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Norfolk State vs. Baylor NCAA Men’s Tournament Betting Picks, Tips and Odds

Norfolk State vs. Baylor NCAA Men's Tournament Betting Picks, Tips and Odds

The best sportsbooks for US players favor Baylor over Norfolk State. The Spartans and the Bears clash on Thursday in the college basketball NCAA Tournament First Round at the Dickies Arena. The Norfolk State Spartans aim to build on their six-game winning streak. The Baylor Bears hope for a win after winning seven of their last nine games.

Norfolk State vs. Baylor Odds

Norfolk+12 ( -110 )64½ ( -110 )+700
Baylor-12 ( -110 )64½ ( -110 )-1100
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Betting Baylor Bears

The Bears are the favorites at the best online sportsbooks. There was many turnovers from last year’s championship team, but head coach Scott Drew has done a great job of bringing the newcomers up to speed and having another successful season.

The Bears are vigilant on the boards. They can spread any defense thin with their offensive arsenal. James Akinjo, Adam Flagler, and Matthew Mayer lead the 9th-ranked offense in the country. They shoot 67.8% near the rim.

Baylor transitions well. They force a high percentage of turnovers. The question marks with this team are mostly regarding injuries. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is out for the season. It looks like LJ Cryer is unlikely to come back unless Baylor makes a deep run.

Baylor struggled in the first Big 12 Tournament game. The Bears lost to Oklahoma 72-67. The absence of Cryer limits Baylor’s offense. He was a rebounding machine, which this team really needs. The rest of the team will have to pick up the lost minutes. With a quick turnaround, fatigue may appear, especially in a second-round game.

The ceiling remains high for Drew & Co. This team retains the elements needed to cut down the nets in April. It’s just unclear whether this squad has fully adjusted to the losses of two stars. It wouldn’t be a surprise to the Bears exiting early.

Betting Norfolk State Spartans

The Spartans are dogs per the best sportsbooks for US players. Norfolk State led the MEAC essentially from the get-go. They ran the conference tournament with three easy wins. Their perimeter defense is 11th in the country. Their ability to reach the foul line is nearly unmatched. They rank ninth in the country in free throw rate.

Joe Bryant and Kris Bankston were two of the top players in the MEAC. Bankston, a 6’8” senior center, shot at a 70% rate from down low. That is the 14th best among DI players. Jalen Hawkins has an effective dribble drive. His coupling with Bryant makes for a solid backcourt.

The Spartans are one of the teams with more experience in the tournament. Their three-point defense is strong, but it is due for some regression, since that is where opposing teams like to shoot against them. The Spartans shouldn’t make too many waves against whoever they play, especially because they had one of the easiest schedules of any tournament school.

Norfolk State Spartans vs. Baylor Bears Pick

These teams appear to be on par with one another in points per game and points allowed per game, but their levels of competition were completely different. The Baylor Bears ranked 23rd in strength of schedule. Norfolk State ranked 357th; that is, second worst in all of Division I.

However, they won the games they had to win and earned their way into the tourney. The Bears are certainly angry about how they played in the Big 12 tournament against Oklahoma. Expect Baylor’s offense to right the ship and beat up on a Norfolk State team that fell apart against any real competitors this season. Take the Baylor first-half spread, but if L.J. Cryer and Adam Flagler return to form, expect the Bears to take out their frustrations on the Spartans.