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Kansas vs Arkansas Odds, Predictions, Picks | How to Bet Liberty Bowl

Kansas vs Arkansas Odds, Predictions, Picks | How to Bet Liberty Bowl article feature image
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Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images and Andy Altenburger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured from left: Torry Locklin (12) of Kansas and Eric Gregory (50) of Arkansas.

Kansas vs Arkansas Odds

Wednesday, December 28
5:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Kansas Odds
Spread Over/Under Moneyline
+2.5
-109
70
-112o / -109u
+113
Arkansas Odds
Spread Over/Under Moneyline
-2.5
-112
70
-112o / -109u
-136
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Two teams with different preseason expectations are set to clash in the Liberty Bowl on Wednesday.

Kansas opened the second season of the Lance Leipold era with a preseason win total of 2.5 — a number it eclipsed by late September. The Jayhawks possess a complex offense that generated plenty of points until injuries hit midseason.

KU finished the season losing six of its final seven games but heads to Memphis at full health with plenty of motivation to win its first postseason game since the 2008 Orange Bowl.

The Razorbacks come into the Liberty Bowl after an underwhelming season. The Hogs were projected to win a minimum of seven games, failing to do so while losing rivalry games to LSU and Missouri.

The roster and coaching staff are under construction, as head coach Sam Pittman expects more activity in the transfer portal. First, Arkansas will look for a victory over Kansas as the two teams meet for the first time since 1906.


Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas offense proved to be appointment viewing this season, lighting up scoreboards through the first half of the season.

Quarterback Jalon Daniels raced through the month of September, collecting 15 all-purpose touchdowns. The junior trimmed the mistakes this season with just two interceptions.

When healthy, the Kansas offense relies on plenty of pre-snap motion with differing schemes to confuse opposing defenses.

This was just savage from @Kotelnicki. Direct snap to Devin Neal, handoff to Jalon Daniels, fake end-around to backup QB Jason Bean, all while Jared Casey acts like he’s blocking a LB before slipping open. pic.twitter.com/WJJsP8uQOp

— Kevin Flaherty (@KFlaherty247) September 19, 2022

Kansas finished top-20 in Offensive Finishing Drives, averaging 4.5 points for every drive extending past the 40-yard line. The brilliance of Leipold and offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki stood out in the red zone, finishing top-10 nationally in touchdown rate.

The Jayhawks will be without their backup running back in Daniel Hishaw due to injury and wide receiver Lawrence Arnold to the transfer portal.

Injury and inefficiency plagued the Jayhawks on defense down the second half of the season. Kansas fell outside of the top 100 in Defensive Success Rate and Havoc. The Jayhawks also allowed more first downs than almost any team in college football, posting a third-down defense rank of 124th.

The defense elects to play quarters coverage, focusing on limiting explosive plays. Kansas succeeded in defusing explosive passing but fell to 69th in defensive rush expected points.


Arkansas Razorbacks

There are two direct reasons why the Hogs didn’t achieve as much as they did in the 2021 season that culminated with an Outback Bowl victory.

Arkansas came into the season looking for playmakers after the departure of Treylon Burks to the NFL. Some of the most-targeted players will be in the transfer portal for the bowl game, as Jadon Haselwood, Trey Knox and Ketron Jackson will not be available.

The trio accounted for 151 targets, leaving quarterback KJ Jefferson with only Matt Landers and his 44 catches as a proven receiver.

The heart of the Razorback offense will center around the running game of sophomore Raheim Sanders.

I've seen enough Raheim Sanders is officially my 2024 RB1

Last night Rocket became just the third player since 2000 in the SEC to rush for 200 yards and have 5 receptions in a game

Size speed and versatile he has it all 🚀
pic.twitter.com/XP1YnvvMHk

— Joe O’Leary (@TheHQNerd) November 20, 2022

A number of key opt-outs will limit the Hogs on both sides of the ball.

Starting center Ricky Stromberg will be missing from the offensive line, while leading linebackers Bumper Pool and Drew Sanders will also skip the Liberty Bowl. The missing players don’t end at just the linebacker position, however, as starting safety Myles Slusher and defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols are also scheduled to miss the game.

Youth is the name of the game on the defense, as several freshmen with no experience populate the two-deep.

Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom has also moved on to take the head coaching position at UNLV, as new defensive coordinator Travis Williams will take over in 2023.

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Kansas vs Arkansas Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Kansas and Arkansas match up statistically:

Arkansas Offense vs Kansas Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 28 116
Line Yards 33 123
Pass Success 62 107
Pass Blocking** 13 68
Havoc 85 123
Finishing Drives 49 79
** Pass Blocking (Off) vs Pass Rush (Def)

Kansas Offense vs Arkansas Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 61 106
Line Yards 64 106
Pass Success 15 55
Pass Blocking** 70 57
Havoc 47 61
Finishing Drives 19 46
** Pass Blocking (Off) vs Pass Rush (Def)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 101 75
PFF Coverage 117 92
SP+ Special Teams 66 128
Seconds per Play 23.9 (23) 28.4 (104)
Rush Rate 62.8% (9) 56.7% (43)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics

Kansas vs Arkansas Predictions, Picks

The offenses will pack a punch after kickoff in Memphis. Assuming the Jayhawks offense is back to full strength behind Daniels, a half-dozen freshman starters on Arkansas’ defense will struggle with Kansas’ pre-snap motion.

Arkansas finished the season outside the top 100 in tackling and had no problem allowing explosive plays. A healthy Daniels with Leipold’s playbook will likely record an explosive play on every drive. Considering the Jayhawks’ elite red-zone numbers, there will be plenty of scores for Kansas.

Arkansas will have similar advantages on offense.

Kansas was blown away by Texas running back Bijan Robinson for 243 yards and four touchdowns earlier this season, so Sanders will have plenty of room on the ground to create quality drives for the Razorbacks.

The Jayhawks also struggled against dual-threat quarterbacks, evidenced in losses to Tyler Shough of Texas Tech and Max Duggan of TCU. There may not be a bigger third-down advantage in any bowl game when it comes to the Arkansas offense against the Kansas defense.

These teams will put up their fair share of points, with Arkansas running a faster pace at 23.9 seconds per play.

Look for Leipold’s bag of tricks to frustrate a defense full of first-time starters while Arkansas offensive coordinator Kendal Briles looks to speed up scoring in the second half.

Pick: Kansas 1H +1.5 · Over 68.5

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