College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Kansas State vs. Kansas: Wildcats Should Cruise in Rivalry Matchup
Peter Aiken/Getty Images.
- Kansas State has won 12 straight games in its in-state, Big 12 rivalry series vs. Kansas.
- The Jayhawks put forth a promising performance vs. Oklahoma two weeks ago, but have lost seven in a row.
- Anthony Dabbundo dives into this game and offers up his betting prediction.
Kansas State vs. Kansas Odds
|Kansas State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
After nearly pulling off a historic upset of undefeated Oklahoma two weeks ago, Kansas fell back to typical Kansas last Saturday when it lost 55-3 to Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys did whatever they wanted offensively and completely dominated the Jayhawks’ defense. Kansas didn’t manage to get on the board until the fourth quarter against a lot of Oklahoma State reserve defenders.
Kansas State bounced back from its three-game losing streak with consecutive wins against Texas Tech and TCU, ending the current coaching futures of Matt Wells and Gary Patterson.
Wells of Texas Tech was fired following the loss and Patterson will not be back for TCU next year amid the program’s struggles this season.
Now, the Wildcats travel across the state from Manhattan to Lawrence for a renewal of their in-state rivalry game, a series that KSU has won 12 consecutive times.
The Jayhawks haven’t won the Governor’s Cup since 2008 and they’re heavy underdogs to end their losing streak.
Kansas State Offense
The Wildcats run a slow-paced offense that is run first, relatively similar to what Oklahoma State did last week.
Kansas State is 43rd in Rushing Success Rate and 46th in Line Yards — both solid metrics in the Big 12 — and there isn’t a better matchup for them in the entire country than the Jayhawks’ run defense.
If the Wildcats have a weakness on offense, it’s in both pass blocking and Havoc prevention. Kansas State has at times struggled to prevent turnovers, negative plays and sacks. But facing a Kansas defense that offers absolutely no resistance, it’s hard to see how the Wildcats aren’t able to easily move the ball up and down the field.
Kansas State is 45th in Finishing Drives as well, so I wouldn’t imagine that the Jayhawks will be offering much resistance once the Wildcats cross their 40.
Teams who run the ball a lot typically play lower variance games because sacks and turnovers are less likely to come on runs than they are on pass plays.
But the Wildcats are also 15th in Big Plays and 33rd in Early Down Success Rate, so I’m expecting Kansas State to hit plenty of easy chunk plays to put up points on the board.
Kansas State Defense
Kansas is also a run-first offense, but that doesn’t project well for this game against the strength of the Wildcats’ defense.
Kansas State ranks inside the top 40 in Rushing Play Explosiveness Allowed, Rushing Success Rate Allowed, Defensive Line Yards and overall Early Down Success Rate. The Wildcats’ run defense held TCU to 3.8 yards per rush and Oklahoma State to 3.2 yards per rush.
Kansas is unlikely to find any more success against this unit through the air, either, given the Jayhawks’ struggles to protect the passer.
Kansas State’s pass defense can be had through the air when it’s not getting to the quarterback, but the Wildcats’ 54th-ranked pass rush should spend a lot of time pressuring Kansas quarterback Jason Bean.
Kansas’ offense ranks 110th in Early Down Success Rate and 121st in Passing Success Rate. Neither of those are recipes for a healthy offense and the Jayhawks have struggled to do much of anything offensively in the Big 12.
Outside of the fluke game against Oklahoma, Kansas has seven total first half points in the other four games against conference opponents.
The Jayhawks are run first, but they can’t run successfully, ranking 110th in Rushing Success Rate and 103rd in Line Yards against the strong part of the KSU defense.
Most of the Jayhawks’ points against conference foes have come late in the game. The seven points they scored vs. Iowa State came late in the third quarter, the three they scored against Oklahoma State came late in the third and all 14 vs. Texas Tech came in the final quarter.
The one place where Kansas can exploit Kansas State is through explosive plays, where the Wildcats rank 95th. But Kansas lacks the pass blocking ability or explosiveness itself to find big plays.
There’s a convincing argument to be made that on a play-by-play basis, this is the worse defense in the entire country. They are bad at everything defensively and good at nothing.
They can’t stop the run, which will make it easy for Kansas State to play safe football and eat up easy yards on the ground. They can’t get to the passer or cause Havoc, they struggle to get off the field on third down and they allow a ton of explosive plays.
This makes the Oklahoma game all the more weird, given how little OU did offensively for three quarters. But OU has had a few clunkers this year, so it’s not crazy that Kansas caught them in a flat spot.
Everything else we know about Kansas has shown that the defense is among the worst units in the entire country, if not the worst.
Kansas State vs. Kansas Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Kansas State and Kansas match up statistically:
Kansas State Offense vs. Kansas Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Kansas Offense vs. Kansas State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||51||108|
|Plays per Minute||126||120|
|Rush Rate||58.7% (40)||60.7% (26)|
Kansas State vs. Kansas Betting Pick
It’s important not to overreact to a one-game sample of anything, especially in college football. The near win against Oklahoma was impressive and caused the Jayhawks to be bumped up in a lot of statistics, power ratings and the narrative around them may have briefly changed.
But a 52-point drubbing to Oklahoma State is a reminder that Kansas’ defense is among the worst in college football. One good game against a sluggish OU doesn’t change that.
Kansas State will have its way running the ball all game. Despite the Wildcats’ slow pace, they’ll get enough margin and be able to put this game away on the ground without the risk of turnovers or Kansas mounting a late comeback to get inside the number.
I’d be hesitant to lay anything over the current 24, but the Wildcats can exploit advantages everywhere. While rivalry matchups can tend to favor the underdog, Kansas State will not be overlooking this game like OU did two weeks ago.
Pick: Kansas State -24 or better
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