We’ve arrived at another weekend of Big 12 basketball and the conference race is as tight as ever. No. 4 Houston holds the lead going into the weekend at 6-2 in conference play, but Texas Tech and Iowa State are right on their tail at 5-2.
Kansas, who has won at least a share of every Big 12 tournament in Bill Self’s tenure excluding 2019, sits tied for fourth place at 5-3, but has a chance to shake things up in a big way on Saturday.
With some big games on the line, we’ve got a couple of bets that you should feel good about on Saturday, and here they are.
No. 4 Houston Cougars (19-2, 6-2) at No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks (17-4, 5-3)
Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas; 3:00 p.m. CT (ESPN)
Houston -2.5, Total 133.5 (Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)
The biggest test so for KenPom’s #1 team in the country. Houston goes to the Phog on a five-game winning streak after a 1-2 start in Big 12 play. Any questions about the Cougars’ ability to be an elite team in a Power conference were always misguided but Kelvin Sampson’s squad has proved they not only belong in the Big 12 but they are the favorites to win the regular season crown. I still have questions long term about Houston’s offense but they have far and away the best defense in the Big 12 and the entire country.
They have had extreme home/road splits on the Jayhawks side of things so far in conference play. The Phog is still the best home-court advantage in America and we have the Jayhawks look the part of a top-10 team while on their home floor. My question as always with this version of Kansas is their depth. This is the type of game that Dickinson and Adams could get in foul trouble against the length and size of Houston. This is also just the third time since 1996 that Kansas is an underdog at home, the most recent time was in 2021 when the Jayhawks beat the eventual champions Baylor as a 4.5-point underdog.
Now to the official play. Houston is more than capable of walking into the Phog and inflicting their will on the Jayhawks but in the end, I just can’t pass up the opportunity to get Kansas at home as the underdog. Give me the Jayhawks with the points, and outright as well.
PICK: Kansas +2.5
No. 22 BYU Cougars (15-5, 3-4) at West Virginia Mountaineers (8-13, 3-5)
WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, West Virginia; 6:00 p.m. ET
BYU -9, Total: 149.5 (Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Let’s head to Morgantown next as BYU makes another trip to the Eastern Time Zone. The Cougars got a nice comfortable win at home earlier in the week against Texas after two straight losses to Texas Tech and Houston. The Cougars are beloved by the analytics as KenPom has them the 9th-best team in the country entering the weekend. I think BYU is a good team, I don’t think they are a top 10 caliber team in the country though. This is a brutal road trip from Provo to Morgantown for the Cougars as well.
West Virginia has been good at home in Big 12 play with upset wins over Texas, Kansas, and Cincinnati. The Mountaineers have large home/road splits like most of the teams in the league. The question in this matchup for WVU will be their defense. Their defense has been good enough in those upsets but this will be a game where the Mountaineers will need to defend the three-point line well. WVU has been good at guarding the perimeter in Big 12 play and I expect that to continue.
I don’t think the Mountaineers pull the outright upset but getting nine points at home seems like a bargain. We’ll take West Virginia to cover at home.