Will The Kansas Jayhawks Extend West Virginia's Skid?

Kansas Jayhawks

Willie Bee

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 1:48 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 1:48 PM UTC

Sitting on top of the latest coaches poll, the Kansas Jayhawks are underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds tonight when they travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia.

Season: 25-24-2 (-1.40)

Man, is this ever a big game for the West Virginia Mountaineers. Ranked 7/8 in the two polls a week ago, Bob Huggins' kids stumbled twice on the schedule to plunge to No.18 in the latest conventional rankings, and now they have to go up against a Kansas Jayhawks bunch that is tops in the land according to the coaches, No. 2 per the writers.

The good news is the Mountaineers are at home in the WVU Coliseum. The bad news, at least for those who don't like him, is Dick Vitale will be part of the 7 PM broadcast on ESPN. But then we come right back to more good news, that being SBR's top sportsbooks expect West Virginia to snap their mini-skid and beat the Jayhawks.

Shops are split about 50-50 on specific spread, some forcing WVU backers to give up 4½ and others offering the Mountaineers at -4. Not everyone has posted a total just yet, the books that have listing the game at 161½ with the teams trending in opposite directions recently.


Jayhawks Underdogs For Just 2nd Time This Season

It's going to be a tough week on the road for Bill Self and Kansas (18-1 straight up, 6-11 against the spread). I suspect the NCAA basketball odds for this one might be a little different if it wasn't for the Jayhawks facing a trip to Lexington this Saturday to take on Kentucky in a Big 12/SEC Challenge match, and at least a point on tonight's spread is likely due to KU possibly looking ahead to that game.

Though West Virginia (15-4 SU, 7-7 ATS) slid in the conventional polls, the Mountaineers still rank second in BPI which is updated daily. They'll obviously have to do a better job tonight than they did last Wednesday on this floor vs. Oklahoma, the Mountaineers falling in overtime despite being favored by 16 at the closing bell.

 KU Trending 'Under,' WVU Trending 'Over'

It's hard to believe these teams never met before they were conference foes, but that just means the entire series history is recent and far more relevant. Kansas holds a 6-3 lead in the budding rivalry, each of those games coming since West Virginia joined the Big 12 in 2013. It's the first time the Jayhawks have not been favored, the Mountaineers obviously covering their three outright wins plus one more as the 'dog. The teams split home-&-home outright in 2016, KU winning the rubber match in the Big 12 tourney tilt. West Virginia scored a mild 74-63 upset in Morgantown last year with the final never really threatening a 156 point total.

Kansas has failed to cover three of its last four contests, though 'under' bettors were rewarded each time. Meanwhile, West Virginia is a bankroll-draining 1-5 ATS the last six times out while 'over' bettors have cashed in all six games. I'm leaning to the low side of the scoreboard in this one for my free college basketball pick, but like taking the Jayhawks and the points even more.

Free NCAAB Pick: Kansas +4½ Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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