College Basketball’s Best Bets January 1st including Baylor vs Iowa State and Virginia vs Syracuse

By Akiva Wienerkur   January 1, 2022 

College Basketball’s Best Bets January 1st including Baylor vs Iowa State and Virginia vs Syracuse

As the new year begins many college programs prepare for the 2nd half of their basketball season. This is when the great teams shine and others look towards next season for a chance to be dancing in March.

Today there are many games to pick from, but we are happy just to have college basketball being played. Even with games being played today, there are still many that were unfortunately canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. Any game that can be played we do not take for granted anymore for sure. Today we have the best team in the nation #1 Baylor playing along with West Virginia and Syracuse. All three games should be very close and entertaining, as evidenced by the NCAAB odds.

Now let’s take a closer look for the best bets ahead of Saturday.

West Virginia vs. #17 Texas

The Bet: West Virginia +8.5

West Virginia Mountaineers guard Malik Curry (10) dribbles while defended by Youngstown State Penguins guard Luke Chicone (10) during the second half at WVU Coliseum | Sidelines
Dec 22, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Malik Curry (10) dribbles while defended by Youngstown State Penguins guard Luke Chicone (10) during the second half at WVU Coliseum. Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

A great Big 12 matchup between West Virginia and Texas. Both teams off to great starts to the season with West Virginia at 11-1 and Texas at 10-2. This game should be great and should come down to the last minute.

West Virginia is one of the best unranked teams in the country. West Virginia is a great defensive team this year under Bob Huggins as usual. They are currently allowing 59.8 points per game and on an eight game win streak. Their defense may carry them, but they are solid on the offensive end as well. They average 70.4 points per game. They are led by senior Taz Sherman who is currently averaging 21 points per game. If their offense can show up they should not have to worry, as their defense will carry them especially in this game. They are one of the best unranked teams in the country and should expect to be ranked if they win against a top 20 team in Texas.

Texas is a great team off to a great start so far. Texas is also a great defensive team like West Virginia, but might even be better. Texas is currently coming off of a 78-33 win against Incarnate Word. Whenever you can hold a division one team to 33 points, you can definitely say you have a great defense. Texas only allows opponents 51.3 points per game, which is one of the best in the country. Even with a great defense they do have a great offense as well. Their defense highlights the great success they’ve had this season, but their offense has no problems scoring at will. Texas averages 72 points per game.

This should be a very competitive matchup between two even teams, that’s why we like West Virginia to cover the 8.5 point spread.

#1 Baylor vs. #8 Iowa State

The Bet: Baylor -7.5

Baylor Bears guard James Akinjo (11) drives to the basket against Northwestern State Demons center Larry Owens (32) during the second half at Ferrell Center | Sidelines
Dec 28, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears guard James Akinjo (11) drives to the basket against Northwestern State Demons center Larry Owens (32) during the second half at Ferrell Center. Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

A top ten matchup between #1 Baylor and #8 Iowa State. This should be a great matchup between two undefeated teams, both at 12-0. The best team in the nation and a great Iowa State team tips off early Saturday afternoon.

Baylor is easily the best team in the nation and it’s not even close. They dominate every game they play in and have won twelve straight. Baylor’s closest game so far this year was an eight point win against VCU. Baylor is a great offensive team, but what really stands out is their insane defense. Baylor has the best defense in the country and it definitely showed in the Villanova game where they won 57-36. Whenever you allow only 36 points to a top 10 team, you know you have a top defense. They allow only 56.8 points per game, while averaging 83.8 points per game. An average win margin of an impressive 17 points a game, Baylor could be on course to repeat as champions.

Iowa State is a great team that is off to one of the best starts of the season in their programs history. Like Baylor they are an amazing defensive team. They only allow 56 points per game to opponents. They held a great Iowa team to only 53 points and Memphis to 59. They are now coming off a win where they held Chicago State to 48 points in a 79-48 win. Their offense has been impressive as well. They average 73 points per game and are led by senior guard Izaiah Brockington. Brockington is in his first season with the Cyclones however, he is a Penn State transfer. Brockington has found a home with Iowa State as he averages 17 points per game and is looking to lead his team to stay undefeated.

With a great matchup that should be close, we cannot ever count out Baylor. That’s why we like Baylor to cover the 7.5 point spread.

Virginia vs. Syracuse 

The Bet: Syracuse -4

Syracuse Orange forward Jimmy Boeheim (0) holds the ball as Villanova Wildcats forward Jermaine Samuels (23) defends during the second half at Madison Square Garden | Sidelines
Dec 7, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Jimmy Boeheim (0) holds the ball as Villanova Wildcats forward Jermaine Samuels (23) defends during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

A great ACC matchup between two great programs. Both Virginia and Syracuse are off to 7-5 starts to the season, but are looking for much more success in the 2nd half of the season. This game is big for conference play and for getting the season back on a winning track for both teams.

Syracuse basketball is just the best. Struggling during the regular season every year, just to sneak into the tournament to make a huge run to shock the world. Syracuse has struggled defensively this year, which is surprising given Boeheim’s smothering zone defense. They allow 75.8 points per game this season, which is pretty awful. Their offense however bails them out of most games. Syracuse averages 79 points per game on offense, led by senior guard Buddy Boheim. Buddy Boeheim AKA the next Duncan Robinson, averages 18.8 points per game this year and is a great three point scorer with limitless range. Buddy’s brother Jimmy Boheim is also a huge reason for the Ogranges success on offense. Jimmy averages 14.4 on 49% from the field and 41.2% from three. The Boheim brothers offensive success continues to lead Syracuse as they try to grind out wins for the rest of the year.

Virginia in unfamiliar territory this year. Lately Virginia has been one of the top teams in the nation for the past decade, but not this season. Virginia at 7-5 has looked very inconsistent all season. The Cavaliers offense is a major concern where most of their inconsistency lies. Virginia only averages 61.8 points per game scored, but is a great defensive team that only allows 56.2 points per game. Their defense has bailed them out so far this season and easily could have a much worse record than 7-5.

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