Kansas vs Missouri Odds, Picks: Atmosphere Critical to This Result
Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images. Pictured: Dennis Gates (Missouri)
- The Border War is back between Missouri and Kansas.
- Will the atmosphere play a role in this clash between the Tigers and the Jayhawks?
- Ky McKeon breaks down where the value lies.
Kansas vs. Missouri Odds
-114o / -106u
-114o / -106u
The Border War has officially returned to Columbia. The Tigers host the Jayhawks for the first time since 2012. In that game, a plucky Mizzou squad rallied behind Marcus Denmon and battled back from an eight-point deficit with just over two minutes to go to upset Kansas.
Little did fans of the rivalry know at the time, that this would be the final battle for a decade.
When Mizzou opted to join the SEC back in 2012, the rivalry game came to a screeching halt. Was it mostly because Kansas was petty and decided not to “reward” the Tigers with a game? I’m not saying yes, but mostly, yes.
Water under the bridge, let’s move on.
Kansas enters this game confident, ready to face a foe it owned from start to finish last season.
The Jayhawks are far more battle tested than the Tigers, having played five power=conference foes to Mizzou’s zero. In those five games, Kansas is 4-1.
The Jayhawks are led by National Player of the Year candidate Jalen Wilson.
Wilson has ascended into a bona fide star for KU this year. He’s been wildly efficient in a high-usage role and is pouring in 21.9 points per night to go along with 9.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Priority number one for the Tigers will be slowing down KU’s number one option.
While Mizzou hasn’t fared well as a team defensively, it does have some top notch individual defenders.
D’Moi Hodge was the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year last season and Tre Gomillion was a Horizon All-Defense honoree. But it’s senior forward Kobe Brown who will likely be asked to stop Wilson.
Brown is an intriguing match for Wilson — he’s 6-foot-8, versatile, strong and current Houston Rocket Jabari Smith called Brown the toughest defender he faced in the SEC.
Now, even if Mizzou stops Wilson there’s plenty more weapons on this KU squad to worry about.
Freshman Gradey Dick is a lights-out shooter who just inked an Adidas deal. Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar Jr. has been vital on both ends. Point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. is extremely poised with the ball in his hands.
Can Kansas handle the Mizzou pressure? While the Jayhawks have generally been solid with the ball this season, they have been prone to lapses. Against Tennessee, 16 turnovers spelled doom for the Jayhawks.
Given this is Kansas’ first true road game of the season, it will be by far the most hostile, loud environment the Jayhawks have seen all season.
KU will have a size advantage. Big men Ernest Udeh Jr., Zach Clemence and Zuby Ejiofor are all bigger than Mizzou’s potential 5s. Also, 6-foot-7 KJ Adams Jr. is a force on the offensive glass.
It will be an interesting chess match to see how head coach Bill Self matches Mizzou’s mostly small-ball lineup. Will he try to run with the versatile Tigers, or will he try to dominate the paint?
If Kansas opts to run, it will have the horses to do it. The Jayhawks have been solid preventing and defending transition opportunities this season, and they have been very efficient scoring on the run.
If Mizzou wants an open floor battle, Kansas might just happily oblige — the Jayhawks have been nearly as efficient as the Tigers in transition this year against much stiffer competition.
Mizzou has its work cut out for it tonight. Last season, the eventual National Champion worked the Tigers by a whopping 37 points in Allen Fieldhouse. Never at any point was the game competitive.
The good news for the Tigers: this is a brand new team.
Only four current Tigers played in that game last season, and new head coach Dennis Gates has Mizzou off to its best start since 2013-14. Gates has implemented a high-octane offensive attack, using pace to overwhelm opponents in the early going.
While Mizzou is 9-0 and ranks near the top of the country in just about every offensive efficiency metric, it should be noted the Tigers have played a light schedule. Per KenPom, only two teams have played an easier non-conference slate thus far.
Saturday will be by far Mizzou’s toughest test to date.
For Mizzou to come away victorious tonight, it must be able to score easy buckets in transition. Per Synergy, no team in the country has used a higher rate of possessions in transition than the Tigers.
Mizzou has used live ball turnovers to start its breaks. Per KenPom, the Tigers lead the country in steal rate, and per Hoop-Math, they are fourth nationally in rate of FGA in transition following a steal.
If Mizzou can’t force turnovers, it’s going to be very difficult to beat Kansas. The Tigers have been vulnerable defensively, particularly from outside the arc, where they rank 315th in 3-point attempt rate allowed and 254th in 3-point percentage allowed.
Rebounding has also been an issue, as only about 35 teams have notched a worse defensive rebounding rate.
The Tigers will hope a raucous crowd can help rattle the Jayhawks and cause some havoc.
Kansas vs. Missouri Betting Pick
In rivalry games, handicapping often goes out the window. This game is going to be fueled by 100% raw emotion.
For Mizzou, it’s the biggest game of the season — Mizzou Arena is going to be overflowing with fans who have been waiting for this moment for over a decade.
For Kansas, it’s a chance to prove the Tigers are nothing more than house cats.
I’m riding with Mizzou. The atmosphere is real, and I’m banking on it affecting a Kansas team that hasn’t been in this environment to date.
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