The Baylor Bears (26-5, 14-4) finished the season strong with a five-game win streak, giving them the honor of sharing the regular-season Big 12 title with Kansas. If they can build on their momentum this week, they can walk away as the definitive Big 12 champion and lock up a one seed for the Big Dance.
They have certainly faced more difficult opponents than their first-round opponents — the Oklahoma Sooners (17-14, 7-11) — but rarely in games with as big of stakes as Thursday's. Can Baylor continue its resurgence and make a run at repeating as national champions or will Oklahoma send it packing?
Continue reading for free college basketball picks and predictions for Baylor vs. Oklahoma on Thursday, March 10th.
Baylor vs Oklahoma odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Baylor opened as 8.5-point favorites and has since moved a touch down to -8. The total opened at 135.5 and has since moved to 133.5.
Baylor vs Oklahoma predictions
Predictions made on 3/10/2022 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Baylor vs Oklahoma game info
• Location: T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, MO
• Date: Thursday, March 10, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
Baylor at Oklahoma betting preview
Baylor: LJ Cryer G (Doubtful).
Oklahoma: No injuries to report.
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
Baylor has played in four games at or below Thursday's total and has played 3-1 to the Over in those games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Baylor vs. Oklahoma.
Baylor vs Oklahoma picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
On February 5th, Baylor lost in embarrassing fashion by 24 points to Kansas, completing a stretch of eight games where it lost four games. This stretch came directly following a 15-0 start following its national championship win last year, and it was a true sink-or-swim moment in the season. Scott Drew has since rallied the Bears and managed a 7-1 finish, including a revenge win over Kansas and a quality road win against Texas. As a result, Baylor finished as regular-season Big 12 co-champions with Kansas, and the path to a potential third matchup with the Jayhawks in the Big 12 championship game is there.
So, what makes Baylor so great? For one, its team is full of high-end talent from top to bottom. For example, the Bears have had seven different leading scorers in their last nine games. And they have played all but one of those games without LJ Cryer, who is second on the team in points per game and led the team in scoring in eight of the 20 games before he went down. Baylor has also had five different players lead the team in rebounding in its last six games, further demonstrating its malleability.
Baylor is notoriously great at the rim, with its 71.6% field goal percentage there ranking second in the nation and only trailing Kentucky. However, the Bears have the ninth-lowest volume there in terms of percentage of shots taken at the three levels. In essence, they maintain high efficiency by making each shot at the rim really count. They achieve this through solid three-point volume and efficiency (second in the former and third in the latter in the Big 12), which helps keep defenses honest.
In that sense, Oklahoma is just a lesser version of Baylor. The Sooners rank 12th in field goal percentage at the rim and rank fourth in 3-point volume and fifth in 3-point percentage conference-wise. They too have a wide range of players that they can rely on, with five different game-high scorers in their last six. They have four different players averaging between 10.0 and 12.4 points per game, all with varying skill sets.
Leading scorer senior forward Tanner Groves doubles as a threat at the rim (75.0% FG%) and outside (38.0% 3P%). Senior guard Umoja Gibson (12.3 PPG) camps at the 3-point line, with nearly 70% of all of his shots coming from there. On top of contributing double-digit scoring, fellow senior guard Jordan Goldwire (10.4 PPG) is also the team's leader in assists. And Elijah Harkless (10.0 PPG) is a fluid shot-creator from the mid-range, shooting nearly 40% on 2-point jumpers.
Given the Sooners’ versatility, they have given some top-end teams trouble from time to time. They have wins over No. 14 Texas Tech and No. 15 Arkansas while playing Kansas within three points twice and dropping in overtime by two to Texas. Even so, they are a tad bit overmatched for Baylor seeing as they allowed the highest 3-point percentage in Big 12 play and are lacking interior presence with their dead last rank in blocks as well.
Prediction: Baylor -8 (-110)
Baylor has seen four totals this season at or below Thursday's mark of 133.5 and has played 3-1 to the Over in those games. The Sooners have seen such totals much more often and have gone 9-7 to the Over in those environments. And while Oklahoma was experiencing offensive struggles down the stretch, having failed to score 70 or more in regulation for most of February, it closed the season with 72- and 78-point performances in the last two games of the season.
Ever since that shameful 59-point performance against Kansas on February 5th, Baylor has averaged 73.6 points per game in the eight games since (which it has won seven of), which is firmly better than the 66.9 points it was averaging in the eight-game stretch immediately prior to that when it went 4-4.
Prediction: Over 133.5 (-110)
While Oklahoma has displayed the potential to run with teams like the Bears, it has also shown the ability to get run out of the gym by them. They lost by double digits to Baylor in the first two meetings and lost by 14 to Texas, 18 to Auburn, 19 by Iowa State, and 24 to Texas Tech.
It was this time of the year last year when Scott Drew and Baylor went on its national championship run, a run during which it won by an average margin of 15.3 points and won all but one game by double digits (it won that game by nine). Baylor has seemingly survived the mid-season troubles caused by extensive injuries and has turned a corner here in the home stretch of the season. Expect the Bears to continue that run convincingly on Thursday.
Pick: Baylor -8 (-110)
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