The West Virginia Mountaineers are set to face the Baylor Bears. Check out our college basketball odds series, which includes our West Virginia Baylor prediction, odds, and pick.
West Virginia badly needs a big win, or really any win at all. The Mountaineers started the season 11-1 but have lost their last five games. Do keep in mind, when you consider a West Virginia Baylor prediction, that WVU is not a bad team. All of the five losses suffered by the Mountaineers in the past three weeks have come against good teams. Every Big 12 team is a quality team. Nine Big 12 teams are in the NCAA Tournament hunt, and Oklahoma State is not in the mix only because the NCAA ruled the Cowboys ineligible. The Big 12 is going to rough up nearly every team. WVU is going through that cycle now, as college basketball odds experts will tell you. WVU also just lost to a solid Arkansas team on the road; that's not a bad loss, either … but at some point, a good team has to win games. West Virginia has not been able to close the deal in recent weeks.
If you have paid attention to West Virginia this season, you know why the West Virginia Baylor odds are at their current prices. West Virginia starts games very slowly. The Mountaineers consistently stumble out of the gate. If you were to break down a 40-minute college basketball game into four 10-minute segments, WVU's worst 10 minutes are the first 10 minutes. On the other hand, WVU's best 10 minutes are regularly the first 10 minutes of the second half. WVU gets into a hole and then fights back in the second half. The key for this team, as you think about a West Virginia Baylor pick, is to start better and then continue that momentum through the second half.
Baylor is fascinating right now. The Bears went through a lull but regrouped at West Virginia a few weeks ago. That win was followed by a beatdown of Kansas State. It seemed the Bears were fully back to their old, best selves. Then, however, they looked very sloppy and disjointed in a loss at Alabama on Saturday. That's the same Alabama team which had lost to Georgia, a horrible SEC team, earlier last week. Is Baylor really back, or is this team simply a lot more inconsistent than we initially thought? Ponder that question.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the West Virginia-Baylor odds:
College Basketball odds: West Virginia-Baylor Odds
West Virginia: +13 (-106)
Baylor: -13 (-114)
Over: 138.5 (-114)
Under: 138.5 (-106)
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Why West Virginia Could Cover the Spread
The Baylor revival which included a win at West Virginia two weeks ago might not be that much of a revival at all if the Alabama loss is any indication. West Virginia probably won't win this game outright, but with 13 whole points being the spread, there's a lot of room for WVU to be competitive in this game and cover. Baylor could play great, but the Bears have been so sloppy at times this season that WVU's defense can stay with them and keep this game relatively close, maybe eight points or so.
Why Baylor Could Cover the Spread
The Bears are going to be mad after their poor showing against Alabama. West Virginia just doesn't get consistent contributions throughout its roster. One or two guys show up most nights, but that's not enough against the Big 12, which is loaded with good teams. Baylor is going to snap back into focus at home, and that means a beatdown.
Final West Virginia-Baylor Prediction & Pick
It wouldn't be surprising at all to see West Virginia battle Baylor to the very end, but WVU is thoroughly undependable, and Baylor knows it has to correct its flaws following the loss to Alabama. That last point suggests that the Bears will be extremely focused in this game, rather than lackadaisical and sluggish. Take the Bears, who have earned the benefit of the doubt more than the Mountaineers.
Final West Virginia-Baylor Pick: Baylor -13