Kickoff: 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Booth Memorial Stadium, Lawrence
Radio: WHB (810 AM) in Kansas City, KFH (1240 AM) in Wichita
The line: Texas Tech by 18 1/2.
You’re probably reading this section expecting some deep insight into why the game’s outcome will swing one way or another away from the Vegas line.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure I have a compelling reason to stray too far from that 18 1/2-point mark that sportsbooks are listing.
I checked out KU coach Lance Leipold’s Buffalo record against the spread after bye weeks at sports site Team Rankings ... and his team was 6-3 in those situations. Take it to the bank, right? Well, the Bulls actually performed about a point per game worse than spread expectation in those contests, while Leipold’s first two rebuilding years — the ones that most closely resemble this KU team — both failed to cover in that setting.
So somewhat inconclusive there. KU is 0-5 against the spread this year, so maybe the Jayhawks are due for better fortune?
Well, maybe. Fact is, KU is 1-12-1 in the last two seasons against the spread ... so maybe this is now more trend than bad luck. The line opening at 16 points and moving to 18 1/2 might be bettors trying to factor that in that KU has performed worse than anyone could expect against expectations over the last two seasons.
Still ... Texas Tech’s defense doesn’t appear great, and KU’s offense showed against Duke that it can put points against non-dominant Ds. And one thought that keeps coming back to my head is turnovers; Texas Tech can be careless, while I don’t think KU will be after a bye week with that ball security ringing as one of Leipold’s strongest mandates all season.
I don’t think KU’s defensive issues can be solved in a week’s time, but I do believe the Jayhawks have the potential to have an effective pass rush while creating some havoc against the Red Raiders. If that results in a couple turnovers, I think KU’s offense can take advantage enough to keep this within two scores.
Though I think Vegas’ number is close, I’ll say KU narrowly covers.
Texas Tech 49, Kansas 35
Last game prediction: Iowa State 48, Kansas 21 (Actual: Iowa State 59-7)
2021 record vs. spread: 3-2
2021 record on picks: 5-0