College Basketball Betting – Kentucky Wildcats vs. Kansas Jayhawks

Written by:
Phil Simon
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A pair of blueblood programs hit the hardwood on Tuesday and one of them will have a losing record by the end of the night. The Kentucky Wildcats were upset by Richmond last time out while the Kansas Jayhawks opened the campaign with a setback against top-ranked Gonzaga. Both teams enter the State Farm Champions Classic game at 1-1 looking to find some continuity after an offseason of turnover. Kentucky is catching 3.5-points on the current college basketball betting line.  Bookmaker.eu offers a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1600).

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Kansas Jayhawks
Date and Time: Tuesday, December 1, 2020, 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Opening College Basketball Odds: Kansas -3.5, O/U 146
Kentucky vs. Kansas TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

It’s a different time for both schools. No doubt they will have excellent records as the season progresses since that’s just what they do. But the beginning of this season doesn’t include exhibitions against St. Mary’s School of the Blind and non-conference tilts against Winthrop. Nope, this year it’s head first into the season and both teams are feeling the effects. The annual youth movement is underway in Lexington with four freshman starters among the seven first-year players. The youngsters couldn’t hold onto basketball in a 76-64 upset loss at home to Richmond. UK dropped to 1-1 following its 81-45 opening-day win over Morehead State. The Kansas loss wasn’t as bad since it was at a neutral site and against the No. 1 ranked team in the country. The Jayhawks were blitzed 102-90 by Gonzaga but responded the following day with a 94-72 decision over St. Josephs moving to 1-1 SU and ATS. The Jayhawks cashed the OVER in both games.

Kentucky Wildcats

John Calipari does this every year so he knows what to expect. As long as his teams are better at the end of the season than they are at the beginning, the Wildcats are a national championship threat. There is room for plenty of improvement after their 76-64 home loss to Richmond. The Cats started four freshmen and they were lured into the Spiders web committing 21 turnovers and missing all 10 shots from three-point range. They also totaled just five assists.

“I think we have to become a little bit more unselfish on the offensive end. This is an opportunity for our guys to learn. It’s a lesson for them, especially in the backcourt, how young we are, and I think we’ll grow. We’ll get better from this,” assistant coach Joel Justus said after the game. It was quite a change from the opener when the Cats walloped Morehead State, 81-45. Brandon Boston Jr. tallied a team-high 15 points in that game, but the Cats were just 6 of 16 from three-point range.

Getting Keion Brooks Jr. back in the lineup should help stabilize the young corp. Brooks is the lone returner from last year’s rotation and is recovering from a leg injury. His status is unknown. Brooks averaged 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in just over 15 minutes of action per game.

Kansas Jayhawks

While the Jayhawks weren’t sure what they had as far as the starting lineup, Bill Self knew he had plenty of talent and a deep bench. Starting the season against a loaded Gonzaga team without their top two performers from a season ago, Kansas’ frontcourt was exposed in the 102-90 loss. The Zags showed off their efficiency hitting 64.5 percent of its shots while outrebounding Kansas by nine. The lack of exhibitions and non-conference patsies left the Jayhawks with an opening day loss.

The Jayhawks proved to be fast learners by thumping St. Joseph’s 94-72 the next day. And they got a boost from sophomore Christian Braun, who dropped 30 on the Hawks with nine boards. We said before the opener that this was Self’s deepest team in his Kansas tenure and he knows it. Nine different players had at least 10 minutes of run time and they all scored.

Without Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike, the Jayhawks have big shoes to fill. Self just might use the committee approach since he has the horses. And that’s just an added bonus as the season progresses with the likelihood of players missing time or being quarantined due to COVID. After playing just three minutes against Gonzaga, freshman Dajuan Harris made an impact against St. Joe’s with five assists, three rebounds and two steals along with three points in 15 minutes.

Bet Kentucky vs. Kansas at BookMaker.eu

Kentucky’s youth was exposed by Richmond’s veteran lineup, forcing the Cats into turnovers, missed shots and wild one-on-one play. While that might work against lesser teams around the country, it won’t be successful even against strong mid-majors. Now the Cats have to deal with a Kansas team that’s finding its way. The depth of the Jayhawks is significant since they don’t lose much when going down the bench. This is an early season matchup of top-20 teams that would be much more entertaining later in the season. For now, I have to side with the Jayhawks and their depth for the cover win.

College Basketball Score Prediction: Kansas 87, Kentucky 79

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- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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