Oklahoma State vs Kansas Betting Odds, Picks: Blowout Expected

Oklahoma State vs Kansas Betting Odds, Picks: Blowout Expected article feature image

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Wilson (Kansas)

Oklahoma State vs Kansas Odds

Saturday, Dec. 31
2 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State Odds
-110o / -110u
Kansas Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

One of the last leagues to start conference play, the Big 12 finally kicks off on New Year’s Eve. Arguably the best conference in basketball, all 10 teams have realistic at-large hopes as league play begins.

Some things never change, though: mighty Kansas is the favorite. The Jayhawks open league play at the intimidating Phog Allen Fieldhouse against Oklahoma State.

This matchup has some noteworthy history. In the 2017-18 season, Mike Boynton and Oklahoma State became the first team to sweep Bill Self and Kansas in conference play. That clearly caught Self’s attention: since that meeting, Kansas is 8-1 straight up and 7-2 against the spread.

Past matchups are not always predictive, but Kansas has unquestionably owned the Cowboys recently.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

For the Cowboys to reverse the recent pattern, they will need a tremendous defensive effort. That’s the strength of this squad, as Boynton’s teams have become synonymous with stout defense.

This year’s version sits at 17th in KenPom’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency; the Cowboys were fourth and 17th the past two seasons.

The centerpiece is Moussa Cisse, a 7-foot-1 wrecking ball who completely dominates the rim. He's an elite finisher and shot-blocker, and he's one of the best two-way rebounders in the country, as well.

His presence allows Oklahoma State to extend on the perimeter and harass shooters without fear of giving up drives inside.

The offense has plenty of questions marks, unfortunately. The Cowboys lack perimeter shooting, which allows defenses to sag into driving and passing lanes. That leads to turnovers and tough shots, draining the Cowboys’ overall efficiency.

Additionally, arguably their best perimeter shooter — Caleb Asberry — has missed the last two games. Considering Oklahoma State has been off for 11 days, he should return from the illness that sidelined him, but it’s worth monitoring.

Oklahoma State is better than its pedestrian 8-4 record indicates. In three of those losses, the Cowboys were tied or winning with two minutes remaining.

Unsurprisingly, they are 332nd in KenPom’s luck statistic.

Close games have been unkind thus far, but will they keep this one close enough to see a couple bounces go their way?

Kansas Jayhawks

After losing four starters and super-sub Remy Martin from the national championship team, Kansas entered the year with question marks. Starting the season 1-6 against the spread spoke to some of the underlying turbulence the Jayhawks were going through.

That sure is a figment of the past, hey?

After returning from the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Jayhawks ripped off four straight no-doubt covers, silencing all questions. Sure, the pre-Christmas effort against Harvard was somewhat sleepy, but that is forgivable. The fact of the matter remains: Kansas is rolling, looking fully capable of defending its national title.

A versatile lineup featuring multiple matchup nightmares has made Kansas an extremely tough cover. Jalen Wilson is a clear All-American right now, and Kevin McCullar Jr. and Gradey Dick add two more 6-foot-7ish bucket-getters to complement him.

That versatility also shows up on defense, where Kansas can switch almost everything. In fact, the Jayhawks can comfortably switch 1 through 5 when KJ Adams Jr. is manning the center spot. Adams is a Draymond Green type — not a scorer, but does everything else well.

Of course, devious point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. must be mentioned. Harris is quiet vocally, but his play clearly sets a tone for the Jayhawks. He’s an excellent on-ball defender and his passing vision is among the best in the country.

Wilson may be the featured star, but Harris is the unheralded pilot of the Jayhawks’ aircraft.

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Oklahoma State vs. Kansas Betting Pick

This one has a lot to consider from a matchup perspective. It’s tough to beat Oklahoma State’s defense if you can’t hit jump shots, and that is Kansas’ Achilles heel right now (aside from Dick).

Forcing drives into Cisse’s waiting arms is a recipe for frustration.

Of course, Oklahoma State will struggle to score against an elite Jayhawks defense, as well. Efficiency could be tough to come by in this one. The great equalizer for the total is pace, though, and both teams love to run.

Rather than the total, I’ll back Kansas in front of what should be a strong crowd for the Big 12 home opener. I still think Kansas’ value in the market is somewhat depressed because of its initial struggles against the number.

The current version has a clear-cut identity.

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Nick Sterling
May 17, 2024 UTC