It’s hard to invest on a home underdog that is 2-45 in its last 47 conference games, but that is exactly what I am advocating with Kansas as the wrong team is favored. The home team is 13-4 SU and 12-6-1 ATS in this series, and I expect that trend to continue in Lawrence Saturday afternoon.
The fundamental analysis between these teams is quite depressing as the numbers confirm that both squads deserve to be 2-6. Kansas is averaging 16.2 points on 332 total yards at 4.7 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.4 yards per play to a mediocre offensive squad. Meanwhile, Iowa State is incapable of stopping anyone as the Cyclones are allowing 38.2 points on 492 total yards at 6.1 yards per play. The biggest issue facing Iowa State’s defense is a weak front seven that is yielding 5.5 yards per rush play to a group of running backs that would combine to average 5.0 yards per rush play.
Let’s also note that Iowa State is allowing 45.0 points on 547 total yards at 6.4 yards per play in conference play this season, while also giving up 45.7 points on 563 total yards at 6.6 yards per play over its last three games. Needless to say, Iowa State is not a team you want to be laying points with on the road, regardless of how inept the opposing team’s offense is.
Iowa State also takes the field with a subpar offense that is averaging 25.7 points on 360 total yards at 4.9 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.1 yards per play to a mediocre offensive squad. Interestingly, Kansas’ stop unit, which is 0.2 yards per play worse than average (6.1 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.9 yards per play), matches up well against the Cyclones’ attack. In fact, Iowa State will struggle to throw the ball against a very good Kansas secondary that is 0.4 yards per play better than average (7.3 yards per pass play to teams that would combine to average 7.7 yards per pass play).
Iowa State’s passing game is 0.7 yards per pass play worse than average so there is little to no chance that the Cyclones will have success moving the chains through the air in this game. By forcing Iowa State into a one-dimensional offense, the Jayhawks will be able to stack the box and effectively shut down a pedestrian Cyclone ground game that is averaging just 3.5 yards per rush play against teams that would combine to allow 3.5 yards per rush play.
The Jayhawks are coming off a humiliating 60-14 loss to Baylor, but that is actually good news for Kansas investors as Clint Bowen’s squad is a perfect 6-0 ATS following a blowout loss by 25 or more points. Kansas is also 16-2 SU and 13-5 ATS at home versus teams with losing records, including 6-1 SU and ATS against conference foes. In contrast, Iowa State is 5-15 SU in its last twenty games, including 1-12 SU in Big 12 Conference play. Finally, Iowa State is a shocking 11-35 SU on the road and 2-5 ATS as a road favorite. Grab the points with Kansas and invest with confidence.