the last month, winning six of seven games. The one game Oklahoma State did lose during that stretch came on the road against Baylor. It was a 81-70 defeat In which star freshman Cade Cunningham went down with an ankle injury.

Cunningham, the Big 12 Player of the Year and the potential No. 1 NBA draft choice later this year, missed the regular season finale against West Virginia and the Cowboys did just fine. OSU pulled off an 85-80 upset behind a 31-point effort from Avery Anderson.

Anderson can carry OSU for a game or two, but OSU is going to need Cunningham back in the lineup to win the Big 12 tournament. The most recent reports on Cunningham’s status have been positive. If he’s healthy, he’s arguably the best player in the tournament and odds of +1000 is pretty good value.

Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham (2)points during an NCAA college basketball game Monday, March. 1, 2021, in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham is one of the best players in the country. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

Full Big 12 tournament odds via BetMGM

  • Baylor: -135

  • Kansas: +500

  • Texas +750

  • Texas Tech: +850

  • West Virginia: +900

  • Oklahoma State: +1000

  • Oklahoma: +1400

  • TCU: +15000

  • Kansas State: +30000

  • Iowa State: +50000

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