Line: Arkansas -2.5
Kansas vs Arkansas Breakdown and Betting Odds
The Kansas Jayhawks (6-6) and Arkansas Razorbacks (6-6) are facing off in the Liberty Bowl Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET. The Razorbacks are 2.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 68.5 points.
This will be Kansas and Arkansas’ third all-time matchup. The two schools faced each other in 1905 and 1906 with Kansas winning both games. Kansas won the last matchup by 32 points at home.
For many schools, 6-6 would be an average year or even a disappointing year, however, it was Kansas’s best season since 2008. They were ranked for the first time since 2009, reaching as high as No. 19. The Liberty Bowl is their first bowl since 2008. Despite going 3-6 in conference, it was their most wins in conference since 2008. Similarly, it was the first time since 2009 that Kansas went unbeaten out of conference play. After opening the season 5-0, Kansas dropped six of seven, but they did beat a ranked Oklahoma State to become bowl eligible. Kansas has won its last three bowls, including an Orange Bowl in 2007.
The engine of the Jayhawks has been quarterback Jalon Daniels. He missed four games with injury, but he still tallied 19 total touchdowns and the best QBR in college football. Daniels has been an efficient passer, completing 65.7% of his throws and only throwing two interceptions on 175 attempts. The rushing attack is led by Devin Neal who surpassed 1,000 yards and scampered for nine touchdowns. The receiver corps is much more of a committee. Luke Grimm led the way with 42 catches, but four Jayhawks had at least 25 catches. Lawrence Arnold led the team with 597 yards. Three Jayhawks caught five touchdowns, and Arnold caught four. All told, Kansas has a top-30 offense, scoring 34.2 points per game. They averaged an impressive 5.7 yards per carry.
On the other hand, the defense was often taken to slaughter. Kansas allowed 33.8 points per game, good for 119th in the country. They allowed a ridiculous 451.6 yards per game leading to 24.5 first downs per game. Kansas forced 1.7 turnovers per game, but they often allowed their opponents to maintain long scoring drives. Kenny Logan Jr. led the team with 96 tackles. Lonnie Phelps registered an impressive 10.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks. Cobee Bryant nabbed three interceptions and eight pass deflections, returning one of his interceptions for a touchdown. Kansas has allowed at least 43 points in their last three games including a massive 55 points to Texas in a home game. They allowed 35 or more in all six of their losses.
Kansas finished an impressive 7-4-1 ATS, but they have been struggling of late. They are 1-4 ATS in the last five with their only cover coming in their win over Oklahoma State. Their last five losses were by double-digits, and they were only salvaged by covering +10.5 against Oklahoma. The over is 8-4 this season, winning in five of the last six weeks. Kansas has helped with its porous defense.
Arkansas opened the season ranked, and they beat No. 23 Cincinnati to move up to No.16. They beat South Carolina to move into the top 10. Two weeks later, the slide began. Arkansas lost to three consecutive ranked teams. They rebounded with wins over BYU and Auburn, but they dropped three out of four to end the season including losses to ranked Liberty and LSU. On the bright side, Arkansas secured a bowl bid with their win over Ole Miss, its second consecutive season with a bowl appearance. Last season, Arkansas won the Outback Bowl.
Arkansas has been led by star quarterback K.J. Jefferson. In 10 games, Jefferson racked up 29 total touchdowns with only four interceptions. He is second on the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Through the air, Jefferson posted 236.1 yards per game. On the ground, Raheim Sanders is second in the SEC with 1,426 rushing yards. He leads the conference in scrimmage yards, and he is second in yards per carry. The go-to pass-catchers have been Jadon Haselwood and Matt Landers. Haselwood leads the team with 59 catches while Landers has 780 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the team. In the kicking game, Cam Little has had a solid season, hitting 12 of 15 field goals and all 44 of his extra points. Arkansas averaged 30.7 points per game, 48th in the country.
Arkansas is a team of reflection. They average 4.8 yards per carry, but they have allowed opponents to run for 4.8 yards per carry. In terms of total offense, Arkansas outgains its opponents by 0.1 yards per game. They have allowed 28.8 points per game. The star of the defense is Drew Sanders. Sanders leads the team with 103 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks. He also has three forced fumbles, an interception, and five pass deflections. Dwight McGlothern has three interceptions and nine total pass deflections. Hudson Clark has racked up 11 pass deflections, an interception, and two forced fumbles.
Arkansas is 6-6 ATS. They opened the season with back-to-back covers before losing four weeks in a row. They covered in four of their next five games, but they dropped the season finale to finish 6-6. Out of conference, Arkansas was 2-2 ATS, beating Cincinnati and BYU ATS, but losing outright as favorites to Liberty and failing to cover against Missouri State. The over is 9-3. The over began 7-1 on the season, but it cooled off with a 2-2 November.
Free Pick: Arkansas -2.5
Both teams have struggled since hot starts, but Arkansas has a better team. They have faced a slightly tougher schedule. They even opened as 5-point favorites, so bettors that waited will get 2.5 extra points. Arkansas -2.5 is the best bet as Kansas has covered in just one of their last five games.