West Virginia vs. Baylor Betting Line

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
West Virginia vs. Baylor Betting Line

The West Virginia vs. Baylor betting line was available at Sportsbook.ag


Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament - Quarterfinals

Sportsbook.ag Line: Baylor -3

No. 16 Baylor looks for a three-game season sweep over No. 18 West Virginia as the Big 12’s number four and five seeds clash in Kansas City.

Baylor has dominated the series with the Mountaineers this season, winning in Morgantown (87-69) on Feb. 7 and defending their home floor in Waco (78-66) on Feb 28th. The Bears covered both contests as well. That said, all eyes will be on West Virginia star senior G Juwan Staten (14.5 PPG, 4.6 APG), who has missed the Mountaineers last three contests with a knee injury and is questionable for this contest. Updated status on Staten’s injury could have the initial Baylor (-3) line moving before tip-off.

Without Staten, West Virginia has gone 1-2 SU (2-1 ATS) losing at Kansas before getting their first non-Staten win at home against Oklahoma State on Saturday. Baylor has won five of its past six contests and the Bears’ only loss in that stretch came at Texas (61-59) in a fight-marred overtime game on March 2nd. The last four times Baylor has been favored, the team is 2-2 ATS.

Historically, Baylor is 6-1 SU (5-2 ATS) since West Virginia joined the Big 12 in 2011. These two squads have never met in the Big 12 Tournament and West Virginia’s only win in this series was on the road last January. The total has gone Over five of the past seven times Baylor and West Virginia have met, including the past three contests. In addition to Staten’s injury status, Mountaineer G Gary Browne (leg – 7.0 PPG) is also questionable for this contest.

The Oklahoma State win on Saturday should prove big for Coach Bob Huggins’ troops should Staten and Browne be declared out for this conference tournament contest. The Mountaineers are extremely young and inexperienced without those two seniors combining for major minutes (Huggins started two freshman and two sophomores versus the Cowboys). With Staten gone, the onus is on what the Mountaineers do best: Force steals (11.1 SPG, 1st in NCAA) and crash the offensive glass (17.0 ORPG, 1st in NCAA) in order to create easy baskets. Staten is their best player at bailing the Mountaineers out of a stalled half-court possession, hence the need for second shot opportunities and turning defense into offense.

G Daxter Miles Jr. (7.2 PPG) has been a bright spot filling in for Staten, as he’s averaging 16.3 points, on 50% from the field, 45% from 3PT in the three games Staten has missed. G Jevon Carter (8.5 PPG, 1.8 SPG) is also extremely capable of exploding and can do so at a moment’s notice: to wit, his 25-point performance on Feb. 28th in the Mountaineers’ last loss to Baylor.

F Devin Williams (11.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG) can be a monster when he wants to be or he can foul out in less than 20 minutes. Often the x-factor in Mountaineer wins, Williams collected a huge double-double in the win over Oklahoma State on Saturday (22 points and 13 rebounds) while dishing out the foul trouble instead of being knee-deep in it (14-for-15 FT). Williams had only four points and six rebounds while collecting four fouls in West Virginia’s most recent loss to Baylor. Baylor’s patient half-court offense and perimeter weapons are a bad matchup for West Virginia, who struggles to prevent great looks from long range when they can’t force turnovers (36.8% 3PT defense, 296th in NCAA).

The common theme in both of Baylor’s wins over the Mountaineers has been successfully navigating around West Virginia’s pressure defense. In the first meeting, they had a few hiccups, committing 19 turnovers, but they broke the press early and often to shoot just under 55% for the game in Morgantown. West Virginia fouls often, but is also equally as good at drawing fouls, so Baylor had to be pleased with the fact that the nation’s third leading rebounder, F Rico Gathers (11.6 PPG, 11.6 RPG) was able to stay on the floor for 29 minutes in the win and contribute 17 points and 16 rebounds. Baylor was able to get to the line 35 times, going +10 in free throw margin over West Virginia.

In Baylor’s most recent victory, the Bears protected the ball beautifully while handing out 18 assists to only eight turnovers. Gathers had another double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) while getting his bruising counterpart, West Virginia’s Williams, in foul trouble. Meanwhile, versatile F’s Taurean Prince (14.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 48% FG) and Royce O’Neale (10.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 3.5 APG) both enjoyed success against the Mountaineers, especially O’Neale who was a nightmare for West Virginia to contain.

Often being the focal point breaking the press, O’Neale’s averages (16.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.5 APG, 10-for-16 FG, 5-for-8 3PT) show just how much he influenced the game in Baylor’s two victories. Prince was no slouch, averaging 17.5 points over the two games on 13-for-27 from the field (6-for-11 from three).

G Kenny Chery (11.3 PPG, 4.0 APG, 1.8 3PT/game) is another weapon that Baylor can hopefully rely on, although his scoring has taken a dip lately (four single-digit scoring efforts in his past seven games).

In G Lester Medford (7.7 PPG, 1.5 3PT/game) the Bears boast a fourth rotation player that hits at least 1.5 threes a game, as the deep ball is a big part of Baylor’s arsenal (38.7% 3PT, 39th in NCAA) and playing against West Virginia’s league-worst three-point defense provides a great opportunity for Prince, O’Neale, Chery and Medford to get open looks and create space for Gathers on the interior.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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