The Big 12 – SEC Challenge sets up shop in Tuscaloosa on Saturday afternoon for the January 29th Baylor at Alabama betting contest. The #4 Bears (18-2) lost both of their games this season in consecutive outings to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State both at home, but they’ve put questions of a meltdown behind them with three straight wins.
Alabama (13-7) has not had the same turnaround as Baylor. At one time the Crimson Tide were 8-1 and up to #6 in the country but they are just 5-6 since then. Alabama is only 4-4 in conference play and have lost four of their last six overall. Alabama is 9-1 at Coleman Coliseum however with the only loss coming against current #1 Auburn 81-77. That is part of the reason the Bears are just -3.5 favorites on Saturday.
Baylor Back to Dominating
The Bears had won 21 straight games dating back to last year, but they looked human in losses to Texas Tech (65-62) and Oklahoma State (61-54). Perhaps it was good for Baylor to face a little adversity for the first time in awhile, because they’ve won three straight all by 9+ points.
Baylor has been especially good the last two games – and on both ends of the court. That includes a 65-51 win in Oklahoma as -4 point favorites and the 74-49 throttling of Baylor on Tuesday to easily cover the -12.5 number. The Bears have pushed their mark to 5-0 in true road games this year, although Alabama is 9-1 at home.
Baylor’s recent run is made more impressive considering they’re without a pretty significant part of their offense with James Akinjo (13.2 ppg) hobbled by a back injury. Akinjo had gone for 20+ in three of five games before only managing five total vs. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. He finally sat out against Kansas State while LJ Cryer (13.9 ppg) picked up the slack with 14 points.
Being at Home Enough for Alabama?
If Akinjo does not go for the Bears on Saturday that would definitely be a boost for Alabama, but Baylor is also still a really good team ranking 35th in the nation in scoring (78.7 ppg) and 13th in points allowed (59.3 ppg). One huge advantage the Crimson Tide have in the January 29th Baylor at Alabama matchup though is being at home.
Alabama has also faced some quality competition at Coleman Coliseum as part of their 9-1 home record. They have beat #7 Houston (83-82), #18 Tennessee (73-68), and #19 LSU (70-67) while losing to #1 Auburn 81-77. The Crimson Tide were also favored in all those games, and have now failed to cover the number in 7 straight at home.
Alabama has the ability to pull off the upset on Saturday and can definitely at the very least keep this one within 3.5 points. Jaden Shackelford (17.1 ppg) is the #4 scorer in the SEC while Jahvon Quinerly (14.3 ppg) and Keon Ellis (12.2) have upside potential as well.
Free January 29th Baylor at Alabama Betting Pick
Alabama is coming off a brutal 82-76 loss at 6-14 Georgia this week as -14.5 favorites. That’s not really the kind of momentum you want to have coming into a meeting with Baylor but it was also on the road. Baylor has looked pretty solid even with an Akinjo that is less than 100%, but the Crimson Tide seem lined up for the upset here.
Alabama 71 – Baylor 69
Free Pick: Alabama +3.5