When a team is 25-2, it’s not surprising that fans expect the next game to be a win. Baylor neatly fits that category and its fans couldn’t be happier, but bettors might have an opportunity to wager against the Bears and come out happy when the final buzzer sounds.
That next opportunity is Monday in the NCAA Tournament when the Elite Eight tips off for Baylor (-7) and Arkansas. The sportsbooks are all over it.
Now, before we get into the details of how Baylor hasn’t exactly dominated the spread in the past month or so, let’s give credit where it’s due -- the Bears had an impressive 62-51 win over Villanova in the Sweet 16 on Saturday. Baylor was favored by 7.5 and covered.
The same can be said for the second round last weekend when the Bears were favored by six and beat Wisconsin by 13. The thing is, since February those two results have been more of the exception than the norm.
Now, when a dominant team like Baylor is favored by, say, 24 points and wins by 22 -- it's still a massive win. Sure, the bettors who took the Bears won't be happy, but it's still a blowout victory.
The Bears have been more sporadic than that, though. Obviously in its two losses this year -- Kansas (Feb. 27) and Oklahoma State (March 12) -- Baylor didn’t cover in online betting as they were favored in both. But when a team is favored by 20 points or more and wins by just a few, that’s when you wonder if even a powerhouse program like Baylor might be ripe to not only not cover the spread, but also get upset.
The Bears have only covered the spread four times since February and were very close to not covering in the March 2 game against West Virginia (see below).
Take a look at the numbers and make your own determination of whether you may wager against Baylor in Monday’s Elite Eight matchup with Arkansas. Trends don’t lie, and the NCAA Tournament competition doesn’t get any easier.
NOTE: Baylor didn’t cover in bold/italics
Feb. 23 - Iowa State (+23.5) - Won by five
Feb. 27 - Kansas (+4.5) - LOST by 13
March 2 - West Virginia (+4.5) - Won by five
March 4 - Oklahoma St. (+11.5) - Won by 11
March 7 - Texas Tech (+8.5) - Won by 15
March 11 - Kansas St. (+19.5) - Won by six
March 12 - Oklahoma St. (+9) - LOST by nine
March 19 - Hartford (+25.5) - Won by 24
March 21 - Wisconsin (+6) - Won by 13
March 27 - Villanova (+7.5) - Won by 11
March 29 - vs. Arkansas (+7) - to be determined …
SOURCE: BetMGM odds
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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has covered the national recruiting scene in football and basketball for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All-America Basketball Team selections, handled FCS college football for HERO Sports, and has covered two NCAA men’s basketball tournaments (2009 and 2010). Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.