SEC action here as Vanderbilt will travel to take on Kentucky. Both teams are coming off tough losses, with Vanderbilt losing by 10 at home to Florida, while Kentucky lost an overtime heartbreaker to Texas A & M. Kentucky had a bye last week, so they had an extra week of preparation to put the loss behind them. It should be a great game, as Vanderbilt looks to get their first conference win of the season. Oddsmakers have installed the Wildcats as 11 point favorites.
Rough Month For Vandy
Vanderbilt took care of business to start the season, beating two lesser teams the first two weeks. They’ve stumbled since, with their only win coming by four points over an FCS school. They only lost by five points at Notre Dame, and were winning entering the fourth quarter against Florida. The close losses suggest Vanderbilt has a strong chance to be competitive in this game, and that the 11 point spread may be a bit inflated.
Vandy has gotten inconsistent play from its quarterback, Kyle Shurmur, and likes to rely mainly on its ground game. They average around five yards per carry on the ground, but could have a tough time running the ball against a stout Kentucky defense.
How Vandy does in the trenches, particularly on offense, is the key matchup to watch in this game. If their offensive line can get some push on this tough defensive front and open up some running lanes, Vanderbilt will have a shot. That will be a tough task however, as Kentucky hasn’t allowed more than 20 points all season.
Kentucky Finally Has a Let Down
Mark Stoops’ squad was perhaps the biggest surprise in all of college football to start the season. They started the year 5-0, with wins over Florida, South Carolina, and Mississippi State. The launched themselves into the top 25, but finally had a letdown game against Texas A & M two weeks ago. They came very close to winning at multiple points, but ultimately lost by six in overtime.
The Wildcats play a bit of an old-fashioned style of play, relying on their stout defense and running game. They have almost twice as many rushing yards as passing yards, something that is almost unheard of in 2018. Quarterback Terry Wilson isn’t asked to throw the ball very often, and when he is he hasn’t been too successful.
This game will be the ultimate test of whether or not Kentucky is legit. They’ve been called phony by many in the national media all season, and have a chance to prove the doubters wrong if they can rebound from their loss to A & M. The bye week should help reduce the chances of coming out with a hangover from the overtime loss, but I still don’t know if this Wildcat offense is good enough to consider laying double digits with.
- 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game
- 8-17 ATS in their last 25 games following a straight up loss
- 1-6 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While I don’t think Vanderbilt has much of a chance to pull off an outright win, this number is simply too high to not grab the points. Vandy has shown they can be competitive against tough opponents, and this Kentucky offense hasn’t been able to do much of anything recently. It should be a hard fought game, and I don’t think this game will come close to ending up in the double digits.
Prediction: Vanderbilt +11
Full-Game Total Pick
I like the under a lot here. Kentucky’s defense has been one of the best in the nation, and neither team has an offense capable of putting up points in a hurry. Both teams will need long, methodical drives to score here, which should eat up a ton of clock. Both teams will try to avoid making mistakes and establish their running games, and I think this one will be very slow paced. Neither is equipped to chuck the ball down the field, so I think the under makes a lot of sense.