Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jeremiah Booker
Kansas 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +999999
- To win the Big 12: +80000
- Win Total: 3 (over +140, under -170)
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Kansas 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 3.6
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Kansas Over 3 Wins (+140)
We’re in an exciting time for Rock Chalk nation. Udoka Azubuike returns for hoops, Jeff Long takes over as athletic director and the Jayhawks defense on the football field ranks second in the nation in returning production.
Head coach David Beaty has just three total wins in three seasons, which has fueled speculation that the new AD will look for a replacement in the near future. Just don’t expect Bret Bielema. This is likely Beaty’s last chance.
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But don’t fire him yet — the Kansas defense has the potential to be one of the better units in the Big 12 after ranking 104th in S&P+ last season. And no, that’s not a misprint. Plenty of promising junior-college transfers, mostly in the secondary, will join some talented returnees — led by linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. and defensive tackle Daniel Wise, who both have first-team All-Big 12 potential. The defense ranked 62nd in rushing S&P+ defense and could improve on that mark thanks to all the talent returning.
The other side of the ball will look more Kansas-like, with many questions along the offensive line and at quarterback. However, running back Khalil Herbert is a playmaker (5.5 yards per carry in 2017), and the defense can carry the load against Nicholls State and Central Michigan to open the season. That means a home win over Rutgers would get Kansas to 3-0 just three games into the season, pushing the season win total by Sept. 15. The Jayhawks will be favored by about a field goal against Rutgers, according to The Action Network’s projections.
With the Jayhawks winning just three games over the past three years, a 3-0 start could give them the confidence they need to pull off an upset or two in conference play — where they are 9-16-2 ATS the past three years.
We will trust the defense and roll with Kansas over 3 wins. You might not see a Big 12 win on the schedule, but the Jayhawks did upset Texas in 2016. They also lost to TCU by a total of 11 points between 2014 and 2016, and outgained Kansas State in total yards last season.
Plus, Beaty getting fired for a loss in the first three games wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen served as the Jayhawks’ interim coach in 2014 when they upset Iowa State. Winning a few games might just be part of the many changes expected in Lawrence this season.