Kansas vs. Oklahoma Odds & Picks 1/18/22

by | Last updated Jan 18, 2022 | cbb

Kansas Jayhawks (14-2 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (12-5 SU, 8-9 ATS)
When: Tuesday, January 18, 7 p.m.
Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Okla.
Point Spread: KU -3.5/OKLA +3.5 (MyBookie)
Moneyline: KU -155/OKLA +135
Total: 144.5

Last Time Out:

Kansas routed West Virginia 85-59; Oklahoma lost 59-58 to TCU in overtime.

About the Matchup:

If you’re a Big 12 team, the last place you want to be in January or February is facing a must-win game with the Kansas Jayhawks coming to town, but that’s exactly where Oklahoma sits after losing three of its past four league games. The Sooners have had some decidedly mixed reviews in Porter Moser’s first year in Norman, as they’ve mostly been a home-court hero but have one head-scratching loss to an awful Butler squad on the resume. They’ve managed to win both of their home games in the Big 12 to date but considering those were against Kansas State and Iowa State, the Sooners haven’t really proven much of anything yet.

The difficulty curve gets a big spike here in facing Kansas, as the Jayhawks have shown that they’re really good when they play their game. They looked scary good against West Virginia in their most recent time on the court, but they’ve been a bit inconsistent when they get outside of Allen Fieldhouse. Against an Oklahoma defense that’s one of the weakest in the Big 12 (which means they’re only above average instead of excellent), this is one of Kansas’ few opportunities to put up a solid offensive showing away from Lawrence.

Scouting the Jayhawks:

Guard-heavy teams tend to be great shooters, and that’s the case with the Jayhawks, as all five of their minutes leaders shoot 45 percent or better from the floor. But Kansas is built around two of its guards in particular: Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun. Agbaji, in particular, is dangerous because he can score from anywhere on the floor and is almost as accurate from deep as he is from the interior.

But the one weakness for the Jayhawks is that their interior play just hasn’t been up to par. That hasn’t hurt them yet because the Big 12 is a guard-driven league, but in the wrong situation, the Jayhawks could find themselves pounded inside. For whatever reason, Jalen Wilson and David McCormack haven’t really won Bill Self’s trust this season and aren’t spending a lot of time on the court. It shouldn’t matter against Oklahoma, which has been mediocre at best in the paint, but it’s a worry for the future.

Scouting the Sooners:

The Sooners have got to take better care of the basketball if they’re going to start turning close losses into wins. Oklahoma gets off a lot of great shots in the interior, but when you turn the ball over 15 times, it’s tough to get your offense in a reliable rhythm. The Sooners are more forward-heavy than guard-heavy, as Tanner Groves and Jalen Hill are their best shooters, but they tend to get mid-range shots rather than 3-pointers when they go on the attack.

For Oklahoma, it’s key to avoid getting in a deep hole because this team can’t really make up deficits from the perimeter. The Sooners have success against teams that are willing to give them the mid-range play because none of their five starters shoot better than 38 percent from deep. Depth is a concern as well, as all five starters play at least 26 minutes a game, and four of them play almost 30.

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Kansas will Cover If: The Jayhawks can use their interior players to keep Oklahoma out of the paint and make the Sooners’ mid-range game difficult to execute. Oklahoma will try to get inside from the beginning, and Kansas cannot afford to let the Sooners get good looks at the hoop.

Oklahoma will Cover If: The Sooners can limit their miscues. Kansas doesn’t have the help of the Allen Fieldhouse crowd, but the Jayhawks are still every bit as capable of forcing turnovers from a team that has a tendency to make mistakes with the ball. Oklahoma needs to have its possessions end with baskets and rebounds, not turnovers.

Dan’s Best Prop Bets

Kansas and high-scoring games don’t really go together in the Noble Center. The Jayhawks have failed to break 70 points on their past three visits to Norman, and I’m not sure that changes here. The Jayhawks are shooting well, but they also aren’t taking many shots, and the Sooners should be ready to play solid defense. The under makes a lot of sense.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

Can Oklahoma win this game? Yes. Will the Sooners find a way? I can’t say that I’m buying. This game is going to come down to guard play, and the Jayhawks’ guards are better than the Sooners’ guards. Kansas has lost on three of its past four trips south down I-35, but those were better Oklahoma squads than this one. I’ll take the Jayhawks to cover.