Baylor vs. Kansas Odds, Pick, Prediction: Continue to Fade the Jayhawks in Week 3 (September 18)

Baylor vs. Kansas Odds, Pick, Prediction: Continue to Fade the Jayhawks in Week 3 (September 18) article feature image
Credit:

John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Trestan Ebner.

Baylor vs. Kansas Odds

Saturday, Sept. 18
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Baylor Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-17.5
-110
49.5
-114o / -106u
-1200
Kansas Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+17.5
-110
49.5
-114o / -106u
+680
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

While the Big 12 continues to play musical chairs amidst the latest round of expansion, Baylor and Kansas are two programs that will not be going anywhere.

The Bears and Jayhawks are set to face off in Lawrence in the conference opener for both programs. This will be the 21st meeting in the series with Baylor holding a 16-4 edge.

The Bears have won the last 11 in the series and look poised to keep that rolling this time around.


Baylor Bears

This week’s game will mark the first time Baylor has left the state of Texas this season.

The Bears have opened up the season with a 29-20 victory over Texas State and 66-7 thrashing of Texas Southern. They have already tied their win total from 2020.


Bears Offense

Baylor’s success has been set up by a dominant rushing attack.

The Bears have a two-headed monster at running back in Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner, both of whom have run for 100 yards in both games this season and each average right around eight yards per carry. As a team, the Bears are averaging 331.5 yards on the ground per game.

Baylor’s ground attack has set up an efficient passing game. Quarterback Gerry Bohanon has three touchdowns to zero interceptions while averaging 8.4 yards per attempt.

Tyquan Thornton is the Bears’ top receiver and deep threat with 10 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games.

Baylor’s offensive line has been a real strength thus far. The Bears rank first nationally in pass blocking, third in line yards and fifth in rushing success rate. The strong offensive-line play has also led to the Bears ranking eighth in big-play percentage.


Bears Defense

Baylor was a solid defensive team last season, but it did not get much help from the offense. Thus far as the offense has looked better, so has Baylor’s defense.

Through the first two games, the Bears have allowed just 13.5 points per game and rank sixth in tackling and 17th in havoc.

Against Kansas, the Bears will have a big edge in havoc. Linebacker Terrel Bernard is the star of the unit. Through the first two games, Bernard has 16 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack.


Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas is once again beginning another rebuild after the Les Miles era ended poorly. First-year head coach Lance Leipold already got the Jayhawks in the win column with a 17-14 win over FCS South Dakota in the season opener.

Last week, the Jayhawks put up more of a fight than initially expected in the first half against Coastal Carolina before ultimately falling 49-22. Kansas is 0-1-1 against the spread (ATS) this season.


Jayhawks Offense

There has not been much to write home about on the Kansas offense this season outside of quarterback Jason Bean. He is a dual-threat QB who showed off his wheels with touchdown runs of 34 and 46 yards against Coastal Carolina.

Bean has accounted for 77% of Kansas’ total offense and four of its five touchdowns this season.

True freshman running back Devin Neal scored the Jayhawks’ other touchdown last week. Neal is listed behind Velton Gardner and Torry Locklin on the depth chart, though it may not be long before he is the starter. Gardner and Locklin have combined to average 2.02 yards per carry while Neal is at 3.4.

It does not help that the Jayhawks’ offensive line has offered little resistance so far. Kansas ranks 107th in line yards, 112th in havoc  and 116th in pass blocking.


Jayhawks Defense

The Jayhawks run a 4-3 defense and defensive end Kyron Johnson is the star of the group. A converted linebacker, Johnson is undersized at 6-foot-1 and 223 pounds. but that has not limited his production. He has 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks through two games.

Johnson has been the lone bright spot on the Kansas defense thus far. As a team, Kansas has two sacks and forced just one turnover in the first two games.

That has led to ranking 113th in havoc and 110th in big-play percentage allowed. As a unit, the Jayhawks also don’t get much push up front, ranking 90th in line yards and 99th rushing success rate.

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Baylor vs. Kansas Matchup Analysis

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

Baylor Offense vs. Kansas Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 5 99
Line Yards 3 90
Pass Success 23 121
Pass Blocking* 1 40
Big Play 8 110
Havoc 35 113
Finishing Drives 64 79
* Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Kansas Offense vs. Baylor Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 111 50
Line Yards 107 70
Pass Success 115 34
Pass Blocking* 116 56
Big Play 56 59
Havoc 112 17
Finishing Drives 104 62
* Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 6 84
PFF Coverage 48 97
Middle 8 13 22
SP+ Special Teams 43 89
Plays per Minute 107 107
Rush Rate 63.8% (24) 58.5% (45)

Data via College Football Data (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF & SportSource Analytics.


Baylor vs. Kansas Betting Pick

Baylor started the season with Group of Five and FCS opponents, so it’s understandable if you are skeptical about its improvement thus far.

However, Kansas is not going to offer much more of a challenge. Additionally, Baylor has dominated Kansas recently, including 47-14 last season. The Bears have covered the last four meetings, as well.

Baylor will have several advantages on both sides of the ball, but its edge in the trenches stands out most. The Bears offensive line is not going to allow much pressure to the Jayhawks front seven, while Smith and Ebner should both run for more than 100 yards again.

Bohanon will not be under much pressure from the Kansas pass rush and he will have an effective running game backing him. That will set up the play-action passing game and deep shots to Thornton against a Kansas defense that ranks 121st in passing success rate allowed.

Conversely, Bean will be harassed constantly by a Baylor defense that ranks 17th in havoc. He also will not have the running game to keep the defense honest.

Baylor should put a ton of points on the board, so taking the over or Baylor’s team total is appealing. However, both teams have operated at a slow pace so far.

Baylor is capable of dominating this game with its defense in a 31-7 game or offensively like 49-10. Baylor has won the last five meetings by an average of 35.6 points, which means getting the Bears -17.5 is a bargain.

Continue to fade Kansas this week.

Pick: Baylor -17.5.

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