Kansas vs Kentucky Odds, Pick | NCAAB Betting Guide

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Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: KJ Adams (Kansas)

Kansas vs Kentucky Odds, Pick

Tuesday, Nov. 14
9:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Kansas Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-6.5
-115
147.5
-110o / -110u
-300
Kentucky Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+6.5
-105
147.5
-110o / -110u
+250
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

The nightcap of the Champions Classic features two opponents who have managed to remain undefeated through an admittedly soft beginning to their respective schedules.

After being forced to vacate some of its wins from the 2018 season, Kansas has now fallen behind Kentucky again in the chase to be the sport's all-time leader in victories.

Bill Self and the Jayhawks will attempt to narrow Kentucky's margin at the United Center Tuesday night, so here's Kansas vs Kentucky odds and a pick.


Kansas Jayhawks

Despite a couple of unsettling efforts in preseason scrimmages against Illinois and Fort Hays, the Jayhawks proved they were ready to go once the games counted.

It's possible the first two results for Kansas may be a little smoke and mirrors relative to what its current state truly is. Regardless, the shooting prowess of Kansas has far exceeded the expectations many had for it entering the season.

The Jayhawks don't need to shoot it as well as last year's Charleston Cougars to have success. Simply being a respectable team from deep will force opponents not to sag off the guards and clog driving lanes. And open driving lanes will allow the Jayhawks' best creators to penetrate and either score or throw the easy lobs Self's teams have become known for.

There are still plenty of unknowns about this year's version of Kansas. Self will rely heavily upon his four most experienced players: KJ Adams Jr., Dajuan Harris Jr., Kevin McCullar Jr. and Hunter Dickinson.

Those four veterans will certainly be expected to play plenty of minutes and should create a very high floor for Kansas defensively. However, if any of the four were to suffer an injury or get themselves into early foul trouble, the depth of the Jayhawks could be a concern.

Freshmen Elmarko Jackson and Johnny Furphy have emerged as early candidates to be key contributors on Self's team this year. Self has predominantly been hesitant to give freshmen significant minutes in the past, but he'll have little to no choice in doing so this year.

Furphy has been surprisingly impressive early, even drawing a rare compliment from the Jayhawks' head coach. Self compared Furphy's profile and athleticism to that of Svi Mykhailiuk. It's worth noting that Svi wasn't relied upon to play significant minutes until his third year at Kansas. Furphy will presumably not have the luxury of time and patience as Mykhailiuk did.

Self's teams always play better in February than they do in November. Still, the experience of Kansas' core should allow this year's version to begin with a higher floor than past versions of the Jayhawks.


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Kentucky Wildcats

Under the leadership of John Calipari, even casual college basketball fans have come to expect a certain standard of excellence. Calipari dominated the one-and-done era that emerged in the 2010s.

He consistently landed the top recruits in the country. Heck, he even boasted a roster that included Devin Booker playing the role of seventh-man in 2014. That version of Kentucky also played Kansas in the Champions Classic — and won by an eye-popping 32 points in a 72-40 final tally.

During Calipari's first decade as Kentucky's head coach, the Wildcats only finished the season outside the KenPom top-25 once. In contrast, Kentucky has failed to finish the season in the top 25 of KenPom in three of the past four seasons.

Wildcat fans are certainly growing restless with the perceived decline of the program, leaving many who follow the sport wondering how much longer the relationship between Kentucky and Calipari may continue.

So, what's changed? My opinion, in short, is that Kentucky's talent throughout the 2010s was simply too much for its competition. The laundry list of generational players that have played at least one season in Lexington is too long to detail.

No one can say Calipari fails — or has failed — in the recruiting aspect of college basketball. Yet, not many seem to grandstand upon his abilities as a tactician.

Calipari and his peers in the SEC were asked to name the best in-game coach in the conference this past offseason. Shockingly, Jerry Stackhouse of Vanderbilt was voted most impressive as a tactician, with Calipari finishing well down the list.

Calipari's 2023-2024 team once again features an impressive list of freshmen, arguably the best incoming class of freshmen in the country. The average age of the Wildcats' roster falls just above 19 years old. Kentucky's lack of experience presents quite a contrast to the four aforementioned veterans that will take the court for Kansas Tuesday night.

Kentucky's most recent 20-point victory over Texas A&M-Commerce is a bit misleading for those who may have simply glanced over the box score. The Wildcats looked extremely unsettled throughout the first half, allowing Commerce to hang tight throughout the entire first 20 minutes.

Calipari's demeanor seemed to indicate his team is still doing quite a bit of searching as it relates to finding the right lineups and rotations to maximize its potential success this year.

The stage and national audience will only magnify any insecurities Kentucky may have as it searches for its identity early in the year.

Kentucky sports betting is live for the Wildcats' 2023-24 season! See how you can sign up and bet on UK all season long, starting with their matchup against Kansas.

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Kansas vs. Kentucky

Betting Pick & Prediction

Harris has mentioned in the past that no moment will be too big for him as a leader of Kansas, given that he's played in and won a National Championship already. I expect that message to trickle down throughout the core of the Jayhawks' roster, allowing the team to settle in sooner than Kentucky in this early-season test.

I also trust Self quite a bit more than Calipari as it pertains to making adjustments throughout the game. Self excels in identifying ways to allow his best players to find easy paths to scoring, especially following dead-ball situations.

Expect the Jayhawks' defensive intensity and on-ball pressure to bother a young Kentucky team. Should Kentucky turn the ball over frequently, Kansas will thrive in transition using Harris and McCullar as poised ball-handlers and passers on fast breaks.

I would lay the points with the Jayhawks, and I wouldn't be shocked at all if Kansas emerged victorious by a margin of 10-15.

Pick: Kansas -5.5 (Play to 6.5)


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