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Picks, prediction for Kansas vs. Howard in First Round of 2023 NCAA Tournament

We go over the odds and betting lines on DraftKings Sportsbook for Kansas vs. Howard in the First Round of 2023 March Madness.

Feb 18, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Jalen Wilson (10) shoots a free throw against the Baylor Bears during the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

The West Region action kicks off on Thursday, March 16 with the Kansas Jayhawks (27-7) facing Howard Bison (22-12) in the opening round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m. ET from Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Let’s review the betting odds over at DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks for this First Round matchup.

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Howard picks

Spread: Kansas -20.5
Over/Under: 145.5
Moneyline: Kansas -4000, Howard +1500

The Bison deserve all the praise for punching their ticket back to the big dance for the first time in over three decades, but in reality, the storybook campaign will end in Des Moines. The Jayhawks are battle-tested and remain a serious contender to advance to the Final Four, so it’s not a question as to if they’ll win on Thursday. What remains to be seen is how many points Kansas will beat Howard by.

The defending champions are just 2-4 against the spread in their last six games and 3-4 in neutral-site matchups this season. Meanwhile, the Bison have covered the spread in four of its last five outings. While the Jayhawks should win outright, I’m not entirely sold on them being able to cover that 20.5-point spread.

Pick: Howard +20.5