The Big 12 is usually the Kansas Jayhawks’ tournament to lose. However, this season presents a different scenario. The Jayhawks are the oddsmakers’ favorites to win the conference tournament, being held at the Sprint Center in Kansas City Missouri, but the league is much tighter than previous seasons and a KU tournament title is far from guaranteed.
That competitiveness in the Big 12 means great betting value for basketball fans looking to wager when the conference kicks off its postseason this week. Here’s a look at some sports betting picks on the favorites and live underdogs in the Big 12 tournament.
Kansas Jayhawks +180
Kansas won yet another Big 12 regular season title but was far from dominant during conference play. The Jayhawks looked wobbly in the middle of the conference calendar but appeared to be getting on track toward the end of the season, especially on offense. Then they went and laid an egg in Stillwater, losing their second straight meeting with Oklahoma State. So what does that mean for KU in the Big 12 tourney?
Well, bettors shouldn’t put too much weight into that loss in the season finale. The game meant nothing to the Jayhawks, who had already wrapped the top seed in the Big 12. In the five games before that loss, Kansas crushed the competition, winning five in a row by an average score of 83.6-72.4. The tightest game was a 2-point win at Texas Tech, which looks to be KU’s closest competition in the postseason.
Texas Tech Red Raiders +300
The Red Raiders were one of the biggest surprises in the entire country, outpacing the Jayhawks to take over the top spot in the Big 12 for most of conference play. However, things came crashing down pretty quickly in Lubbock, with TTU losing four straight games before snuffing out that skid with a close win over TCU in the season finale.
Texas Tech’s defense looked unbreakable for most of the season, but the Red Raiders allowed an average of 74 points against during that losing skid – a near 10-point increase from their season average. When the defense can’t slow down foes and generate turnovers, Texas Tech doesn’t have the offensive firepower to make up the difference. Leading scorer Keenan Evans was hindered by a foot injury during that skid and his health will be focus during the frantic pace of the conference tournament.
West Virginia Mountaineers +350
When the Mountaineers are clicking, there’s not much opponents can do. West Virginia plays full-court pressure and forces foes into bad mistakes, averaging almost 17 turnovers a game. Those turnovers are especially costly for WVU’s competition because more often than not, they translate those extra possessions into 3-point buckets. The Mountaineers average 25 3-point attempts per game, knocking down just under nine of those looks.
But therein lies WVU’s biggest weakness. If they can’t get turnovers, they struggle to generate offense in a half-court set. And when those shots from distance aren’t dropping, the Mountaineers struggle to replace those points via other offensive options. This is a team that could roll to the Big 12 tournament title – and even the NCAA – but there is no in between for Bob Huggins kids: they’re either on or off.
TCU Horned Frogs
Texas Christian is firming on the NCAA bubble heading into the Big 12 tournament and will likely need some notable wins to crack the Selection Committee. The Horned Frogs didn’t beat KU or TTU and split the season series with WVU, leaving their resume a bit light. Texas Christian is fueled by a high-octane offense that pours in 83.6 points per night but they also give up plenty of points and haven’t been able to get over the hump against elite teams because of it. They do, however, have six players scoring in double figures, so their depth is a big plus during the Big 12 tournament.