NCAAB

NCAA Tournament Betting: Will Baylor Cover the Spread Against Colgate?

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD

Very few things on the sports calendar can match the excitement and unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament. So why not add betting to the mix via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance has arrived, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

Colgate vs. Baylor Betting Odds

Date and Time: Friday, March 22nd at 12:40 p.m. ET

Spread: Baylor -13.5 (-120)

Total: 139.5

Moneyline:

  • Colgate: +760
  • Baylor: -1300

Colgate vs. Baylor Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

Colgate

  • numberFire Ranking: 148th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 159th
  • KenPom Ranking: 144th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 104th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 211th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 253rd

Baylor

  • numberFire Ranking: 14th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 17th
  • KenPom Ranking: 14th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 6th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 64th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 281st

Colgate vs. Baylor Best Bet

Baylor -13.5 (-120)

Colgate has become a perennial NCAA Tournament participant, receiving bids to each of the last four dances. With Baylor bowing out in the second round the past two years, the Raiders may be a trendy upset pick.

I'm not buying it -- instead expecting Baylor to cover without much trouble.

For as often as Colgate has made the tournament of late, they haven't had much success. The Raiders lost by 20 points as a 15 seed last year, by 7 points as a 14 seed in 2022, and by 17 points as a 14 seed in 2021. And while that 2022 team kept things close, Colgate's 144 ranking for 2023-24 on KenPom is easily their lowest in recent history.

Colgate is 106th in adjusted defense, 31st in effective field goal D, and 11th in three-point field goal percentage allowed. But how much stock should we put in their 340th-ranked strength of schedule?

Furthermore, the Raiders actually give up a high rate (32.1%) of threes -- a better indicator of three-point defense -- and hardly force turnovers.

They faced just four teams inside KenPom's top 100 this season, dropping all four by an average of 16.5 points. That includes a 17-point loss to Illinois and a 27-point drubbing by Arizona.

Further hurting Colgate's cause is Baylor's defensive tendencies. Per Synergy Sports, the Bears play zone at the 38th-highest rate (17.2%) in the country. Colgate hasn't faced much zone this season, but they're just 252nd in points per possession against zone (0.898 compared to 0.931 against man).

Even against man, the Raiders may not have much success against Baylor. The Bears are "just" 63rd in adjusted defense, but they've locked down inferior competition. In 10 games against teams outside the top 100 in adjusted offense, Baylor has allowed just 64.1 points per game.

And defense is actually Baylor's weaker area this season. The Bears are sixth in adjusted offense, 16th in effective field goal percentage, and 24th in offensive rebound rate. They've put together the sixth-best three-point field goal percentage in the country despite playing the third most-difficult schedule.

That isn't to say Baylor didn't have a few cupcakes on their schedule -- they faced 10 teams outside KenPom's top 100. They did, however, dominate those games, going 10-0 with a +28 average scoring margin.

Simply put, Baylor is in a different stratosphere than Colgate. If you're looking for an early upset, I'd look elsewhere. Expect Baylor to roll on Friday and cover 13.5 in the process.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.