While the Wildcats’ chances hinge on the status of star point guard TyTy Washington, we’re getting a competitive total for two high-octane offenses. So with the uncertainty of the spread, our Kentucky vs. Kansas picks point to the Over.
On Saturday, the college basketball slate will feature the annual Big 12 / SEC Challenge, a 10-game series played between the conferences each January. In the feature game of the series and the day, the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks will defend their unblemished 10-0 home record against the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats.
Get the inside track on this showdown by reading for our free college basketball picks and predictions for Kentucky vs Kansas on Saturday, January 29.
Kentucky vs Kansas betting odds
This odds widget represents the the best odds available for each betting market of the regulated sportsbooks.
The line opened with Kansas as a 4.5-point favorite and has since moved up to -5.5. The total opened at a very high 154.5 and has since moved to 152.5.
Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movement until the start of the game and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your wagers.
Kentucky vs Kansas predictions
Predictions made on 01/29/2022 at 11:40 a.m. ET.
Click on each forecast to jump to the full analysis.
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Kentucky vs Kansas game information
– Location: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
– Date: Saturday, January 29, 2022
– Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. ET
– TV: ESPN
Kentucky at Kansas – Betting Forecast
Kentucky: TyTy Washington G (Questionable).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know about.
Kansas has played 4-1 to the Over when facing Top-100 offenses according to KenPom. Both Kentucky and Kansas have played 4-2 to the Over in their last six games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Kentucky vs. Kansas.
Kentucky vs Kansas picks and predictions.
Our predictions are compiled from spread and total analysis and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play we like the most for this game, on which we would put part of our bankroll.
Whether Kentucky can go into Allen Fieldhouse and come out with a win depends entirely on the status of star freshman TyTy Washington. According to EvanMiya.com’s Bayesian Performance Rating (BPR), which purports to measure a player’s overall value, Washington is the 11th most valuable player in the nation. This is largely due to his offensive ability, whether generating for himself or others, as he ranks first on the team in on/off splits. On defense, he may “only” rank fourth, but given that Davion Mintz (who started in his place on Tuesday) is second worst on the team in that regard, the jump is quite remarkable.
His value was very evident in the Auburn game last week. Kentucky scored 25 points in the first 11.5 minutes and had a nine-point lead on the road over the No. 2 team before his departure. Without Washington the rest of the way, the Wildcats managed to score 46 points in the next 28.5 minutes of play. Kentucky lost the game by nine points.
Make no mistake, the Wildcats are still incredibly talented without Washington. Oscar Tshiebwe leads the nation in rebounding (15.2 per game) and ranks even higher than Washington in the aforementioned BPR metric (ranking fourth in the nation). Sahvir Wheeler (11.1 PPG, 6.9 APG), the team’s assists leader, returned to action on Tuesday and added 15 points and six assists. Kellan Grady also played a lot of minutes in Washington’s absence and scored 18 points.
And while the offense stalled last Saturday, that was against Auburn’s 10th-ranked defense, according to KenPom. Kansas ranks 49th in that regard, and Kentucky does enough things on offense really well to keep points, whether it’s at the rim (second in field goal shooting percentage at the rim), three-point shooting (best in the SEC during conference play), or offensive rebounding (12th in the nation), The main concern should be on the other side of the ball.
Kansas’ offense, ranked third by Ken-Pom, is its toughest challenge of the season so far, and the Wildcats have already had trouble slowing down top offenses like Duke (14th, scored 79) and Auburn (15th, scored 80). Leading the way for Kansas is Ochai Agbaji, who scores 21.3 points per game, eighth in the nation.
Agbaji leads the Jayhawks’ inside-outside approach, contributing crafty finishes at the rim (78.2%) and lethal perimeter shooting (47.0%). While the latter is a bit high to sustain long-term, Agbaji has made very significant strides in that department, improving his percentage by at least 3% each year since shooting 30.7% in his freshman year. However, his perimeter teammates Remy Martin (35.7% shooting from three) and Jalen Coleman-Lands (40.5%) help round out the perimeter threat (Kansas’ 36.6% ranks 59th), which helps keep defenses honest.
To Kansas’ credit, they’ve been winning close games lately – their last three wins have all been by three points. But, again, those three wins came against lesser teams, and the spread gives us more of an edge than that difference.
Prediction: Kentucky +5.5 (-105)
Covers NCAA basketball betting analysis.
While Kentucky has been prone to allowing points to top-ranked offenses, Kansas hasn’t had the (dis)pleasure of playing against one. The highest ranked offense they’ve faced so far is Michigan State (30th), and they’ve only played five games total against Top 100 offenses, yet in those games, they’ve given up an average of 77.2 points per game. Not surprisingly, the Jayhawks have played 4-1 to the Over in those five games.
And the Over has been the tone for both teams throughout the season and lately. Kansas has played the Over 12-5-2 this season, and while Kentucky started the season 3-6 in that regard, they have played 7-4 to the Over in the last eleven. Both Kansas and Kentucky are 4-2 in the Over in each of their last six games.
Prediction: Over 152.5 (-110)
With Washington State for the game really questionable, even as of Saturday morning, the spread may be a shaky proposition to consider as a best bet. With Washington, Kentucky is the more talented team, and with an arguably similar resume while playing against tougher competition. Obviously, that would give the hand to a team that catches 5.5 points.
But circumstances will force a pivot here. As far as Washington is concerned, both paths are seemingly friendlier to the total. If Washington plays, the offense it generates only helps the case for the total. If it doesn’t, the defensive decline of Mintz and others lends itself to more points for the Jayhawks.
Make no mistake, if Washington plays (and if he’s actually healthy) then 5.5 points is too many. But for now, we’ll take a safer route.
Choose: Over 152.5 (-110)
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