2023 Guaranteed Rate Bowl – Kansas vs UNLV

2023 Guaranteed Rate Bowl – Kansas vs UNLV

posted December 19

The Game

It’s time to get DIRTY in the DESERT as Kansas locks horns with UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. The Jayhawks (8-4) had a good season considering they lost their starting QB for a good chunk of the campaign and they managed to upset mighty Oklahoma along the way. UNLV (9-4) has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2023 season as they came out of nowhere to make the Mountain West Championship Game. Sadly, they fell to the Broncos by a score of 44-20 in that affair, but they’ve got a shot to bank an unthinkable 10th (!) win in this game.

The Details

Kansas -12.5 UNLV (64.5)


“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Kansas 38.5 UNLV 26

Kansas offense vs UNLV defense

The Jayhawks have an exciting and balanced offense that’s averaged 211 YPG on the ground (#8 FBS) and 223 YPG thru the air (#67). Their ace OC is off to Penn St but the Jayhawks should be just fine in this game running the same potent offense that they’ve had all season. QB Jason Bean has done a good job in relief of injured starter Jalon Daniels and he sports a nifty 12-4 TD to INT mark whilst being a very dangerous man to account for with his legs. They’ve got a deep collection of RBs led by 1,200-yard rusher Devin Neal and an underrated collection of WR/TEs. They do a great job of spreading the ball around so UNLV will have their hands full in this game. The best news of all for Kansas is that the Rebels don’t play much defense (#93 total defense, #87 run D, #95 pass efficiency D) and they looked horrid in their final two games allowing 37 to San Jose St and 44 to Boise St.

UNLV offense vs Kansas defense

The Rebels can hold their own of offense as they also possess a balanced attack (#37 rush, #54 pass) thanks to the play of rising star QB Jayden Maiava (63%, 14-8 TD to INT, 8.8 YPA) and a deep set of RBs. Their lead trio (Davis/Thomas/Lester) have combined to rush for over 1,600 yards and an impossible 27 (!) TDs. The Rebels also feature an NFL-bound WR in Ricky White (1,386, 17.1, 7 TD) who’ll provide a steep challenge for a mediocre Kansas secondary (#8 Big 12 pass efficiency D). The prospects get better for UNLV when you consider that Kansas has more trouble defending the run (#94 FBS) than the pass.

Trends, Intangibles and More!

Kansas should be mighty fired up for this game as they haven’t won a bowl game since the 2008 (!) Insight Bowl when they mopped the floor with Minnesota (W 42-21)……UNLV will also be motivated to GIT ER DONE as they haven’t posted a 10-win season since 1984 when they competed in something called the Pacific Coast Athletic Association and were led by star QB Randall Cunningham……The Jayhawks have played the #21 schedule whilst UNLV has dealt with the #98 docket.


Both teams will be able to SCORE the FOOTBALL. We think Kansas will get a few more stops and win the game by a comfortable margin but the price is a bit rich for our tastes (-12.5/-13). We may come back and reconsider a play on the ‘over’ but we haven’t punched a ticket yet.


No leanage

‘Official play’ implies this pick is one of our favorites of the week (perceived value, match-up, coaching, trends, etc.). We’re currently playing these picks for the same amount as the leans but it’s up to you how you want to manage your bankroll. Please see the Week in Review posts for more detail.

‘Lean’ implies we are placing a wager on the game.

‘No leanage’ implies we won’t have any action on the game.

Team totalsWe list the implied number based on the point spread and total when our analysis is posted. If a team total ends up being an official play we will post a widely available number at the time of pick release.