Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State Cyclones Remain Betting Underdogs For Big 12 Regular Season Championship

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Baylor

Iowa State has played good basketball but is still a +4000 underdog to win the Big 12 regular season title. That’s a reasonable price for a team currently 4th in the conference, but do the Cyclones have a shot at the Conference title?

According to, the Cyclones opened at +5000 to win the Big 12 conference, but have been bet down a bit and as a result, we are left with +4000 for Iowa State to take down the Big 12.

Iowa State finished seventh in the Big 12 but got hot at the right time and went to the Sweet Sixteen during Head Coach T.J. Oltzenberger’s first year at the helm. Can the Cyclones take that next step forward and win the Big 12 regular season conference title?

Iowa State has grown since its 2022 Sweet Sixteen Appearance

The Cyclones were dead last in the conference in scoring in 2021-2022 but have increased their production this season by 5.5 points. A trio of senior guards leads the nation’s sixth most experienced squad: Jaren Holmes leads the way with 13.8 points, Gabe Kalscheur averages 13, and Caleb Gill averages 10.6. Grill also leads in caroms, while freshman guard Tamin Lipsey leads Iowa State in assists.

Iowa State has also improved its team defense. The 2022 team allowed 62.5 points, and this year’s squad surrendered a conference-best 61.3 points. The Cyclones are 9th in rebounding but allow the fewest opponent rebounds in the Big 12.

Home Success vs. Road Failure

The 2022-2023 Iowa State Cyclones are a tale of two teams–the 12-1 home Cyclones and the 2-6 away squad.

The Cyclones should be built for success on the road. They play exceptional defense and shoot the ball relatively well, but they have a hard time breaking the press in losses against Texas Tech and Missouri. Holmes has struggled with his shot away from Hilton Coliseum, and the team can’t seem to make a free throw when it needs one at the end of the game.

The away losses have been brutal, but the squad has a  -29 point differential in their five away Big 12 losses. They suffered two-point losses to No. 9 Kansas, and unranked Oklahoma State, followed by a 17-point loss to Missouri. The OT loss to Texas Tech was painful to watch, as were the 31 fouls committed in a five-point away loss to Virginia Tech.

Iowa State vs. the Big 12

The Big 12 Conference has an average national ranking of 23.6 and is one of the strongest in the college game, but how do they match up with the rest of the conference?

As the KenPom rankings show, the Cyclones are near the top of every major statistical category with a much-improved offense and a tough-as-nails defense.

Iowa State has made subtle changes and improvements from a year ago. The Cyclones don’t turn the ball as they did a season ago, but it’s still a problem, especially on the road. They shoot the ball better from inside and outside the arc, but Iowa State can’t make their free throws, and that has hurt them more than anything else away from Hilton Coliseum.

Is Iowa State a Good Bet to Win the Big 12 Conference

Iowa State has its destiny in its own hands. If not for a couple of ugly road losses, the Cyclones would be tops in the conference standings. The road has been the Achilles Heel for the Cyclones, and they have three remaining away games on their schedule (Kansas State, Texas, Baylor) and have defeated each of these teams.

The encouraging sign for Iowa State is the seven remaining games on their schedule;three are at home (TCU, Oklahoma, and West Virginia), and they should comfortably win each of those four contests. 

Iowa State can win each of those away games–the Cyclones’ defense is strong on the road. If this experienced Iowa State team can figure out a way to make a few buckets, they can beat K-State, Texas, and Baylor, and winning two of those three plus a home sweep won’t be a bad spot for Iowa State to be in.

Iowa State opened as +5000, was bet down as low as +550 but rose after Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State. That much drop in price usually suggests some “sharp” or pro sports bettors have put serious money on Iowa State. The rise was the reaction but the biggest move should be where we should put our money.  We always like to be on the same side as the 1%, and with their winnable schedule and a little luck, Iowa State can and should win the Big 12 Conference Regular Season title.

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