Baylor and Virginia square off in the Sin City tonight as a part of the Continental Tire Main Event. Find out why the Bears hold the betting edge in our Virginia vs. Baylor picks.
One of the highlights of the college basketball weekend gets going when Baylor and Virginia meet tonight in Las Vegas.
After a rare down season last year, Virginia is back in its usual spot of being highly ranked and an expected contender to win the ACC. The Cavaliers have opened the season with two wins against lackluster opponents. They’ve been their customary stingy self on the defensive side of the ball and find themselves with a Top 10 KenPom defensive rating.
Meanwhile, Baylor is once again a national title contender. Like its opponent, the Bears have yet to play anyone of note. They arrive at this game with a 3-0 record, fresh off a 95-62 win against Northern Colorado.
What’s the best bet in this matchup? Find out in our college basketball picks and predictions for Baylor vs. Virginia on November 18.
Virginia vs. Baylor best odds
Virginia vs Baylor picks and predictions
Both of these teams play a unique style of defense. Since head coach Tony Bennett has been calling the shots, Virginia and pack-line defense has become as synonymous as Maryland and crabcakes. The same goes for Scott Drew and Baylor’s no-middle defense.
The key to this game is which team can adjust and score consistently. Baylor is far more equipped to do that than Virginia. One of the most obvious ways to beat a pack-line defense is from beyond the arc. You play off your man in the pack line by design, giving him space beyond the 3-point line.
Baylor has been one of the best spot-up shooting teams this short season. Keeping the opponent in mind, they’ve scored an average of 1.05 points per possession on spot-up sets, which puts them in the Top 20% of college basketball.
A player like Adam Flager has demonstrated throughout his college career that he can be a dependable shooter from long-range. Five-star recruit Keynote George can score from deep too. He arrived at Baylor this season after shooting 41% in high school and has started the season looking like that stroke should continue.
Of course, in general, 3-point shooting can be difficult to always rely on. It’s high variance, and because of that, I like to find other angles if I’m going to back a team. Another way I expect Baylor to have some success against the pack line is through his big man, Jalen Bridges.
Bridges has only averaged two assists per game this season, but the eye test confirms he has pretty good vision. In addition, Baylor has shown briefly that it’ll use Bridges as the roll man in pick-and-roll positions. That’s another place I believe this Virginia defense is vulnerable.
Virginia is not equipped to score with the consistency that it’ll need in this game. It would help if you had big, athletic guards to attack the no-middle defense. It’s essential because of the small gaps that are there. It’s an eye test, but as someone who has watched Kihei Clark a lot throughout his career, I think he’s a great player, but he won’t fill the necessary void tonight.
To add a more number perspective to this belief, the weakness of the Baylor defense is in transition and defending the rolling man in pick-and-roll situations. Virginia is highly unlikely to push this game into a transition because it will allow Baylor’s more athletic players to take over.
The Cavaliers have effective big men who can roll and score, especially Kadin Shedrick. However, I’m not sure they can do it enough. At the end of the day, Baylor has a massive edge in guarding quality in this game. I admire Kihei Clark’s game, but his lack of athleticism will hurt him tonight.
Expect the Bears’ guards to be different throughout, especially in critical situations in the second half.
My best bet: Baylor -4.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
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Virginia vs. Baylor spread analysis
This spread opened at Baylor -4.5 and has already moved to -5 at plenty of books. As a result, we’ve seen both sharp money and public money come in on Baylor.
According to our Covers Consensus page, Baylor is attracting 65% of the bets and 63% of the money. Virginia can be an extremely frustrating team to play. The Cavaliers don’t beat themselves, they don’t unnecessarily speed the game up, and they play great physical defense.
Virginia rarely meets a team who can provide a similar annoyance, but Baylor can do that. Scott Drew, like Tony Bennett, has already won a national championship with this style of defense.
However, one of these teams has more talent, and I expect it to be the difference tonight.
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Virginia vs. Baylor Over/Under analysis
My personal handicap in this game was a total of about 129.5, and we got a total of 130. I don’t want to touch the total here as it’s spot on. Whichever team can impose its will on the other will likely determine this total.
I’m expecting that to be Baylor, and stylistically that would give a slight lean to the Over. However, there will be a natural feeling-out process with both teams, which should provide us with ample opportunity to get a much better in-game number than the current one.
The recent trends for these two teams suggest the Under from Virginia’s perspective. The Cavaliers’ last five neutral site games have all gone in that direction.
However, it’s the complete reverse when you analyze Baylor, as it’s had four straight games that have gone Over. Seeing which team is controlling this game early on will go a long way in deciding how much scoring there ultimately is.
Virginia vs Baylor betting trend to know
Virginia is 1-10 ATS in its last 11 games following a straight-up win of more than 20 points. Find more College basketball betting trends for Virginia vs. Baylor.
Virginia vs Baylor game info
|Lease:||T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV|
|Date:||Friday, November 18, 2022|
|Tip off:||7:00 p.m. ET|