Kansas Jayhawks Bowl Preview: UNLV Awaits in Valley of the Sun

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The best regular season in 15 years for the Kansas Jayhawks landed the program in somewhat familiar territory this bowl season.

The Jayhawks are set to play in the 2023 Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix against UNLV, marking the second time the program’s played in the game. Of the last four bowl game destinations for KU since 2007, the Phoenix bowl has hosted the Jayhawks twice. KU won the 2008 version of the game over Minnesota, 42-21.

Fast forward a decade-and-a-half, and coach Lance Leipold is bringing the Jayhawks back to the Valley. Kansas sports betting sites list KU as a 12-point favorite.

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When is the Guaranteed Rate Bowl?

Date/Time/Stadium Matchup Betting Line
Dec. 26, 8 p.m. (ESPN), Chase Field, PhoenixKansas vs. UNLVKansas -12.0; O/U 64.5; ML: KU -425, UNLV +340
Odds provided by ESPN BET Kansas.

Jayhawks Flew to New Heights in 2023

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Kansas’ 8-4 record this fall was how they did so while playing three different quarterbacks due to injuries. Starter Jalon Daniels, who entered the year as a Heisman trophy darkhorse candidate at Kansas betting apps, missed most of the year with nagging back injuries. Backup Jason Bean shined for the team before he too battled injury issues.

That led to freshman Cole Ballard starting games against Texas Tech (on Nov. 11) and Kansas State (on Nov. 18), both of which KU lost, which ultimately kept it from capturing the program’s first 10-win season since 2007.

Running back Devin Neal was the star for KU, with the junior out of Lawrence racking up 1,209 yards and 15 touchdowns, while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Neal now has 3,006 yards across three seasons to go with 32 rushing touchdowns and three more receiving scores for Leipold and company for good measure.

The presence of Neal and KU’s stable of quarterbacks has inspired Caesars Sportsbook Kansas to list the Jayhawks as a -455 moneyline favorite Dec. 26.

Daniels has already announced he’ll be back at KU for 2024, which should provide some level of stability, though offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki is leaving the program to take the same position at Penn State. Despite Kotelnicki leaving Lawrence for State College, it seems the future should still be bright next fall, as Leipold brings in the 45th-ranked recruiting class in the nation, per 247 Sports.

Author

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetKansas.com specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years.

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