2023 College Basketball Big 12 Tournament Picks & Predictions

Mar 6, 2023 - 12:16 PM

It’s March – the bells are ringing, the children are singing, and everyone is dancing in the street. We already have some auto-bids handed out and get plenty more to come for Championship Week. College basketball takes center stage and one of the highlights before March Madness actually begins is the Big 12 tourney 

The Big 12 this year was, without a doubt, the best conference in all of basketball. Teams one through 10 rank in the top 60 in KenPom. This tournament should be a real treat and with the talent across the board, that means there will be some solid value available for you to make some money. I’m going to cover the favorite, value play, and dark horse pick for this tournament, along with what I’ll be betting.

Big 12 Tournament Best Bets

Here’s a look at the best bets for the Big 12 Tournament.

The Favorite – Kansas Jayhawks (+270 FanDuel)

It’s not much of a surprise that Bill Self has led his team to another remarkable season as they have all but locked up a number-one seed for the NCAA Tournament. Jalen Wilson has improved drastically in his leading this team in the frontcourt. Dajuan Harris is a solid facilitating guard with he and Gradey Dick leading the scoring effort from beyond the arc. This is a deadly and dynamic team that should be favored to earn the auto bid out of the Big 12.

Honestly, I don’t love betting on the Jayhawks here. This number to me means the books truly respect the rest of the Big 12 teams, and so do I. The Jayhawks are only narrowly better than Baylor and Texas with losses to TCU and Iowa State by double-digits. Kansas gets the ‘blue-blood-boost’ as I like to call it simply due to their history and Quad 1 wins, but they aren’t immune to conference losses and won’t have the benefit of playing in Allen Fieldhouse. But as a quick aside, if you really want to bet on Kansas, they are +350 on DraftKings for some better odds.

What scares me the most about the Jayhawks is their lack of depth – ranking 360th in bench minutes among D1 programs. We saw back in November how back-to-back-back neutral games got to them. After scraping past N.C. State, Kansas needed an overtime miracle to defeat Wisconsin, and then got handled by Tennessee. Keep note if this happens again, because the NCAA Tournament won’t be too different with the quick turnaround. 

Yes, of course, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see Kansas steamroll this tournament. But I truly believe their lack of depth will make them fall short

The Value – Baylor Bears (+450 DraftKings)

You can tell the Big 12 tournament is going to be a crapshoot because the odds vary across books. At FanDuel, Baylor is +340, on PointsBet, it’s +370. Not only do I like Baylor as the third team in the top tier of Kansas, Texas, and Baylor, but snagging them at +450 is some solid value.

The Bears may be entering the tournament with a loss to Iowa State but that doesn’t weigh as heavily on me. Scott Drew is a coach who knows how to plan ahead and a final regular season game isn’t nearly as important as prepping for the conference tournament. 

What might spook me a little bit is how Baylor draws Iowa State first round, a team they lost two in both matchups this year. However both times Baylor was playing banged up and the loss of Caleb Grill is going to be big in the long run for Iowa State. The talent that Baylor possesses gives me confidence in their ability to make a deep run in the tournament, and step up in the big moments. Their second-ranked offense is difficult to contain and their underrated depth should be good for the tournament. They’ve defeated Texas and Kansas both this season and Baylor showed their neutral court abilities with wins over UCLA and Gonzaga earlier this year.

The Longshot – TCU Horned Frogs (+850 DraftKings)

Again, I want to reiterate the importance of finding value when betting, not only in this case but for your gambling career. TCU is +850 on DK but +470 on FanDuel and +700 on PointsBet. That’s an insane difference. 

What DraftKings might not remember in setting the line at +850 is how Mike Miles Jr. missed eight games this year. Without him, TCU went 3-5. That’s nearly half their losses. With him, TCU took down Kansas, Baylor, Texas, and Kansas State – who they draw in the first round. 

With this team healthy, the sky’s the limit. Jamie Dixon has done an awesome job running it back in Fort Worth after a little bit of a rocky start. What I really like about TCU is how much better they rank at playing away from home than their other Big 12 counterparts. This conference might have the biggest home-court advantage and with that neutralized, talent will play out. Mike Miles  Jr. is someone good enough to bring TCU through this tournament and they have the experience to play late in games. 

I feel required to mention Texas (+370 on FanDuel) because they are the favorite in some books. I simply don’t see their value, however. Their away-from-home metric ranks in the bottom 300 in the league, and they’ve been up and down so much this season I’m not too confident in their ability to string three wins together – something they only did once in conference play all season and it was against Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas Tech. The Longhorns can be deadly when hot but I’m risking it by fading them this time around.

My Bets:

Baylor +450 (0.5U)
TCU +850 (0.5U)

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