Despite two dominant wins through the opening rounds, the Baylor Bears are Sweet Sixteen betting odds underdogs as they prepare for the wily Wisconsin Badgers. You’d think that pummelling Creighton 85-55 would earn the oddsmakers’ respect to a certain degree, but the line on this particular matchup is reflective of both teams. It says as much about Baylor as it does about Wisconsin.
Either way, I wouldn’t take the Bears lightly. At the beginning of the year, Baylor was ranked 25th in the preseason rankings. By midseason they had clawed their way up to seventh before a rough end dropped them back to 23rd overall in the final standings. Consistency has not been their strong suit but the potential has always been there, and when Baylor plays at their ceiling, they’re capable of beating anyone.
Starts: 03/27/2014 7:47PM
Baylor used a barrage of threes in the opening half to bury Creighton, and that shot is a very real element of their game plan. They shot 39.2 percent from range this season, which was one of the best averages of any team in the country in that category. The combination of Baylor’s shooting, along with an impressive post presence and strong rebounding, makes them a complete team which is why I find it shocking that the Sweet Sixteen betting odds aren’t leaning towards them a little more.
As I said, however, Wisconsin isn’t to be taken lightly. They ranked as high as third in the country and ended the year as the 12th best team per the rankings. And while Wisconsin is known as a scrappy defensive team that locks down the perimeter, they’re also built around a legitimate seven-footer in Frank Kaminsky who dominated against an undersized Oregon team.
Bonus Sweet Sixteen Betting Odds
- Stanford -3.0 vs. Dayton (STAN -3.0)
- Florida -4.5 vs. UCLA (FLA -4.5)
- Arizona -6.5 vs. San Diego State (ARI -6.5)
- Michigan -1.5 vs. Tennessee (TEN +1.5)
- Iowa State -1.5 vs. UConn (ISU -1.5)
- Louisville -5.0 vs. Kentucky (UK +5.0)
- Michigan State -1.5 vs. Virginia (MSU -1.5)
Fortunately for you Baylor fans, the Bears have their own towering titan in Isaiah Austin who stands at 7-foot-1 and chipped in 17 points along with 4 boards in the win over Creighton. The Badgers won’t have any type of advantage on the floor, and the fear for them here is that Baylor is much more athletic than them. That pays out in college basketball especially when your team’s shot isn’t falling.
Wisconsin is a great shooting team, but I’m not sure they have a back-up weapon in their arsenal. Austin and Kaminsky will be at war the entire game in a matchup I’m dying to see. Ultimately, Baylor can use their length beyond Austin to give Wisconsin fits on both ends of the floor. The lack of a marquee, go-to scorer like Corey Jefferson will give Wisconsin some big problems in these latter rounds of the tournament. Both teams can totally shoot the lights out, but Baylor has a more diverse scoring portfolio, which is why I’m taking the Sweet Sixteen betting odds of the underdog Baylor Bears in this one.