College Basketball Odds: Negative Regression Coming For Undefeated Baylor & Ole Miss?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
College Basketball Odds

Since we’re only five weeks into the college basketball campaign, it’s difficult to project which upstart teams will sustain their efficiency over the long haul. Yet, some notable metrics can assist in handicapping NCAA basketball odds, especially if their market ratings see an unreasonable surge. Let’s break down the two biggest negative regression contestants among Saturday’s college basketball odds.

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College basketball odds: national title futures

Baylor Bears:

During Scott Drew’s tenure in Waco, Baylor has typically been one of the nation’s most proficient offensive teams. This year’s version is no different, ranking No. 2 in adjusted offensive efficiency (AdjO) while manufacturing the top-rated 3-point clip (46.1%). The insertion of five-star freshman Ja’Kobe Walters and two-time transfer RayJ Dennis has helped form an elite backcourt.

Nevertheless, their first-class shooting prowess should eventually undergo some negative variance. In particular, the Bears have produced 1.20 points per shot (PPS) on contested catch-and-shoot looks. They’ve also accumulated a ridiculous 1.55 PPS on unguarded ones. Both place in the 95th percentile or higher (via Synergy).

Conversely, their perimeter defense hasn’t faced any adversity, surrendering the 15th-lowest clip (27.2%) in Division I.

No. 6 Baylor vs. Michigan State; Saturday 2 p.m. ET on FOX
Little Caesars Arena (Detroit, MI)

Tom Izzo’s crew entered the season as one of the favorites to cut down the nets in April. As of this publishing, the Spartans are in that particular market. Although the loss of Joey Hauser was projected to impact their floor spacing, they’ve undergone a horrifying dose of negative shooting luck. They rank in the 22nd percentile of spot-up points per possession (PPP). That’s translated into a bottom-65 3-point clip (29.5%) nationally.

However, their upper-echelon defense should lead to a bevy of fast-break opportunities for Tyson Walker & Co. Thus far, Baylor’s biggest defensive flaw resides with transition defense. Expect MSU to experience positive regression from behind the arc if this notion comes to fruition. The game tips off in Detroit, providing Sparty a home-court edge.

With these variables in mind, my raw numbers make the undefeated Bears roughly 3.5 points better on a neutral. Their college basketball odds versus the Spartans are below. If the 3-point shooting doesn’t regress in this one, Duke awaits on Wednesday.

Ole Miss Rebels:

When the Rebels hired Chris Beard as their head coach in March, there was certainly pushback for his off-the-court concerns. In February, a Texas county DA dropped felony domestic violence charges, in part because the alleged victim did not wish to prosecute. Nobody is talking about that now in Oxford, with Ole Miss off to a 9-0 start. Yet, five of those wins have come by just one possession, meaning three points or fewer.

Even with two-time transfer Brandon Murray now eligible, with a federal judge issuing a 14-day temporary restraining order against the NCAA on Wednesday, their red-hot start isn’t sustainable. Like Baylor, the Rebels’ defense has also received positive fortune, allowing 1.02 PPS on unguarded catch-and-shoot attempts — good for the 61st percentile.

That may not seem as egregious as the Bears, yet 99% of their opponents’ jumpers (!) are of that variety. They’ve yielded the 13th-lowest perimeter clip (26.8%) in the process.

Ole Miss vs. California; 7:30 p.m. Saturday on SEC Network
Hall of Fame Series – Frost Bank Center (San Antonio, TX)

The Golden Bears have a trio of three-point losses and two overtime defeats to their name. Essentially, they can’t catch a break. Granted, four of their five starters are transfers, including two gets from Texas Tech in Fardaws Aimaq and Jaylon Tyson. Coming up short in close games, without much continuity shouldn’t be that surprising. Not all fresh-faced rosters discover cohesion in the long run, either.

That said, Mike Madsen’s crew has the tools to provide Ole Miss with a reality check. Cal is amassing the 86th-highest perimeter scoring rate, and former Virginia Tech guard Jalen Cone can catch fire quickly. If it evades numerous turnovers against Beard’s pressure defense, there’s a recipe for an upset.

My raw numbers have Ole Miss around four points better on a neutral.

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