Two of the surprise teams of 2022 square off in a big Week 2 non-conference matchup.
Kansas is a 3-point favorite at home against Illinois (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) as the Jayhawks look to build on a bowl appearance a season ago. Kansas snapped a years-long streak of futility with six wins in 2022 and the school’s first bowl since the 2008 season. Kansas hadn’t won more than three games in a season in the previous 12 years.
Illinois went 8-5 a season ago in its first winning season since 2011. Like Kansas, the Illini started the season hot; Illinois was 7-1 before losing four of its final five games.
The spread appears to assume that Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels will see significant playing time. Daniels, the Big 12 preseason offensive player of the year, didn’t play in Week 1 and has missed a lot of fall camp because of back stiffness. According to ESPN, Daniels is set to make his season debut Friday night.
Jason Bean started in Daniels’ place in Kansas’ season-opening win and may see time again if Daniels isn’t ready for a full-time role. In nine games last season, Daniels threw for 2,014 yards and 18 TDs to just four interceptions while rushing for 425 yards and seven scores.
Illinois squeaked by Toledo 30-28 in Week 1. Former Ole Miss QB Luke Altmyer started for the Illini and was 18-of-26 passing for 206 yards, two TDs and an interception. He also rushed nine times for 69 yards and led the team on the ground. Illinois’ offense hinged a lot on RB Chase Brown a season ago. Now that he’s in the NFL, Altmyer looks to be the focal point in 2023.
Kansas’ defense was its worst unit in 2022 and allowed 35.5 points per game. We’re hoping to see some improvement Friday night and are eyeing under 57.5 points. Illinois will likely try to keep the ball for as long as it can and limit Kansas’ possessions.
U.S. Open semifinals
Oddsmakers like the chances of a Novak Djokovic vs. Carlos Alcaraz U.S. Open final on Sunday. Djokovic is a whopping -1100 to take down American Ben Shelton, while Alcaraz is -400 to beat Daniil Medvedev.
Shelton is +333 to steal the first set from one of the best players ever. He took down Frances Tiafoe in the quarterfinals and Tommy Paul in the Round of 16 to get to the semis. Shelton and Djokovic’s match begins at 2 p.m. ET with Alcaraz and Medvedev to follow.
On the women’s side, Coco Gauff is a slight underdog to win the final Saturday over Aryna Sabalenka. Gauff is at +100 to win, while Sabalenka is at -120. Sabalenka lost 6-0 in the first set of her semifinal matchup to Madison Keys but came back to closely win the second and third sets and advance to Saturday’s final.
Mariners visit the Rays
George Kirby starts for the Mariners on Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Mariners are -115 to win as Taj Bradley starts for the Rays. Seattle enters the game a half-game back of the Houston Astros and 2.5 games ahead of the Texas Rangers in the AL West, while the Rays are four games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the lead in the AL East.
Who cashed bets Thursday night?
Lions betters didn’t need the points in Detroit’s 21-20 upset win at the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s the second consecutive season the defending Super Bowl champion has lost at home to start the season after the Buffalo Bills beat the Los Angeles Rams a season ago.