A solid four team showcase in Las Vegas this weekend gets underway in the Virginia vs Baylor betting matchup with Illinois facing UCLA in the nightcap. The #16 Cavaliers (2-0) won the NCAA Championship in 2019 and the #5 Bears (3-0) were the 2021 title winners so these are two teams with big expectations for the 2022/23 season.
Baylor is a -4.5 favorite on Friday night as they’ve won three home games this season all by at least 17 points. It will be interesting to see how Virginia responds emotionally after a tragic shooting on Sunday in which three members of the UVA football team lost their life. Maybe playing a game is a nice distraction for the Cavaliers squad.
Virginia Tries to Play Through Heavy Hearts
UVA is cancelling this weekend’s home football finale against Coastal Carolina after the death of three players, but the show is going to go on for the basketball team. The Cavaliers have started off the season 2-0, but they were -24.5 favorites against both North Carolina Central (73-61) and Monmouth (89-42).
It’s been a nice start to a bounce back season for Virginia as they were 21-14 a year ago, finishing sixth in the ACC and missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. UVA made the NIT, but lost 52-51 to St. Bonaventure in the quarterfinals.
UVA wants to get into a low scoring affair in the Virginia vs Baylor betting matchup. The Cavaliers were 12th in the country allowing just 60.4 ppg last season, but they also didn’t score much themselves at just 63.6 ppg. UVA is allowing just 51.5 ppg through two games in 2022/23, but BU is also averaging just shy of 100 points through three games (99.7).
Can Baylor Offense Keep Rolling?
Baylor has put up 117, 87, and 95 points in their three games this season as they’ve been at least a 27-point favorite in all three of their wins (2-1 ATS). It will be interesting to see if that success continues on Friday night as the Bears play their first game away from home at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and against what looks like another really good Virginia defense.
UVA has an All-ACC defensive team member in their backcourt in Reece Beekman and another experienced guard in 5th year senior in Kihei Clark. Two of Baylor’s key players are guards as Adam Flagler and L.J. Cryer are the main components in the Bears attack.
The Bears have a lot of production to replace this season with Kendall Brown off to the Pacers, Jeremy Sochan drafted by the Spurs, and James Akinjo in the NBA G-League. One of Baylor’s key reserves last season Matthew Mayer – who had entertained going to the NBA – has instead transferred to Illinois.
Free Virginia vs Baylor Betting Pick
Virginia can annoy you with their slow pace and hounding defense, that may especially get to a team like Baylor who prefers a more spread open game where they can get out and run. Baylor’s offense has looked good this season, but they’re still working on replacing some key parts of last season’s team and with all the emotions Virginia is playing with on Friday night they get the edge.
Pick: Virginia +4.5