Kansas vs


at Phoenix
Tue, Dec 26
6:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 239
Odds: UNLV +13, Total: 64.5

Game Analysis

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Note: The line on Kansas went down to 7.5 with rumors of KU quarterback Jason Bean being sick. He was sick but not sick enough not to play. The line was 13 when I released the Best Bet on the Over to subscribers.

1-Star Best Bet – *Over (64.5) – Kansas (-13/-7.5)  41   Nevada-Las Vegas  31

I see a lot of points being scored in this game. The elite Kansas attack should score consistently against a porous UNLV defense that really struggled against better than average offensive teams, while UNLV, with a young star quarterback and All-American WR, should score a higher-than-average number points against a good, but not great Kansas defense.

Kansas averaged 32.3 points and 7.0 yppl this season and they were better with Jason Bean at quarterback, as Bean’s median compensated yards per pass play rating (I used a median to dampen the affect of the 14.7 yppp he had against Cincy) is 1.2 yppp better than Jalon Daniels, who started 3 games before his back issues started, and 2.0 yppp better than Cole Ballard, who played most of 2 games when Bean was injured. Not only was Bean great (9.2 yards per pass play) but the Jayhawks averaged 221 yards at 6.1 yards per rushing play on the ground and overall rate at 1.5 yppl better than average offensively (adjusted down from average for the positive outlier against Cincy; 11.0 yppl).

UNLV’s defense allowed 6.2 yppl to teams that would combine to average just 5.5 yppl against an average team and that unit was picked apart by the 3 better than average offensively teams that they faced – giving up a combined 8.1 yppl to Michigan, San Jose State and Boise State, who collectively are 0.8 yppl worse than the Jayhawks’ offense. Two of those games were with star safety Jerrae Williams playing (he missed 8 games) and overall the Rebels’ defense was the same in the games he missed as the games he played in. Kansas only faced two bad defensive teams with Bean at quarterback and they scored 48 points against Missouri State (just 0.2 yppl worse than UNLV on defense) and 49 points against Cincy (0.2 yppl better on defense than UNLV). I project 542 total yards at 8.2 yppl in this game for the Jayhawks, which includes the adjustment for playing in a dome.

UNLV’s offense struggled the first two weeks before Jayden Maiava took over at quarterback early in week 3. Maiava averaged 8.3 yards per pass play (against teams that would allow 6.8 yppp to an average QB) and the Rebels were 0.4 yppl better than average offensively with Maiava on the field. They’re actually better than that given that the coaching staff went heavily to the run game with big leads in many games this season. UNLV ran the ball 56% of the time with Maiava on the field but they ran it only 50% of the time when they didn’t have a big 4th quarter lead, making their offense 0.2 yppl better (offense +0.6 yppl with 50% pass plays). The pace of play is also higher for UNLV when they face another good team (because they run less) and they extra 3.4 plays expected in this game because of the faster pace adds 2.3 points to the total points projection, which is certainly not in the line.

The Kansas defense is 0.3 yppl better than average (5.9 yppl allowed to FBS teams that would combine to average 6.2 yppl against an average team) but I project 436 yards at 6.2 yppl for the Rebels in this game.

Based on all games for the season, without adjustments, the math would have predicted 64.7 points in this game in a dome. However, Kansas is better offensively with Bean at quarterback (they were last season too) and only 55% of the pass plays for Kansas against FBS opponents this season were from Bean – so the offense gets a significant upgrade using his metrics vs the overall team’s yards per pass play. UNLV’s offense is 0.3 yppl better with Maiava than it was overall this season and another 0.2 yppl on top of that for throwing the ball more against better teams, which equates to 3.3 points better than their season rating – and UNLV’s faster pace against better teams also gives Kansas more plays from scrimmage (adding 1.3 points to the total). I get 72.2 total points – and favor KU by 11.5 points (made it 10 because they apply to a 23-58 ATS big bowl favorite situation) – and I’ll play Over for a 1-Star Best Bet at 66 points or less.

Note: There was some speculation that Maiava may decide to transfer but there is a video of him practicing with his teammates from a few days ago (Dec 18), which I will take as a sign that he’s playing. Also, it appears that the initial report of Maiava being in the transfer portal on 12/4 was due to another Maiava (from BYU) entering the portal that day. It appears to be sloppy reporting that started those rumors. I certainly hope so.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Kansas
  • UNLV


  • Run Plays 36.3 35.4
  • Run Yards 220.6 193.5
  • YPRP 6.1 5.5


  • Pass Comp 14.5 19.6
  • Pass Att 23.1 29.6
  • Comp % 62.6% 66.0%
  • Pass Yards 217.2 217.3
  • Sacks 1.5 2.4
  • Sack Yards 11.9 14.4
  • Sack % 5.9% 7.4%
  • Pass Plays 24.5 32.0
  • Net Pass Yards 205.3 202.9
  • YPPP 8.4 6.3


  • Total Plays 60.8 67.4
  • Total Yards 425.9 396.5
  • YPPL 7.0 5.9


  • Int 0.7 0.9
  • Int % 3.2% 3.1%
  • Fumbles 0.5 0.4
  • Turnovers 1.2 1.3
  • Points 33.6 25.8
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