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Baylor’s 2020 March Madness Title Odds Are 40/1 in Vegas, But 100/1 Online

Close-up of a Baylor Bears basketball jersey.
The Baylor Bears return several key contributors in 2019-20 and will have impact transfers in the mix. Photo by Kelby Wingert, III Corps and Fort Hood Public Affairs (public domain).
  • There’s a big discrepancy between Baylor’s NCAA March Madness odds online and in Vegas
  • Their National title odds have been bet down to 40/1 (+4000) in Vegas, but remain +10000 (100/1) at online sportsbooks
  • Are they worth a wager at 100/1?

Baylor’s men’s basketball team is a polarizing topic in betting circles these days. According to a tweet from Matt Lindeman, their National Championship odds opened at 500/1 in Vegas, but have since been bet all the way down to 40/1.

Online sportsbooks are not so bullish on Scott Drew’s Bears, as their average odds to win March Madness still sit at 100/1 (+10000) across the board.

Odds to Win 2020 NCAA Tournament

Team 2020 NCAA March Madness Odds at Bovada
Duke Blue Devils +600
Virginia Cavaliers +750
Michigan State Spartans +700
North Carolina Tar Heels +1400
Villanova Wildcats +1400
Michigan Wolverines +1500
Gonzaga Bulldogs +1600
Kansas Jayhawks +2000
Texas Tech Red Raiders +3000
Texas Longhorns +4000
Baylor Bears +10000

*Odds taken on 05/16/19

Over at Bovada, Baylor has significantly longer odds than Big 12 rivals Kansas, Texas Tech, and Texas, which raises two possible questions: What are they seeing in Vegas? Or, what are they missing online?

Baylor’s Embarrassment of Riches

Counter to 2018 preseason expectations, the Bears (picked to finish 9th) were the Big 12’s most efficient offensive team in 2018-19., and next year’s squad looks like it will pack even more firepower.

Double-figure scorers Jared Butler and Mario Kegler are back, as is their most efficient offensive player from a year ago, Tristan Clark, who missed the final 20 games with a knee injury.

They’ll lose point guard and leading scorer Makai Mason (14.9 PPG, 3.4 APG) along with King McClure (9.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG), but transfers Davion Mitchell and Macio Teague will immediately fight for starting jobs. Mitchell is a former for-star recruit, while Teague averaged 17 points a game for UNC Asheville two seasons ago.

On paper, Baylor has one of the best rosters in the Big 12, which should carry a lot of weight in the eyes of sports bettors. The conference has been ranked the top league by KenPom’s efficiency metrics for each of the past six years, and there’s no reason to believe that trend won’t continue next season.

A Mediocre Tournament History

Naysayers will be quick to point out a lack of success in March Madness as a reason to fade the Bears and they have a good point. Baylor hasn’t made a Final Four appearance in 69 years and they have just two trips to the Elite Eight during that drought.

Baylor hasn’t made a Final Four appearance in 69 years

They were bounced in the round of 32 by Gonzaga two months ago, and have beaten just one top-7 seed in their region since the tournament expanded in 1985.

While the lack of March Madness success isn’t ideal, they’re a consensus preseason top-25 team and they’re not being treated that way by online sportsbooks.

Forget the Past, Pounce on the Value

Baylor currently has the 36th-shortest National Title odds at Bovada, despite being as high as number 15 in some preseason rankings.

They’re an incredibly deep team, with plenty of experience, and difference makers at both ends of the court. Even if you’re not completely sold on them as a title contender, the line movement in Vegas should set off warning bells in your head.

If the books out there are taking so much action that they’ve shortened Baylor’s odds all the way down to 40/1, that probably means some pretty sharp bettors are backing the Bears.

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