Kansas State vs Kansas Pick, Prediction | Bet Wildcats Team Total in Sunflower Showdown
Peter Aiken/Getty Images. Pictured: Running back Treshaun Ward #9 of the Kansas State Wildcats.
Kansas State vs Kansas Odds
Despite all the conference realignment, the Sunflower Showdown will continue on a yearly basis even with the mass number of changes to the Big 12.
Kansas leads the all-time series, 65-50-5, but has not won this rivalry game since 2008. Kansas State has won this game by two possessions in 12 of the past 13 iterations.
The defending conference champion Wildcats have been on a roll in 2023, losing three games the entire season by a combined 14 points. Kansas State has a wild path to make the conference championship, needing Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas to all win out the final two weeks.
With all three losses coming in conference for the Jayhawks, this rivalry game serves as a chance to knock out the Wildcats from a potential trip to Arlington.
Let's dive into the Kansas State vs. Kansas odds and find a prediction for Saturday night.
Kansas State has fielded a balanced attack all season, but the ability to create explosives in early downs has set the team apart. Both Treshaun Ward and DJ Giddens have rushed for nearly 1,400 yards while creating 36 attempts on the ground for more than 10 yards.
Head coach Chris Klieman uses a combination of two-tight end and two-running back sets for run concepts that include power, inside zone, pull lead and counter concepts.
Not only can both backs create explosives, but the duo features two of the best running backs in short passing plays.
Kansas State is not limited to just Giddens and Ward on the ground — quarterbacks in Avery Johnson and Will Howard have also contributed 13 rushing touchdowns. Led by one of the best offensive lines in college football, Kansas State is top-10 in Havoc Allowed and Finishing Drives.
The 3-3-5 personnel on defense has been a strength in 2023, ranking top-25 in Success Rate. The Wildcats have not been as consistent in standard downs but have excelled in passing downs with a rank of fourth in Success Rate.
Kansas State rarely sends a pass rush but limits explosiveness at a top-30 rate against the run and pass. Although the Wildcats have average efficiency in quarters and Cover 1, the defense ranks 11th in on-target rate allowed.
Kansas' injuries at the quarterback position may linger into Week 12 for the Sunflower Showdown.
Jalon Daniels suffered a back injury earlier this season and hasn't completed a pass since Week 4 against BYU. Experienced backup Jason Bean took over the starting role but fell to injury in Week 11 against Texas Tech.
Although Bean tried to come back into the game, starting quarterback duties now fall to freshman Cole Ballard.
Ballard, the son of Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, finished 9-of-20 against the Red Raiders, failing to record a big-time throw.
The Kansas offensive line failed to protect the freshman, as 12-of-26 dropbacks came with pressure.
Head coach Lance Leipold is optimistic Bean will return, but the extent of his scrambling and passing could be in jeopardy.
The Jayhawks' offensive scheme includes 11, 12 and 21 personnel with the heaviest amount of motion and shotgun for any college program. Ballard did have success on the ground against Texas Tech, ripping off 34 yards in a single designed rush attempt.
The Kansas defense continues to trend downward for coordinator Brian Borland. Nearly every offense has the ability to create a methodical offensive possession, as Kansas ranks 115th in Defensive Quality Drives.
That number gets worse as teams get closer to the goal line, with a defensive red-zone rank of dead last nationally.
The Jayhawks have average secondary numbers and a great Defensive Havoc rank, but a consistent issue in stopping first downs has plagued Kansas all season.
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Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Kansas State and Kansas match up statistically:
Kansas State Offense vs Kansas Defense
Kansas Offense vs Kansas State Defense
Pace of Play / Other
|Special Teams SP+||67||55|
|Seconds per Play||26.0 (47)||28.7 (97)|
|Rush Rate||55.5% (49)||60.6% (17)|
Kansas State vs Kansas
Betting Pick & Prediction
Based on Standard Downs Success Rate alone, Kansas State has a heavy advantage when lining up against the Kansas defense.
The Jayhawks are 123rd in Defensive Stuff Rate and 96th in Line Yards, signaling the Wildcats will bust through the line of scrimmage.
A look at Kansas' Defensive Success Rate and Expected Points against the run concepts of inside zone, counter and man blocking dictate a big day for the Kansas State offense.
Kansas State ranks fourth in red-zone touchdown rate, giving Klieman full confidence in deferring on field goal attempts in scoring position.
There should be no resistance when the Wildcats possess the ball, but the bigger mystery is the health and subsequent efficiency of the Kansas offense.
While Bean is hopeful, the point spread would be Kansas +6.5 if he's confirmed for Saturday. Without Bean, Kansas State should steam up until the next key number of 10.
Kansas does have similar advantages in standard downs, but Kansas State's high defensive rankings in scoring opportunities should keep the Jayhawks out of the end zone.
Without Bean, this is a play on the Wildcats side pre-kick. The safer bet comes against a Jayhawks defense that will have to contend with run concepts that have haunted the defense all season.