A battle of undefeated Big 12 teams will take place in Austin this weekend when the Texas Longhorns play host to the Kansas Jayhawks. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
While both teams might be 4-0 and coming off wins in the conference opener, Texas is more than a two-touchdown favorite over Kansas. That speaks to how much better the Longhorns are than the rest of the Big 12, especially this year where they are favored to win the championship in their final season in the league.
The problem is, this is as big of a look-ahead spot as you are going to get in college football. Texas has a rivalry matchup with Oklahoma slated for next week, and that showdown could ultimately have Big 12 championship ramifications.
Kansas, meanwhile, is coming off its first bowl season since 2009 and appears to be even better on both sides of the ball. The Jayhawks delivered a 57-56 overtime upset of the Longhorns during their last trip to Austin two years ago, but Texas responded with a 55-14 thumping in Lawrence last season.
The question bettors have to answer is, will Saturday’s matchup be more like the former or the latter? Oddsmakers seem to favor a blowout, listing the Longhorns as 16.5-point favorites with an over/under of 61.5.
Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:
Kansas Jayhawks at Texas Longhorns
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Point spread (from FanDuel): Texas -16.5
Moneyline: Kansas +540/Texas -800
Analysis: Texas has produced the biggest win in college football this season by defeating Alabama on the road. The Longhorns just need to take care of business against inferior teams to put themselves in a position to win a Big 12 championship and earn a CFP berth.
Yet Kansas might be the best offense that Texas will have faced thus far. The Jayhawks are averaging 37.8 points per game, which ranks 26th in the nation. Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki knows how to confuse a defense, as players like quarterback Jalon Daniels and running back Devin Neal have thrived in this system.
That’s probably why the market has pushed this spread down below 17 points after it opened closer to 20 earlier in the week. The total has also been bet down to the low 60s, as well.
Texas raced out to a 41-0 lead in last year’s meeting before letting off the gas. There is a chance the Longhorns get off to another strong start, though don’t ultimately show as much when they are able to create some breathing room.
As a result, the best betting angle is taking the over on KU’s second-half team total or waiting for a live spread. We think the Jayhawks could stay within striking distance, but the current spread is a pass now that the line is below 17.
Prediction: Texas 38, Kansas 21