West Virginia vs. Kansas College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Back Jayhawks as Short Road Dogs
William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kansas Jayhawks players.
- The West Virginia Mountaineers host the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday in a matchup of top Big 12 teams.
- Kansas won big in Lawrence in the first meeting between the teams this season.
- In a tightly contested game, the Jayhawks have some value as underdogs.
West Virginia vs. Kansas Odds
Kansas heads to Morgantown on Saturday afternoon looking for a sweep over West Virginia.
Kansas destroyed the Mountaineers, 79-65, in Lawrence back in December, but since then, the Jayhawks have been struggling.
They have lost four of their last six games and their two wins came against TCU and Kansas State. Their offense is definitely not where it was when these two met almost six weeks ago, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Jayhawks handle West Virginia on the road.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for Bob Huggins’ men, who currently sit with a 5-3 record in Big 12 play. The Mountaineers have only one win over a KenPom top-30 team and all six of their losses have come against teams inside the top 30.
Kansas falls directly into that category, so can West Virginia get over the hump against one of the better teams in the Big 12?
When Kansas has the ball
The Jayhawks have been struggling on the offensive end of the floor this season.
During Big 12 play, they are averaging only 1.04 points per possession, which is far worse than the 1.34 points per possession they put up against West Virginia in December.
The main issue is they’re struggling from behind the arc. Kansas is hitting only 33.7% of their 3-point attempts, which is a problem since almost 40% of its field-goal attempts come from downtown.
Ever since West Virginia switched to more small ball, it’s been defending the 3-point shot much better, so if Kansas is going to win, it’ll have to do most of its scoring in the paint.
Kansas may want to focus on getting the ball inside on Saturday because they are scoring at a 59.5% rate on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math.
Plus, West Virginia has really struggled to defend the paint and keep opponents off the offensive glass.
The Mountaineers allow better than 53% shooting on shots inside the arc and the second-worst offensive rebounding rate in the Big 12.
So, if Kansas can control the paint and not settle for a lot of outside shots, it has a great opportunity to win in Morgantown.
When West Virginia has the ball
West Virginia has completely switched its style of play this season and is now a run-and-gun 3-point shooting team. Gone are the days of throwing the ball down low and trying to score as close to the basket as possible.
The Mountaineers are shooting a blazing 41.7% from deep in conference play, with more than 35% of their shot attempts coming from downtown. Kansas does struggle defending from deep, allowing 36.8% from 3-point range, so look for West Virginia to attempt a ton of 3s on Saturday.
The biggest problem that is plaguing West Virginia right now is when it steps inside the arc.
The Mountaineers are shooting only 43.4% from 2-point range, which is the worst in the Big 12. That’s going to be a major problem on Saturday because Kansas is the best team in the Big 12 at defending inside the paint.
The Mountaineers are still crashing the boards at one of the highest rates in the country. However, the Jayhawks are one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the conference, so West Virginia won’t be able to rely on a lot of second-chance points.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Kansas has the clear advantage inside in this matchup. The only question is whether or not it will take advantage of it or settle for a lot of 3-pointers.
Kansas attempted 37 treys in the first meeting but did grab 19 offensive rebounds. So, if the Jayhawks stick to their strengths on offense, they should find a way to pull out a win on the road.
I have West Virginia projected as only a -0.42 favorite, so I think there’s a little bit of value on the Jayhawks at +1.5.
Pick: Kansas +1.5 or better