Blue-blood programs clash as the SEC/Big 12 Challenge continues Saturday night. Watch as the No. 9 Kansas Jayhawks (16-4) take on the rival Kentucky Wildcats (14-6) in a battle for bragging rights. Coverage will be live on ESPN. Check out our college basketball odds series for our Kansas-Kentucky prediction and pick.
The Kansas Jayhawks are looking to turn the tide on their recent stretch after dropping the last three consecutive games to Big 12 opponents. Granted, those losses came against teams ranked 13, 14, and 17 respectively. Nevertheless, dropping three games to conference foes can put a team in a bad position within the rankings. A win over Kentucky here would put the Kansas Jayhawks right back on track and help them preserve their top-10 ranking.
The Kentucky Wildcats have momentum on their side coming off a double-digit win against Vanderbilt. That win caps off a four-game winning streak that they’ll look to turn into five in this matchup with the Jayhawks. It’s not often that a ranked top-10 team is listed as the underdog against an unranked team, but it goes to show that this Wildcats squad in no ordinary unranked team. They can hang with any team on any night, so look for the Kentucky Wildcats to make a statement at home in a game where the oddsmakers give them the slight edge.
Here are the Kansas-Kentucky college basketball odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Basketball Odds: Kansas-Kentucky Odds
Kansas: +1.5 (+100)
Kentucky: -1.5 (-122)
Over: 140.5 (-105)
Under: 140.5 (-115)
How To Watch Kansas vs. Kentucky
Stream: ESPN App, ESPN+
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT
*Watch college basketball LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Kansas Could Cover The Spread
The 9th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks are seeing their toughest stretch of the season right now as they’ve lost their last three games. They’re also 7-13 ATS, indicating that their games are often closer than oddsmakers expect them to be. Well, no one expected Kansas to be 16-4 just three games after having a 16-1 record. Dropping a fourth consecutive game will almost certainly come with a drop in the rankings, so the Jayhawks will look to avoid disaster if they can quiet this hot Wildcats team.
Jalen Wilson will once again have to have a great game for the Jayhawks. They may have trouble scoring in the paint against the athletic Kentucky bigs, so look for Gradey Dick and Kevin McCullar Jr. to get involved in the offense early. A big point of focus will be forcing Oscar Tshiebwe into foul trouble and making Kentucky rely on their role players for contributions. Kansas will also want to run with this team as they are much more sound in fast-break situations and turn the ball over less. Look for Kansas to pull off the (technical) upset here.
Why Kentucky Could Cover The Spread
The Kentucky Wildcats have had an uncharacteristic season thus far, but have been gaining momentum with their recent stretch of success. They’ve really been able to lean on their star Oscar Tshiebwe when it counts most, and other players are able to contribute in big spots when they are needed. They’ve been on a four-game win streak that started with their win over No. 5 Tennessee. They’ll look to stay hot and take down another ranked opponent in No. 9 Kansas.
It’s a surprise that the Wildcats are favored here, but it’s a spot that they have earned with their play of late. Kentucky can become a dangerous team when playing with this kind of momentum. They’ve finally seen the benefits that a balanced attack can bring to their team, so coach John Calipari will continue to draw plays up that get everyone on his team involved. If the Wildcats can shoot well from three and establish Tshiebwe down low early, it may be a long night for the visiting Kansas Jayhawks.
Final Kansas-Kentucky Prediction & Pick
Can anyone remember the last time Bill Self’s Kansas squad lost four in a row? Me neither. He’s only lost consecutive games on 13 occasions in his career – look for this to be 14. Kentucky will be playing with too much energy in their home building to lose this one against a struggling Kansas team.
Final Kansas-Kentucky Prediction & Pick: Kentucky Wildcats -1.5 (-122)