By Dan Kilbridge | | 4 mins
Big 12 Basketball 2021 Conference Odds & Betting Tips
As Kansas looks to continue its run of Big 12 dominance, the Jayhawks should have more competition at the top in 2020-21. Kansas has won at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season championship in 14 of the past 16 seasons, including a solo crown in 2020 with a 17-1 conference record.
Early this season the Big 12 boasts five teams ranked in the top-25, including two in the top five – with Baylor checking in ahead of Kansas at No. 2 in the nation. The Bears and No. 5 Jayhawks are co-favorites to start the conference race with +180 odds. And they’d be unwise to sleep on fellow conference challengers including Texas (+430), West Virginia (+435) and Texas Tech (+625).
We’ll see if Kansas can remain top dog in conference for yet another season, with oddsmakers clearly expecting a close conference slate and a fight for the Big 12 title. Here’s a college basketball betting primer to the Big 12 conference race.
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Big 12 Basketball Odds To Win The Conference
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Bill Self’s Jayhawk squad was a lock for a No. 1 seed in the spring before the 2020 NCAA Tournament was called off this spring. Now the Jayhawks lose Devon Dotson, reigning Big 12 Player of the Year Udoka Azubuike and all the offensive contributions that came with them.
The Jayhawks suffered an early loss to Gonzaga but bounced back with a win over Kentucky in the Champions Classic. Junior guard Ochai Agbaji has stepped up with 16.2 points per game and 6-foot-8 freshman Garrett Wilson is meeting high expectations with 15 points and 8.8 rebounds. Those are two very positive signs for a Jayhawks squad looking to fend off a rising Baylor program for yet another Big 12 championship.
Baylor finished two games out of first place in Big 12 play last season at 15-3. Two of those losses were one-possession games, including 64-61 to Kansas, so the Bears should be playing with plenty of confidence all season. Wooden Award contender Jared Butler might be the best point guard in the nation, and he has a lot of help. Baylor looks like a complete conference contender and scored a big early win over No. 6 Illinois. It won’t be the last marquee victory for this Bears team by season’s end.
Shaka Smart enters his sixth season in Austin with high expectations for a March Madness run. He has some returning talent to work with in Andrew Jones and Matt Coleman, but the real excitement is centered around superstar freshman forward Greg Brown. The 6-foot-9 big man is easing into things with 8.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Junior guard Courtney Ramey has already been a pleasant surprise, averaging 15.2 points, and the defense has been stellar in giving up just 62 points per game. The Longhorns fell in a 68-64 loss to Villanova early this season, but they’ll win plenty of games and contend for a Big 12 title if they can keep defending like this.
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The Mountaineers took Gonzaga to the wire in an 87-82 loss early this season, as West Virginia is already proving it belongs in the discussion of serious contenders. This was a strong defensive squad last season behind forward Derek Culver, a shot-blocker who’s averaging a double-double early this season.
West Virginia is also getting double-digit scoring contributions from guards Miles McBride, Taz Shermnan and Sean McNeil, as the offense has been better than expected so far in Morgantown. So far, it’s safe to say the Mountaineers are playing above their +435 odds and look like the best option below Kansas and Baylor.
Other Teams to Consider
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are just two years removed from an appearance in the National Championship game and check in at No. 5 with +625 odds. An early loss to No. 7 Houston threw some bettors off the scent, but offseason transfers and a strong recruiting class should lead Texas Tech into conference contention again in 2021.
Oklahoma: The only show in the Sooner State with Oklahoma State facing a postseason ban in 2021, Oklahoma is hoping to surprise and contend for its first conference championship since 2005. Senior forward Brady Manek and senior guard Austin Reaves are off to a great start, averaging 20-plus points apiece, and will lead an experienced, steady squad in 2021.