Kansas football was one of the surprises of last season, winning six times and going to their first bowl game since 2008. It is time to continue our college football odds series with a Kansas football over/under win total prediction and pick.
Kansas started Lance Leipold's second season as the head coach with five straight wins, hitting their over regarding win total in the first month of the season. Then they lost to TCU and their star quarterback Jalon Daniels was hurt in the process. Daniels would only play in two more games the rest of the regular season, against Texas and Kansas State, but was not the same. Daniels is back, and it is year three for Lance Leipold. The win total is set at bowl eligibility. Can Kansas get to back-to-back bowl games since 2007-08 under Mark Mangino? They bring back 11 starters on offense, and seven on defense, including the entire linebacking core and secondary. That may be enough for Kansas football to hit the over on the win total.
Here are the College Football Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: Over/Under Win Total Odds
Over 5.5 wins: -154
Under 5.5 wins: +126
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Why Kansas Can Win 5.5 Games
The Kansas win total is set at a half-game below where they finished last year. First, the Jayhawks return a large part of their production from last year. They rank second in returning production overall and have the highest percentage in the nation of returning production on offense at 91%. This offense that was top 25 in points per game last year is bringing back nearly everyone who played for them, including every starter. Secondly, the schedule lines up for them in the new Big 12. They do not play Baylor or TCU this year while getting BYU, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Kansas State all at home.
For Kansas football to get to six wins, it will start in the non-conference schedule, where they will be looking to get at least two. The first game of the season is at home against Missouri State. Kansas should be heavily favored and win that game. Then they are at home against Illinois. Illinois will be breaking in a new secondary, while trying to find a new running back and figuring out the QB position. Then Kansas faces Nevada who was awful last year and did not improve much in the off season. They could easily have three wins there but should have two.
In conference play, BYU is 70th in returning production, while ranking below Kansas is SP+ last year. UCF was slightly better than Kansas SP+-wise last year but returned a fraction of what Kansas does. Iowa State lost a large portion of its defense, and while much of its offense comes back, it was not a quality unit last year. Kansas State and Cincinnati should both regress from last year, losing huge chunks of their teams. Those become five winnable games for the Jayhawks right off the bat. They also will have a chance against Oklahoma State, who they beat last year, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. This means the only sure loss could be to Texas on the road.
Why Kansas Can Not Win 5.5 Games
Kansas fell apart last year in Big 12 play. They could easily do it again. Yes, there was an injury that helped aid that, but still, the team crumbled, winning just one out of their last seven regular-season games. There are two ways for Kansas not to hit six wins. First, if they slip up in the non-conference schedule. The most likely slip-up spot for them is against Illinois. Illinois, like Kansas, was a major surprise team last year. Unlike Kansas, they are not returning most of their star players. They will need to have figured out things in a hurry to make that upset happen.
If they go 3-0 in nonconference play, it would require a 2-7 conference record. That would require Oklahoma and Texas Tech to take a step forward in their progression. Both teams seem to be moving in a positive direction and could both win more this year than last year. Kansas State would also have to replace Deuce Vaughn, Makik Knowels, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, and Julius Brents from last year. This is an end-of-season match so there should be time for that. Iowa State would also need to improve. They are bringing back 16 starters including their quarterback. Last year was their worst-ever year under Matt Campbell, and it would be a fair assumption a rebound could be coming. Combined with Texas, losing those games would bring them to five losses.
For the under to hit, it would then be going 2-2 or worse with BYU, Oklahoma State, UCF, and Cincinnati. Those should all be tight spreads and two of them are on the road.
Final Kansas Over/Under Win Total Prediction & Pick
Kansas brings back so much talent, and while it would be nice if they drew West Virginia in their schedule, they should be happy to avoid TCU and Baylor. Kansas will open the season with three straight wins, and be just shy of their cover after beating BYU at home. They get their fifth win of the year on October 7th against UCF, and then just need one more the rest of the way. Kansas makes their backers sweat though. They lose the next five straight to drop to 5-6 on the year. In the last game of the season, with bowl eligibility on the line, they take out Cincinnati on the road to make it to 6-6 for a second straight year.
Final Kansas Over/Under Win Total Prediction & Pick: Over 5.5 (-154)