The Baylor Bears can reach the NCAA Tournament championship game for just the second time in program history when they take on the Houston Cougars in an all-Texas 2021 Final Four matchup on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. In 1948 the Bears made the title game, losing to Alex Groza and Kentucky, 58-42. Two years later Baylor again reached the Final Four, which was the program’s last appearance in the national semifinals before this season. On Saturday the Bears (26-2) will face Houston (28-3), which has won 11 straight games. The winner of this 2021 NCAA Tournament semifinal will advance to Monday’s championship game to face either No. 1 Gonzaga or streaking UCLA.
Tip-off is set for 5:14 p.m. ET on CBS. The Bears are favored by five points in the latest Baylor vs. Houston odds from William Hill Sportsbook while the over-under for total points scored is 135. Before locking in any Houston vs. Baylor picks, you need to check out the 2021 March Madness Final Four predictions from SportsLine’s Josh Nagel.
A Nevada-based handicapper with more than 20 years of experience in the sports wagering industry, Nagel has had a particularly keen eye for the Bears. He is 14-4 with his last 18 against-the-spread college basketball picks involving Baylor, earning a profit of $968. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, he has set his sights on Baylor vs. Houston in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament 2021. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several college basketball odds and trends for Houston vs. Baylor:
- Baylor vs. Houston spread: Bears -5
- Baylor vs. Houston over-under: 135 points
- Baylor vs. Houston money line: Bears -230, Cougars +190
- BU: Team leads country in 3-point field goal percentage (41.1)
- UH: Cougars lead nation in field goal percentage defense (37.3)
Why Baylor can cover
Guard Davion Mitchell is on fire. Over his last seven games, the junior from Hinesville, Ga., is shooting 57.3 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from the 3-point arc. During that time he is averaging 15.3 points, 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals a game.
In addition, Baylor is by far the best team Houston has faced this season. The Cougars played only one ranked team this season, beating No. 14 Texas Tech, 64-53 in November. They also are the first team in NCAA Tournament history to face four double-digit seeds since the seeding of teams began in 1979.
Why Houston can cover
Houston crashes the offensive boards at an elite level. The Cougars average 14.5 offensive rebounds per game, which ranks third in the country. That bodes well against a Baylor team that is below average on the defensive glass. The Bears rank 299th in the country in defensive rebounds per game (23.4).
In addition, guard Quentin Grimes is having a breakthrough season. The 6-foot-5 junior from The Woodlands, Texas, and former Kansas recruit ranks sixth in the country in 3-pointers made per game (3.4) while averaging a team-best 18.0 points. For his efforts this season he was named the American Athletic Conference co-Player of the Year.
How to make Baylor vs. Houston picks
Nagel is leaning under on the total and he’s found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Baylor vs. Houston? And which critical X-factor makes one side hit hard? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from expert who has crushed his college basketball picks.
CBS Sports Staff
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