Baylor comes alive, but has a tough test in Texas

Baylor probably isn’t going anywhere as one of the top programs in college basketball as long as Scott Drew is the coach.

Two seasons ago, Baylor became national champion. Last season, the Bears were a No. 1 seed, even though they were upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This season, the Bears haven’t looked so good at 10-5, but it’s turned around.

The Bears have won six in a row in the tough Big 12, are No. 3 in most mock brackets, and are also on a 4-1-1 stretch against the spread. The hot streak faces a severe test Monday night as the Bears play in Texas. The Longhorns are a 3.5 point favorite at BetMGM.

Baylor’s rise is mostly due to a fantastic backcourt, which should put them on everyone’s radar for a deep March Madness run. Freshman Keyonte George, a McDonald’s All-American last season, made an immediate impression. He averages 17.2 points per game. He could be a lottery pick in the NBA draft this summer. He’s the kind of player who can lead a team through a tournament.

The Bears are an excellent offensive team that have suffered five losses, but all of them came against teams in the top 25 of the KenPom rankings.

Texas suffered a rough 82-71 loss to Tennessee this weekend, but it’s still a quality Longhorns team as well. Coach Chris Beard was fired after a domestic violence charge, but Texas continues to play well. The Longhorns have a lot of experience and toughness, and they will struggle in the NCAA tournament as well.

It’s hard to pass on Baylor getting points given how well they play. If they can beat Texas on Monday night, their hot streak will get more attention.

Guard Keyonte George and the Baylor Bears have won six in a row. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

Here’s a first look at Monday’s sports betting:

More ‘Big Monday’ action

There aren’t many college basketball games on a light Monday, but the first game of the ESPN “Big Monday” doubleheader is an interesting one. Virginia plays in Syracuse and the Cavaliers are a 5.5 point favorite. Syracuse is 13-9, but has had a few brief flashes of improvement lately. The Orange has covered in five of the last seven games. Virginia has won six in a row.

Another Big 12 game is overdue as a good Iowa State team faces Texas Tech. Iowa State is just a 1.5-point favorite at Texas Tech, which had lost eight in a row before beating an awful LSU team. It’s hard to win road favorites in college basketball, but Iowa State is worth checking out.

NBA Featured by Warriors-Thunder

The best game of the eight in the NBA on Monday night is the Golden State Warriors in the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder would be one of the teams in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, but they’ve been a capable 24-25 and have an NBA-best 31-17-1 record against the spread. Going up against Golden State is never fun, but OKC could be worth a shot as the 5.5-point underdog. The Sacramento Kings (-1.5) at the Minnesota Timberwolves is also a sneaky good game between two hot teams.

One game in the NHL

It’s a surprisingly quiet night in the NHL. The only game on the ice is the St. Louis Blues at the Winnipeg Jets, with the Jets a heavy -225 favorite.

What’s the best bet?

I’m going with the Thunder, who have been fantastic for punters this season. They will be battling a major opponent in the Warriors at home.

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