The defending champion Baylor Bears had another successful season that earned them a top seed in this year’s tournament. While they have dealt with injuries, they should be able to get off to a strong start against Norfolk State.
The Spartans qualified for the tournament for the second consecutive year. They were able to win the MEAC Conference by several games, led by MEAC Player of the Year Joe Bryant Jr., who is a good playmaker and scorer.
It’s extremely rare for a 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed, but you just never know in March Madness. It will be interesting to see if Norfolk State can put a scare into the defending champions, a team that just had a disappointing exit in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
Baylor vs Norfolk State Odds
Baylor vs Norfolk State odds are provided by BetRivers and current as of 12 p.m. ET on Monday, March 14.
- Moneyline: Baylor (-5000) @ Norfolk State (+1500)
- Spread: Baylor -21 (-110) @ Norfolk State +21 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 137.5 (-108) / Under 137.5 (-113)
- Implied Score: Baylor 79, Norfolk State 58
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Baylor vs Norfolk State Prediction
Baylor remains one of the top teams in the nation, finishing fifth in Pomeroy’s rankings thanks to a ninth-ranked offense and 14th-ranked defense. This is a team that has shown resilience in dealing with injuries to marquee players, including LJ Cryer and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua.
Norfolk State is the second-highest ranked 16-seed in Pomeroy’s rankings at 168. They finished 190th in offensive efficiency and 160th in defensive efficiency. This is a well-coached team, led by Rob Jones, who will need his team to shoot the lights out and play solid defense against Baylor.
As 21-point underdogs, Norfolk State would need an epic collapse from Baylor in order to pull off this daunting task. The question becomes whether or not the Spartans can keep this game close enough to cover the large point spread.
Baylor vs Norfolk State Score Pick
Baylor 81, Norfolk State 55
Despite dealing with injuries, Baylor should cruise to victory in this matchup. This is a balanced team that will cause fits to some of the top teams in the tournament, let alone a 16-seed like Norfolk State.
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The Bears have a good offense that can score at each level, and their defense will bother Norfolk State throughout. We also need to remember that 16 seeds are 1-143 against 1 seeds in NCAA Tournament history.
Baylor vs Norfolk State Best Bets
Baylor -21 (-110) at BetRivers Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
While 21 points is a high bar to clear, the only way we lose this bet is through a backdoor cover by Norfolk State. The Spartans are simply outmatched in this game against last year’s tournament winner.
Baylor is a battle-tested top seed with balance at both ends of the floor, while Norfolk State is essentially just happy to be here.
Under 137.5 Total Points (-113) at BetRivers Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
This game projects as a blowout for Baylor, which has a strong correlation with the Under. It’s going to be difficult for the 190th-ranked offense in Norfolk State to keep up with the Bears.
You also have to consider that if Baylor has a large lead at halftime, they’ll likely slow down the game in the second half, which also bodes well for the Under.