Both Missouri and Kansas State will face their first real test of this season.
There isn’t much to learn from either Missouri’s 52-24 victory over Louisiana Tech or Kansas State’s 34-0 victory over South Dakota State. Both teams looked good, but that’s obvious.
So, how will these two teams fare once they face real competition?
Let’s break it down. Read on for our Missouri Tigers vs Kansas State Wildcats odds, picks, and predictions.
Missouri Tigers vs Kansas State Wildcats
Missouri has never been a good football program. As such, Kansas State opened as a 7.5-point favorite and the Wildcats were quickly bet to 8.5-point favorites. The public clearly doesn’t trust Mizzou just yet.
The total has taken more sharp movement, having been bet up to 57 from an initial opener of 54.
Missouri Tigers vs Kansas State Wildcats Prediction & Pick
Missouri hasn’t been good in seven years. There are a few winning seasons sprinkled in there, including an 8-5 2018 season under Barry Odom. Otherwise, they’ve mostly fumbled about.
Eight starters return defensively, including seven of the top but that didn’t seem to help when they allowed 24 points to La Tech. Offensively, Connor Bazelak is gone from quarterback, but Brady Cook looked alright in Week 1.
I’m much more interested in the Adrian Martinez era in Manhattan. He was electric with Nebraska and will face weaker defensive talent in the Big 12, but he was also mercurial. He averaged just three yards per play – both passing and rushing – against South Dakota State. Although maybe they didn’t need him, given they rushed for 300 yards and shut out an FCS school.
Martinez will have both a solid running game and a good defense. K-State allowed just 21 points per game last season and returns seven starters, and the offensive line is led by two All-Big 12 hopefuls.
Missouri ranked 99th last season in Defensive Standard Downs Success Rate and 107th against Rushing Plays overall. Yet they returned some production and stuffed Louisiana Tech’s rushing game, allowing just eight rushing yards on 22 attempts. Which also feels impossible.
I can’t get a read on either team. I lean Kansas State, but the Mizzou rush defense could have improved and the line has moved towards the Tigers after opening KSU -8.5. I also lean the over, but the line has jumped three points since open.
My Pick: Pass | Lean Kansas State -7.5 | Lean Over 56.5
Missouri Tigers vs Kansas State Wildcats Key Matchups
Key Matchup No. 1: Kansas State Run Game vs Mizzou’s Run Defense
Was Missouri’s performance against Louisiana Tech legit? Can they stuff the run at a super high rate in the SEC East?
This will be a good test against a Kansas State running game that was stout last season and projects to be in 2022. Kansas State ended last season ninth in the nation in Standard Downs Success Rate. They could be even more dangerous with a dual-threat quarterback.
If I were to guess, K-State blows through the Missouri front seven and last week’s result was a farce. But I’m not confident enough to bet that.
Key Matchup No. 2: Adrian Martinez vs Mizzou’s Secondary
However, if K-State can’t get a push in the running game, they may have to rely on Martinez’s arm. That’s a scary thought, considering how often he’ll throw games away.
But Mizzou’s secondary was shredded last week against the two-quarterback tandem of Matthew Downing and Parker McNeil. The Tiger secondary is exploitable after losing a bunch of starters.
If there’s a chance for Martinez to cook, now is the time.