Oddsmakers have pegged the Jayhawks as nearly two TD favorites on Tuesday night in the Kansas vs UNLV betting matchup in the 2023 Guaranteed Rate Bowl. Both KU and the Rebels had four losses on the season, but the Jayhawks did so playing the 27th hardest strength of schedule compared to 89th for UNLV.
56% of the betting public still like KU despite giving up so many points. Both teams have offensive superstars that will be playing in this game and each lost two of their last three games. This is also expected to be a high scoring game with an O/U of 67.5.
Why Kansas Has Value at -13.5
Both teams have had quite the bowl game winning drought, with the Jayhawks last claiming the Insight Bowl in 2008 while UNLV last came out on top in the postseason in the 2000 Las Vegas Bowl. One big advantage KU has here though is familiarity with at least playing in a bowl game, as coach Lance Leipold took them to the Liberty Bowl in his first year last season. where they lost a thrilling 55-53 contest to Arkansas.
Bowl games can be interesting because there’s such a long layoff between the regular season finale, but one would think a running game would travel better than a passing attack. KU RB Devin Neal still might declare for the NFL, but he’s playing Tuesday after ranking 15th in the nation with 1,209 yards and was 7th with 15 scores.
Neal ran for 100+ yards in the final three games of the regular season and had 6 TDs on the ground. UNLV was pretty leaky on defense this season, giving up 402.0 total yards a game including 163.3 on the ground.
Why UNLV Has Value at +13.5
Each squad has a chance to come out rusty – as every team does with the long layoff before bowl season – but UNLV has played more recently than Kansas. The Rebels made the MWC Championship Game after 9 losing seasons in a row, and although they got blown out 44-20 by Boise State that still may help them in their game with Kansas.
The Jayhawks have a stud RB in Neal, but UNLV counters with one of the more prolific receivers in the country in Ricky White who was 4th in the country with 1,386 receiving yards. White has helped true freshman QB Jayden Maiava get more confident as the full-time starter as he went 7-2 since taking over in week 3.
The UNLV passing attack could get going on Tuesday night since KU has been so bad vs. the run. The Jayhawks give up 167.1 ypg on the ground, so if they try to stack the box we should see plenty of connections between Maiava and White.
Free Guaranteed Rate Bowl Kansas vs UNLV Betting Pick
A solid running game can definitely travel, and the Jayhawks did have the advantage of playing in the tougher Big 12 Conference this season. That being said, is 13 points too many to be giving a UNLV team that can throw the ball over the field? Either way, this total might be too high for a Kansas team that can churn the clock.
Free Pick: Under 67.5