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No. 8 Texas Tech Favored to Win Big 12 Tournament

Big 12 tournament odds

As the regular season has come to a close, all focus now shifts to conference tournaments. The Big 12 Conference tournament takes place at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 18 Kansas State finished atop the regular-season standings with 14-4 records and it is the Red Raiders who have the best odds at +140 to win the tourney.

Red Raiders Hope their Offense can hold up

Texas Tech had a great tear through the latter stages of the season, picking up nine straight wins, including a home victory over then-No. 12 Kansas. The Red Raiders had an OK start to Big 12 Conference play, going 5-4, and had a three-game slide from mid- to late January.

The path to victory for Texas Tech has been its defense, which ranked second in the nation by allowing just 58.6 points per game and permitted only four teams to top 70 points against it, even restricting Duke to 69 points. The Red Raiders’ offense came alive during their season-ending nine-game winning streak, averaging 79.67 ppg, six points higher than their season average of 73.1. Assuming the offense can continue to roll, it’s no surprise to see Texas Tech the favorite at +140.

Wildcats’ Defense Stifling Opponents

Finishing in a tie with Texas Tech for the best record in Big 12 play was Kansas State at 14-4. The Wildcats had a similar approach to the game, ranking fourth in college hoops by allowing only 59.1 ppg, just a half-point more than Texas Tech.

Unlike the Red Raiders, though, the Wildcats’ offense is anything but a juggernaut. Kansas State averages the 45th-fewest ppg in the nation this season at just 65.9. Additionally, senior forward Dean Wade, the team’s second-leading scorer, is dealing with a foot injury, which worries me. Although KSU is really good defensively and had a great regular season, I’m just not sold on it winning the conference tournament at +350.

Jayhawks are Perennial Tournament contenders

Kansas has been in the final in four of the last six Big 12 Conference tournaments, winning the title three times. It has been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde season for the Jayhawks this year, going a perfect 16-0 at home at the Allen Fieldhouse, but just 3-8 in true road games. Kansas went 4-0 in its four neutral-site games, including wins over then-No. 10 Michigan State and then-No. 5 Tennessee.

The big question is which Kansas team will show up? The Sprint Center is just an hour’s drive down the I-70 from the Allen Fieldhouse so it may feel like home games as there should be a lot of supporters. At +400, Kansas could be providing great value or it will leave us shaking our heads in an “I knew it” fashion.

My Best Bet for the Big 12 Tournament

Kansas +400

I think there’s just too much value on the Jayhawks, who were the top-ranked team in the nation for three weeks this year. At home, Kansas was unstoppable, on the road it was a different story, but in neutral-site games, it went 4-0 with impressive wins over higher-ranked squads. I think the Jayhawks will have a great tournament and earn us some cash at +400.

2018-19 College basketball big 12 odds
TeamOdds
Texas Tech Red Raiders+140
Kansas State Wildcats+350
Kansas Jayhawks+400
Iowa State Cyclones+600
Texas Longhorns+900
Baylor Bears+1200
Oklahoma Sooners+2200
TCU Horned Frogs+2200
Oklahoma State Cowboys+10000
West Virginia Mountaineers+10000

Odds as of March 11 at BetOnline

As conference play is now underway, it’s time to look ahead at conference tournaments and where the value is just a month and a bit away from those championships. The Big 12 currently has three teams ranked in the AP Top 25, led by the No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks (+110), who would be vying for their third conference championship in the last four seasons.

Bovada has Kansas leading the way at +110, followed by Texas Tech at +450, Iowa State at +450, TCU at +750 and Oklahoma and West Virginia at +950 to round out the top contenders on the oddsboard for the Big 12 championship.

Jayhawks are the favorites, but should they be?

Kansas carried an 11-1 record into conference play, earning victories over three ranked squads, with its lone loss coming on the road against its fourth ranked opponent. The Jayhawks topped then-No. 10 Michigan State, then-No. 5 Tennessee and then-No. 17 Villanova by an average winning margin of 4.67, while the lone loss came at then-No. 18 Arizona State 80-76. Now that conference play is underway, Kansas has split its first two Big 12 games, topping then-No. 23 Oklahoma 70-63 and more recently falling at Iowa State 77-60.

However, the biggest loss the Jayhawks have endured is that of junior center Udoka Azubuike for the remainder of the season as he underwent surgery on his wrist due to a ligament issue. The native of Nigeria was third on the team in scoring with an average of 13.4 points per game and led the team with 1.6 blocks per game. The Jayhawks are 3-2 SU when Azubuike is out of the lineup and are averaging just 72.4 points per game compared to 83.11 ppg when he is in the lineup. I think the loss of Azubuike really hurts and Kansas at +110 is completely not worth it.

Can the Red Raiders’ Defense carry them to a championship?

Texas Tech is off to a terrific start on the season heading into the second week of conference play with a 13-1 record, its only defeat coming against then-No. 2 Duke 69-58. That loss was the Red Raiders’ lone match against a ranked opponent thus far and the 69 points that the Blue Devils scored were the fewest they have scored in a game this season. Limiting their opponents’ offense is the path to victory for the Raiders this year as their foes are scoring 53.1 points per game, which is the second-lowest average in college basketball, and that drops to a nation-low 48.1 ppg at home.

Offensively, Texas Tech averages 73.5 points per game to rank 157th out of 353 teams and is led by sophomore guard Jarrett Culver. The Texas native is expected to be a first-round pick in the NBA draft this season and is leading the Red Raiders in points (18.7), rebounds (5.7) and assists (4.1). I think with Kansas dealing with a big injury, Texas Tech at +450 provides the best value with conference play just underway.

Here’s a look at the odds for the Big 12 Tournament:

2018-19 College basketball big 12 odds
TeamOdds
Kansas Jayhawks+110
Texas Tech Red Raiders+450
Iowa State Cyclones+450
TCU Horned Frogs+750
Oklahoma Sooners+950
West Virginia Mountaineers+950
Kansas State Wildcats+1025
Texas Longhorns+1400
Baylor Bears+1800
Oklahoma State Cowboys+1800

Odds as of January 7 at Bovada

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