Kansas faces Texas on Saturday (9/30/23) in a showdown between Big 12 rivals. Get Kansas Vs. Texas predictions and best bets below as our best bet is Kansas +17.
Kansas Jayhawks Vs. Texas Longhorns Prediction & Best Bet
It wasn’t that long ago that Kansas was chalked up as an easy win for every conference foe they faced. However, head coach Lance Leipold has turned around their fortunes, and last year, Kansas went bowling for the first time since 2008. Now, the Jayhawks are looking for more.
Leipold’s brilliant offensive scheme is executed by Jalon Daniels, one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country who has 700 yards and five touchdowns through three games. The Kansas passing offense ranks top eight in passing EPA and success rate so far this season.
Kansas also boasts an elite run game that ranks 18th in success rate. Devin Neal is perhaps the best running back in the Big 12, and he’s averaging almost 7 yards per tote on this young season. If the Jayhawks want to pull off an upset, a balanced offensive approach will be crucial.
Texas boasts an elite quarterback of its own in Quinn Ewers, but the consistency hasn’t always been there this year. The Longhorns rank just 95th in passing success rate and have relied on the big play. However, Ewers hasn’t been the most consistent deep ball passer save for the Alabama win earlier this year.
Ewers has an adjusted completion percentage of just 23.1% on deep ball throws per PFF (132nd), which is a drop off from last year’s 36.5% (98th). Against Alabama, he completed 3 of 5 deep ball throws for 115 yards and two touchdowns, but the larger sample size suggests he isn’t a special downfield passer.
Texas also hasn’t been as efficient running the ball this season, which was expected after they lost Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson to the NFL. They rank 124th in the FBS in rushing success rate. Jonathan Brooks is the leading rusher with 375 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he’s not capable of torching the Kansas defense like Robinson did last year.
The Longhorns will still get theirs offensively in this game. While Kansas’s defense has improved, it’s still far from an elite unit. Still, the Jayhawks won’t be fazed by the moment. When Kansas played in Austin, Texas two years ago, they won outright as 31-point underdogs. I’m not calling for an outright upset, but Kansas is capable of making this a very interesting game.
Kansas Vs. Texas Prediction & Best Bet: Kansas +17.5
Kansas Vs. Texas Betting Odds
Texas opened as 19.5-point favorites in this game, and the spread has been bet down to 17.5 at the time I’m writing this. The total sits at a lofty 64 points, so books are expecting there to be a good amount of points scored in this game. The Longhorns have a Moneyline of around -900 depending on what book you’re looking at.
Kansas Vs. Texas Key Matchups
We’ve seen some memorable games between Kansas and Texas in recent years, and this one sets up as a fascinating watch. Let’s take a look at some of the key matchups that will determine who wins this game.
WR Xavier Worthy vs. CB Cobee Bryant
While Georgia transfer Adonai Mitchell has added some juice to the Texas receiving corps, Xavier Worthy remains their leading receiver. He has 19 catches for 252 yards and three scores this season. Last year Kansas held him to two catches for 30 yards, but in 2021, he finished with 14 catches for 152 yards and three scores against the Jayhawks.
Kansas cornerback Cobee Bryant was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week with two interceptions and a forced fumble that he returned for a touchdown. In 2021 against Texas, he had a pick six. According to PFF, he’s allowed just five catches for 28 yards on nine targets with just a 58.8 passer rating allowed in coverage.
QB Jalon Daniels vs. Texas secondary
Jalon Daniels hasn’t been asked to do a ton this year, but he ranks fifth in PFF passing grades and has 5 touchdowns to just one interception. He’s fully capable of rising to the occasion in this game. Daniels has only been pressured on 21.8% of his drop backs per PFF, the fifth-lowest rate in the P5. Can Texas make him uncomfortable in the pocket?
Texas ranks top 20 in EPA and success rate allowed via the pass, but they haven’t played someone like Daniels yet. They’re also coming off two games against Wyoming and Baylor who were down to their backup quarterbacks. Daniels will test this secondary in a way they haven’t been this season, and his ability to do so will determine how close Kansas can make this game.
What a seed from Jalon Daniels! Luke Grimm is PUMPED! pic.twitter.com/q6ioXsmFz4
— Ian Valentino (@NFLDraftStudy) September 23, 2023