Kentucky at Kansas odds, picks and prediction

The No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats (15-4) visit Allen Fieldhouse to take on the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks (16-2) Saturday as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET (on ESPN). Below, we look at Kentucky vs. Kansas odds and lines, and make our expert college basketball picks, predictions and bets.

A key factor for Kentucky will be if freshman phenom G TyTy Washington is able to play. Washington, who ranks second on the Wildcats in points (13.6) and assists (4.4) per game, has been dealing with an ankle injury sustained against Auburn Jan. 22. He missed the Wildcats’ last game, an 82-74 overtime home win vs. Mississippi State Tuesday.

Kentucky is 9-11 against the spread (ATS) this season and 5-5 over its last 10. Regardless of Washington’s status, floor general G Sahvir Wheeler and rebounding machine F Oscar Tshiebwe will be the most impactful ‘Cats.

Kansas enters with an 8-10-1 ATS record. The Jayhawks’ most recent victory was a double-overtime, 94-91 home victory over No. 14 Texas Tech Monday.

However, they’ve failed to cover in 3 straight and have only covered in 3 of their last 10. The Jayhawks will be led by arguably the nation’s best scorer, 6-foot-5 G Ochai Agbaji, who is averaging 21.3 points per game.

Rankings courtesy of the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY Sports.

Kentucky at Kansas odds, spread and lines

Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 3:48 a.m. ET.

Money line: Kentucky +190 (bet $100 to win $190) | Kansas -240 (bet $240 to win $100)
Against the spread: Kentucky +5.5 (-120) | Kansas -5.5 (-105)
Over/Under (O/U): 152.5 (O: -112 | U: -108)

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Kentucky at Kansas odds, lines, picks and predictions

Prediction

Kansas 76, Kentucky 73

Money line

PASS.

The Jayhawks are far too good at home to take a gamble on Kentucky here. At the same time, the Wildcats have a few big-time wins to their name, an all-time great head coach and a highly-talented roster.

Kansas’ money line would become appealing at anything under -165, which isn’t happening.

Against the spread

LEAN to KENTUCKY +5.5 (-120).

The Wildcats are going to come into this with a game plan to shut down Agbaji. Whether that works or not is a different story, but they did limit Auburn’s leading scorer in F Jabari Smith to 14 points in the loss to the Tigers.

The Wildcats have the size in Tshiebwe who is averaging 15.2 boards per game. They’re also limiting opponents to 40.7% from the field.

The Jayhawks’ strength is 2-point shooting, nearing 50% from the field. The Wildcats’ length on defense and playmaking with Wheeler on offense should be able to keep the game close.

The Wildcats have covered 5 of their last 10, while the Jayhawks have covered 1 of their last 6.

Over/Under

BET UNDER 152.5 (-108).

While the Wildcats should have the length and athleticism to deal with the Jayhawks’ premier scorer, that battle will go both ways, which makes this among the most enticing games in college hoops Saturday.

Behind 6-foot-10 F David McCormack, the Jayhawks should be able to limit the Wildcats’ leading scorer in Tshiebwe.

Kentucky is an even .500 with a 10-10 O/U record. Kansas is 13-6 O/U, but is 0-1 O/U in games within their last 10 which the total was Over 152 or higher.

It’s a high total for top-tier teams, and I’d look to fade points in this battle.

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Author: Naomi Berry