Kansas vs West Virginia Odds, Predictions: Team Total Bet to Make
Pictured: West Virginia Mountaineers guard Kedrian Johnson. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas vs West Virginia Odds
-106o / -114u
|West Virginia Odds|
-106o / -114u
West Virginia is thankful to be returning home after two close losses on the road in Manhattan and Stillwater. On the other hand, Kansas is thankful to have started 2-0 in Big 12 play, winning its first two conference games by a combined five points.
Will the Mountaineer faithful provide the energy West Virginia needs to get its first conference win? Let's look at the odds and make a betting prediction.
Prognosticators believed Kansas would likely be "down" relative to its championship form of a year ago. After losing four massive contributors, it seemed unlikely the Jayhawks would be able to replace that production. However, the replacement for the lost production has developed from a carryover piece from last year's championship team.
Jalen Wilson, Ochai Agbaji's teammate of three years, followed Agbaji's example this past offseason. Like Agbaji in 2021, and many others after, Wilson entered the NBA draft process without hiring an agent, maintaining his NCAA eligibility. The process allowed Wilson to identify his weaknesses and develop those traits.
After averaging just north of 11 points per game in Kansas' title year, Wilson is now averaging almost 21 points. He has also improved his perimeter game, increasing his 26% three-point percentage from last year to 33.7% this season.
Wilson reportedly told Bill Self this would be HIS team in 2022-2023. His leadership and development are physical evidence of that confidence.
Kevin McCullar, a transfer who wore a Red Raiders jersey just last year, struggled a bit in the hostile environment at Texas Tech on Tuesday night. However, he did make a key shot, followed by a defensive stop in the last 90 seconds to help propel Kansas to a victory. His teammate Dajuan Harris is 7-for-7 from three-point range in the past two games. His uncharacteristic offensive prowess has helped boost the Jayhawks to the second-best three point percentage in the Big 12. Now, on the road again versus a long and athletic West Virginia roster that loves to pressure, I have a hard time believing that shooting success will be sustained.
Kansas is likely due for some shooting regression, especially from behind the arc. If the preceding statement is correct, a Bob Huggins-led team, paired with a rowdy Morgantown crowd could be a perfect recipe for a rough night for Kansas.
A Mountaineers win will likely stem from a strong interior effort. Tre Mitchell has been a key piece in changing the soft identity Huggins was more than critical of in speaking of last year's disappointing team. Mitchell and his West Virginia teammates will have the size advantage against Kansas. Many think Kansas is due to be on the wrong end of referee favoritism. Physicality can often be encouraged … or at least ignored in WVU Coliseum. For all of the above reasons, I think Kansas may have a hard time scoring against the Mountaineers.
Now, you may ask why I'm not simply taking WVU to win outright. My answer would be that my tendency to lean toward a Mountaineers victory is offset by Kansas boasting the game's best player in Wilson. Further, Kansas may have the best strategic coach in the country in Bill Self.
Self gives his teams a sense of calm in raucous environments by relying on what's familiar. Finally, the Jayhawks almost never have a lackadaisical defensive effort. West Virginia may very well come out on top in a home run spot as the Mountaineers are looking to avoid an 0-3 Big 12 start at home, but Kansas is Kansas.
I am more confident in the Jayhawks having a difficult time eclipsing 70 points.
Kansas vs. West Virginia Betting Pick
West Virginia may not guard quite as well as it did when Javon Carter, Derek Culver and Sagaba Konate led the Mountaineers, but its athleticism should be enough to disrupt the Jayhawks.
The desperation stemming from the 0-2 Big 12 start should spark an energetic and active defensive effort from Huggins' roster. I love the way Huggins' teams always rebound. Despite their 0-2 Big 12 start, the Mountaineers are +10 in rebounding margin in those two games.
Limiting putbacks from KJ Adams, Wilson and other Jayhawks looking to crash the offensive glass will be a focus of the Mountaineers, and that's another reason I love this Kansas team total under.