Unfortunately, it's tricky to know which version of UNLV we're going to get on a given night. As a result, let's back the Kansas Jayhawks as massive favorites on the NCAA basketball betting odds board.
Though UNLV has already beaten one of the best teams in the country, the team still isn't being given much of a chance against the mighty Kansas Jayhawks this evening. NCAA Basketball odds makers have Kansas favored by 12.5 points on their home court.
We see a total of 136 trading at most of the sportsbooks at this point in time. At first glance, we wouldn't be surprised to see this game go over the posted number, as both teams have plenty of guys who can score the rock.
No one saw a 25-point loss to Temple coming back on December 22nd (one of SBR's handicappers did expect Temple to cover +7). It was a shocking performance from the Jayhawks, but to their credit, they were able to respond by getting right back on track with a win over Kent State on Tuesday. Kansas won 78-62 in a relatively straightforward victory inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Kelly Oubre Jr. was highly efficient, scoring 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with seven rebounds. Perry Ellis had 15 points and eight boards, while Frank Mason III put up a 14/5/5 line. The Jayhawks shot 49.2 percent overall and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc, which more than made up for a horrible 59.1 pertcent conversion rate from the free throw line. Kansas was also dominant on the glass, outrebounding the Golden Flashes 44-31.
Oubre's development is going to be crucial to the Jayhawks' chances this season. He's widely considered one of the most talented freshman in the country, but he's run into his fair share of obstacles so far. Only time will tell if he can keep it going and avoid entering Bill Self's doghouse once more. With the likes of Ellis, Mason III, Selden and another freshman talent in Cliff Alexander on board too, Kansas appears to be in prime position to compete for the crown in an immensely difficult Big 12 conference.
There isn't really another way to explain UNLV's season so far other than the word "strange." Whereas the Rebels are the only team in the country to have beaten Arizona, they've also gone and gotten crushed by teams they should be staying competitive with. They've been extremely hit-or-miss and thus have been a team we've stayed away from for the most part.
We last saw UNLV in action on New Year's Eve in a 76-71 road loss to Wyoming, the team's fourth loss (9-4) of the season. Despite 29 points and seven rebounds out of Christian Wood, the Rebels still fell short, as Rashad Vaughn was the only other Rebel to hit double figures in scoring.
That's just the way it's been for UNLV this season though. Vaughn and Wood have been the team's primary scorers, averaging a combined 33.6 points per game. No one else on the team is putting up more than 7.5 PPG, so that lack of balance has been a tough problem for the Rebels to overcome. That's certainly a concern heading into a meeting with the Jayhawks, who can get going offensively in a hurry.
NCAA Basketball Pick
Placing your NCAA Basketball pick against Kansas at home is a very dangerous proposition, so we'll "play it safe" and lay this huge number. We feel a lot more comfortable siding with the Jayhawks to dominate rather than putting in our faith in an inconsistent UNLV team.
Kansas got a good kick in the butt in that devastating loss to Temple and that's likely resulted in a revigorated sense of focus and urgency for Self's team.
Taking nothing for granted, we look for the Jayhawks to show their class in another victory at home, where they've still yet to lose this season. Back the favorites with your sports picks.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -13 at YouWager