Duke vs. Kansas Odds
The temperatures soared to 90 degrees and the humidity was near choking. The streets were filled with trash as a foul stench erupted from every gutter and trash can along the walk.
Those were just a couple of highlights from an April trip to New Orleans, where both Duke and Kansas competed in the Final Four of college basketball.
Those same adjectives used to describe the streets of NOLA were used in a similar tone for years about the football programs of these two schools.
Fast-forward nearly six months later and one of these schools is sending a football team to October undefeated.
Mike Elko has made an immediate impact for the Blue Devils, not just in a perfect record, but covering against two Power Five opponents in Northwestern and Temple.
Those two opponents combined for 141 total rushing yards, as the Elko 4-2-5 that had so much success in South Bend and College Station now resides in the Research Triangle.
For Kansas, the turnaround for head coach Lance Leipold is remarkable. Gone are the days of a heavy-spending athletic director in Jeff Long, or an oblivious head coach in Les Miles.
Leipold continued to take Buffalo to the conference championship with cellar recruiting rankings in the MAC. Now the head coach is attempting to do the same in the Big 12.
After being greater than a touchdown underdog in victories over West Virginia and Houston, the Jayhawks now have to play the role of hunted.
The defensive turnaround was expected, considering the track record of Elko.
The Blue Devils are fourth nationally in Havoc and Line Yards, meeting opponents at the point of attack or in the backfield. 13 players have recorded a pressure, and the sack leaders have come from the defensive interior.
A pair of highly-graded corners have kept passing attacks in check. Joshua Pickett has a top-20 forced incompletion rate, while slot corner Brandon Johnson is the highest-graded defender of any player with 80 snaps at the position.
Elko has done a fantastic job of limiting explosive plays and keeping opponents out of the end zone. The Blue Devils have allowed only nine opponent possessions to cross the 40-yard line.
While the defense has been much improved, the offense deserves a fair share of credit behind coordinator Kevin Johns.
Duke fields the 12th-highest rate of standard downs snaps with a Success Rate of 28th nationally. Quarterback Riley Leonard has just one Turnover Worthy Play on the season while rushing for 164 yards.
The bread and butter of the offense comes in running backs Jaylen Coleman and Jordan Waters. The duo has nearly the same amount of attempts and yards, but Waters’ numbers pop off the page.
The fourth-year rusher has created 12 missed tackles on 24 attempts, exceeding his career number of missed tackles that stood at 11. Waters averages five yards after contact, making him the fifth-most elusive running back, per PFF grading.
Rock Chalk entered the season with steam on a win total from 1.5 to 2.5. All of those tickets are cashed, as the Jayhawks look to a postseason return for the first time since a 2008 trip to the Insight Bowl.
Kansas and its fans would love a trip to the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix, as listed in Brett McMurphy’s latest bowl projections.
Quarterback Jalon Daniels had a terrible pandemic season, almost tripling his Big Time Throws with Turnover Worthy Plays. That same quarterback now has seven passing touchdowns to just a single interception while gaining 208 yards on designed runs.
In what might be a first for a quarterback, Daniels has a 68% adjusted completion rate in a clean pocket, a number that rises to 92% in 19 pressured drop backs this season.
Defenses that key on Daniels have suffered the consequences of coordinator Andy Kotelnicki’s playbook.
The questions for Kansas come on the defensive side of the ball. The Jayhawks are outside the top 90 in Havoc and Passing Success Rate.
Kansas did play as multi-score underdogs against West Virginia and Houston, but opposing offenses have had plenty of success in standard downs leading to points in scoring position.
The Jayhawks currently sit 99th in opponent third-down conversions.
Duke vs. Kansas Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Duke and Kansas match up statistically:
Duke Offense vs. Kansas Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Kansas Offense vs. Duke Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||79||74|
|Seconds per Play||30.1 (120)||27.8 (93)|
|Rush Rate||59.3% (33)||60.6% (27)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Duke vs. Kansas Betting Pick
When defending the Duke offense, you must put an emphasis on stopping the run, as the Blue Devils have two running backs and a quarterback capable of breaking explosive plays.
The Kansas defense is 31st in Rushing Success Rate with a Stuff Rate of 10th nationally. Only two rushing attempts have exceeded 20 yards against the Jayhawks.
The Duke offensive line against the front seven of Kansas is evenly matched, but the Jayhawks’ rank of 11th in tackling will prevent missed tackles at the second level. For Duke to get points on the board, methodical, multi-play drives are needed.
The handicap in this game is what Daniels and the Kansas offense can do against Elko’s 4-2-5 defense.
Although the competition has not been up to West Virginia and Houston levels, the Blue Devils are harassing opponents with pass breakups and tackles for loss. Duke is top-30 in coverage and Finishing Drives after games against the offenses of Temple and Northwestern.
More importantly, the Blue Devils have not allowed explosive plays on the ground or through the air.
The Action Network projection on the game sits directly on Kansas -7.5, leaving no value in the market. The better bet may come on a total that has taken nothing but steam on the over after an opening of 60.5.
Kansas is mid-FBS in tempo at 27.8 seconds per play, but Duke has been focused on methodical drives and burning clock.
The Blue Devils have one of the slower tempos in the nation at 30.1 seconds per play, a note that Elko reinforced in his weekly presser. Keeping a low play and possession rate does not put the defense at risk.
Key totals in this range are 65, followed by a lower percentage of games that fall on 66 and 69. Any number over 66 deserves an investment, with an increase in volume at 69.
As for the side, expect to see sharp action on Duke at +9 and Kansas at -7. Because these two teams run a slower pace of play and have excelled in tacking and limiting explosiveness, the under is the look.
Pick: Under 66.5 or Better