College Basketball Betting: Baylor at Iowa State

College Basketball Betting: Baylor at Iowa State

Navigating the Big 12 during the 2014-15 college hoops season has been akin to trading uppercuts in a 15-round heavyweight boxing fight. Seven teams have at least 17 wins and five are currently ranked in the Top 25. Two of those Top 25 teams will throw down Wednesday night when No. 19 Baylor visits Ames to face No. 12 Iowa State. It’s the Bears’ bruising defense-first style versus the Cyclones’ fast-paced perimeter heavy offensive attack. Baylor boasts the fifth best rebounding unit led by the nation’s leader Rico Gathers, while Iowa State counters with a lineup featuring six players who average double-digits in scoring. This is a rematch of the January 14th tussle won by the Bears 74-73 after Kenny Chery’s jumper with 4.7 seconds remaining. Here’s a preview and prediction of tonight’s action.

BAYLOR AT IOWA STATE -6

The Bears took the first meeting by using their superior size and strength inside to outrebound the Cyclones 44-32, and launching 16 more shots. They can run and gun when necessary as evidenced by their victories against Texas and West Virginia, but prefer to slow the tempo and gradually pound away in the post. Gathers is a veritable rebounding machine, averaging 12.1 per game to go along with 11.2 points; he went for 14 points and 15 boards in the first game, and at 280 lbs is nearly impossible to move off his spot once he establishes position. This roster can shoot the lights out from beyond the arc as well; four players have nailed at least 36 three-pointers, paced by forward Taurean Prince, who leads the team in scoring at 13.1 pr game. Baylor is 5-4 on the road and 4-4 versus ranked competition.

Iowa State is one of the more entertaining teams to watch this season. They’ve totaled 80 points 14 times and have been held to less than 70 on only three occasions. Junior Georges Niang receives most of the headlines, but it’s role players like Naz Long and Dustin Hogue who make the Cyclones so dangerous; give them a sliver of space and they will make defenses pay. The top seven in the rotation are all capable of hitting three-pointers. They lack the length and bulk to outmuscle Baylor, but speed in transition and quick-trigger shooters gives them an edge overall. Much like Duke, Kansas, and North Carolina, Iowa State isn’t particularly sound on defense, so if they fail to convert from long range and can’t secure second-chance opportunities on the glass, they are vulnerable.

Baylor is 5-4 ATS on the road and 1-3-1 ATS in its last five away trips. The Cyclones are 7-7 ATS at home and 6-2 ATS in their last eight versus Big 12 foes. The Bears have been sharp in their three-game win streak, but Iowa State is eager for vengeance, and to seize the conference title.

Bet Iowa State -6