College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Iowa State vs. Kansas (Tuesday, Jan. 11)

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Iowa State vs. Kansas (Tuesday, Jan. 11) article feature image
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Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)

  • We have a classic Big 12 battle tonight, as the Iowa State Cyclones face the Kansas Jayhawks in college hoops action.
  • Bill Self has been one of the best coaches in college basketball for years, but even he is saying that Iowa State's TJ Otzelberger should be receiving National Coach of the Year talk.
  • Check out how Shane McNichol is betting this big coaching battle below.

Iowa State vs. Kansas Odds

Tuesday, Jan. 11
8 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Iowa State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+12
-110
142
-110o / -110u
N/A
Kansas Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-12
-110
142
-110o / -110u
N/A
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Tuesday night marks a massive moment for the Big 12 men’s basketball season. Two of the conference’s dark horse contenders get their crack at the league’s primary powers on the road in brutal environments.

In Waco, Texas Tech will challenge top-ranked in-state rival Baylor, with eyes on a critical road win. Up the road in Lawrence, Kansas, the surprising up-start Iowa State Cyclones have a chance to knock off the Kansas Jayhawks. Either of these underdogs could upend the Big 12 standings with a win, especially Iowa State.

The Big 12 title has essentially lived in Lawrence for over a decade. Last year, Baylor became the first program to win an outright Big 12 regular season championship, other than Kansas, since 2004. And even the Bears lost in Lawrence.

Can Iowa State make waves with a win?


Iowa State Cyclones

If the Cyclones have their eyes on an upset, they are not coming off the best performance to keep momentum rolling. Iowa State held a double-digit lead with 14 minutes to play against Oklahoma on the road in Norman. The Cyclones then outright collapsed, losing the final minutes by a 36-13 margin.

That performance made waves, with many questioning Iowa State’s hot start. The Cyclones began the season 12-0, but did so against the 339th-ranked schedule by KenPom’s metrics.

That obscures what Iowa State accomplished in the early going. While the Cyclones coasted to wins over seven very bad teams, they also beat quality opponents like Memphis, Xavier, Creighton and Iowa, with just one of those wins coming in the cozy confines of Hilton Coliseum.

The Cyclones’ success has been surprising due to the nature of new head coach T.J. Otzelberger’s roster building.

His top six players — in terms of percentage of minutes played — are all new to Iowa State — five transfers and freshman Tyrese Hunter. The quickly-gelled Cyclones have been up-and-down offensively, prone to long scoring droughts and bouts of turnovers.

Defense is where the Clones are winning, with the sixth-ranked defensive efficiency in the country. Turnovers are a major factor, with just six teams forcing giveaways at a higher rate than Iowa State.

Bettors, however, should have their doubts about the Cyclones’ defense. Opponents shooting just 26% from outside the arc won’t continue into the hells of Big 12 play.

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Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas similarly enters off of a disappointing performance, having lost on Saturday at Texas Tech. Tech’s defense smothered the Jayhawks into 17 turnovers, which is incredibly out of character for a veteran-laden Kansas team.

The Jayhawks’ fifth-ranked offense has been primarily fueled by senior Ochai Agbaji. In his fourth-year on campus, Agabji is making the leap many expected of him a year or two ago. His ability to slash into the paint as a scorer or creator paired with his 47% 3-point shooting has made him one of the most potent perimeter scorers in the nation.

The biggest variable for the Jayhawks right now is the health of guard Remy Martin. The grad transfer missed Kansas’ game against George Mason with a knee injury. He returned against Oklahoma State, playing 25 minutes and scoring seven points (though he tossed away four turnovers).

Against Texas Tech, Martin did not start, only played 12 minutes and managed just two points. That’s cause for concern.

Last year, Kansas’ biggest flaw was the lack of a primary creator in the backcourt. Bill Self looked to solve that issue by bringing in Martin from Arizona State.

With him hampered or sidelined, the Kansas offense misses a beat.


Iowa State vs. Kansas Betting Pick

Kansas is the better team and should play angry after a road loss to Texas Tech. With Iowa State limping in after its loss to Oklahoma, the Jayhawks are absolutely worthy of the double-digit spread that sportsbooks have assigned to this game.

In a conference game of this magnitude — especially with Martin’s status uncertain — that is a lot of points to lay.

Instead, I like a play with the total instead. Iowa State’s path to winning this game will come, not necessarily from pace, but from attempting to force the issue defensively. Otzelberger needs his team to create turnovers and uncertainty for the Kansas creators.

Even with Martin playing at less than 100 percent, that is a difficult ask.

Trying to throw a wrench in Kansas’ offensive scheme is hard anywhere, let alone at Allen Fieldhouse. That should open plenty of scoring chances and leave Iowa State hurrying to catch up.

The over has already risen to 142 after opening at 141.5. I’d grab it there, or even a little higher, with an extra look at the Kansas team total.

Pick: Over 142

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