Missouri State vs Kansas Odds, Picks: Jayhawks to Win in Blowout?
Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Lance Leipold of Kansas.
Missouri State vs Odds
We head to Lawrence, Kansas, for this FCS-FBS clash between the Missouri State Bears and Kansas Jayhawks.
For Kansas, this will be Year 3 of the Lance Leipold era. He's done one of the best coaching jobs in the country, so the real question is if it's time to declare Kansas a football school.
With Bobby Petrino at Texas A&M, it's now Ryan Beard calling the shots for the Bears, as he was promoted from defensive coordinator.
Both of these teams specialize in offense, so let's take a deeper dive to discover the best angle.
The 33-year-old Beard will be faced with a tough task against this Jayhawks team, which is something I wouldn't have said two years ago.
For Beard, this is a big stage for his first game as a head coach at the Division I level. I'm not quite sure if this will impact the Bears' performance, but it's worth noting.
The Bears finished 5-6 last season in the MVC, but they bring back the second-most experience in the conference. With Nick Petrino calling the plays, I don't expect a shift in offensive philosophy.
Running back Jacardia Wright will be asked to carry the load on offense due to the departures of quarterback Jason Shelley and leading receiver wide receiver Ty Scott.
Jordan Pachot appears to be the starting QB, but I wouldn't be surprised if Beard gave Jacob Clark a look in this game at some point.
There's some concern for the offense in this matchup, although the Jayhawks' defense is nothing to write home about. I think it may take some time for these new offensive pieces to start clicking.
As if there weren't enough concerns on the offensive side of the ball, this is a nightmare matchup for this defensive unit. The Bears were very susceptible against the run this year, so going up against this explosive Kansas offense screams trouble.
I have a hard time believing this Bears defense will get enough stops to stay in striking distance in this game, and even if their offense surprisingly gels right away, I don't think they have the chops to keep up.
This Jayhawks team was an electric factory last season, easily clearing their 2.5-win total with a 6-6 season. Jalon Daniels was an early-season Heisman hopeful, but unfortunately, his health caused him to miss a few games.
Once again, he enters the season with health concerns.
This was the No. 3 team in the nation in offensive explosiveness, and the Jayhawks have almost everybody returning, including some additions through the portal. Leading rusher Devin Neal returns, as he's expected to once again handle the majority of the work in this loaded running back room.
I expect Leipold's group to toy with this Bears defense all night long.
Even if Daniels isn't 100%, backup QB Jason Bean has proven time and time again that he's more than capable of running this offense. Heading into this matchup, many casual fans may think Kansas could be in trouble with Daniels' health concerns.
I'm not saying Bean is equivalent to Daniels, but I doubt there would be any drop-off in production in this matchup.
The defense was the polar opposite of this offense, as it finished at the bottom of the barrel in the majority of defensive metrics. This is a unit that finished in the bottom 120 in Success Rate, Havoc and average starting field position.
Down the stretch, it seemed like you could pencil in the opposing team for at least 35 points in every matchup.
The Jayhawks' special teams are another area that hurt them last season, but I think they can be much worse this year.
However, this defensive unit upgraded significantly via the transfer portal. I'm not saying all of their problems are solved because of this, but I think this will make a huge difference, specifically in the trenches.
They won't be all-world defensively, but I definitely think some cohesion will help this group and make a difference in this matchup.
Missouri State vs Kansas
Betting Pick & Prediction
I think the Jayhawks are going to absolutely roll here. Even with Daniels' health being a concern, I'm fully confident in Bean's ability to run this offense without skipping a beat.
I wouldn't be surprised if Leipold keeps his foot on the gas through the entire game to make a big statement in this opener.
The Bears' offense may end up clicking earlier than I expect, but I think their defensive issues are too much to overcome.
I realize the Jayhawks have Illinois on deck, but considering how much the Illini lost on the defensive side of the ball, I don't think this is too much of a lookahead spot.
I feel very comfortable swallowing the points here with Kansas.