Arkansas Razorbacks vs Kansas Jayhawks March Madness Betting Preview

Razorbacks Will Give Jayhawks All They Can Handle

ARK Arkansas to Lean On Defense to Get Past Kansas

The Arkansas Razorbacks got past ninth-seed Illinois the same way they’ve done it all season long, playing a hellacious brand of defense and getting to the free-throw line often. Eric Musselman’s team allowed just 63 points in their tournament opener while converting 22 of 29 free throw attempts (76%). Coming into the ‘Big Dance’ Arkansas ranked 13th in adjusted defensive efficiency (93.2), 25th in free throw rate, and 22nd in opponents’ three-point shooting (30.4%).

Good thing they were on their game defensively because they shot just 38.1% (24-63) from the floor, including 3-11 from three. Junior guard Davonte Davis carried the Razorbacks shooting 7-14 from the field while finishing with 16 points. Davis is used to showing up in big games.

The Arkansas native had 21 and 16 against top-seed Alabama in two losses this season but almost carried his team to an upset last February (86-83). Davis will play a major role against Kansas. Arkansas, a -2.5 point favorite, covered for the fifth time in their last eight games with their 73-63 round one win.

It was the second straight game the under-cashed, falling 7 ½ points shy of the 143.5 total. The Razorbacks closed -138 consensus moneyline favorite, winning straight-up for just the second time in their last five games.

For bettors, this wasn’t a game they had to sweat with Arkansas finding a double-digit lead in the first half, but we know that there is always a counterpunch, considering the history of Arkansas blowing leads this season. The Razorbacks will attempt to make the Elite for the third straight year. We continue our Arkansas vs Kansas preview by turning our attention to Kansas.

Arkansas vs Kansas

Date & Time:
Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moine, Iowa
Region: West

KU Kansas, Self-Motivated for Another Title Run

The Howard Bisons were steamrolled by the Kansas Jayhawks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 96-68. At the center of attention is head Coach Bill Self who is recovering from a heart procedure that forced him to be away from his team to start the tourney. According to Self, the next 48 hours will determine if the two-time National Championship coach can rejoin his team if they move deeper into the postseason.

Junior forward, Jalen Wilson finished with 20 points on the back of 8-16 shooting. The Denton, Texas, native also grabbed seven rebounds. Kansas shot 52.1% (38-73) from the field and 40.9% from three while nailing 11 of 13 free throws. The Kansas Jayhawks have now won 16 straight tournament openers. Assistant Norm Roberts will coach the team until Self is strong enough to resume his duties.

Heading into their showdown with Arkansas, the question is, will the Jayhawks’ lack of depth come back to haunt them against a tenacious Razorback defense? Kansas was a massive 21 ½ point favorite, compelling bettors to take the underdog after opening +22.5. That proved to be a mistake with Howard never threatening to cover. The public crossed their finger with plenty on moneyline wagers (+2000) with 67% of the ML dollars coming in on the Bisons.

The Jayhawks did manage to break their streak of seven straight unders when the 164 total points cruised over the 146.5 total. Kansas has covered three of their last four games after failing to cash tickets in three straight games to end the NCAAB regular season. Let’s move on in our Arkansas vs Kansas preview by diving into the betting numbers and who we think is the sharpest way to bet.

Handicapping the Game

Chances are, your odds of winning your March Madness bracket are low but we still have plenty of chances to cash massive tickets as we move from the fantasy of a perfect bracket to winning individual College Basketball picks and parlays. Kansas opened as a consensus 4 ½ point favorite against the Razorbacks. That number was quickly bet down to 3 ½ with 88% of the early spread money on Arkansas.

The total (143.5) has moved three points after 84% of the money flowed in on the under, pushing it down from its opener of 146.5. The wise guys are all in on Arkansas with 96% of the moneyline wagers on the Razorbacks, forcing bookmakers to move the moneyline from -210 to -170 (Kansas). Neither teams have recent injuries that will impact this game, although we would like to remind readers that 6-10, forward, Trevon Brazile, continues to be out with a knee injury.

Brazile played in eight games this season, scoring 20 or more three times. Bill Self is 41-57-1 ATS over the last three regular seasons, but 8-5 ATS in the postseason. Now you have to determine how much of an impact his lack of presence will be. Over the last three years, Eric Musselman is 45-36 ATS during the regular season and 6-7 ATS in the postseason.

Our recommendation is to take the Razorbacks who seem to up their game a notch on neutral courts, covering five of their last six while the Jayhawks don’t typically follow up a win with a good enough performance to cover the number in their following game (1-4 ATS after a win). The under is 10-4 in the Razorbacks’ last 14 games following an ATS win and 6-0 following a SU Jayhawk win.

That concludes our Arkansas vs Kansas preview. We wish you the best in the second round. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)

Arkansas vs Kansas

Last Updated: 3/17/2022 Team
Spread Jayhawks -3.5
Moneyline Jayhawks -165, Razorbacks +135
Total 144.5
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