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Then 11th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats head to Knoxville to play Tennessee in the rivalry formerly known as the Battle for the Barrel. Kentucky basically lost the SEC East title game this past weekend, falling to Georgia 34-17, while Tennessee had a ho-hum victory over Charlotte, 14-3. This has been a series dominated by the Volunteers, who hold a 79-25-9 advantage, but the Wildcats snapped a five-game losing streak to UT with a 29-26 victory in Lexington a season ago.
Vols in need of win
Tennessee sits in a tie with Vanderbilt for last place in the SEC East, both with 1-4 records. They also both have 4-5 overall records, which means that Tennessee will have to win two of their final three contests in order to become bowl eligible. Their lone in-conference win was a surprising one, 30-24 over then 21st-ranked Auburn, on the road. Since then they have lost two of three but did manage to beat
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) November 4, 2018
Charlotte this past Saturday in one of the more uneventful games of the weekend. The Vols put together one scoring drive. A six-play, 63 yarder that resulted in a 16-yard touchdown pass with Jarrelt Guaranano with 17 seconds left in the first quarter. Other than that they scored on Maquez Callaway 82-yard-punt return earlier in the game. That was it. They allowed a 49ers field goal in the second quarter, but that was all the scoring for both teams on the day. The team amassed less than 200 yards of offense on the day, which was 52 less than the Niners, and lost the time of possession and first down battles. If they have any hope of taking down Kentucky, they will need to their offense to show up. The Orange and White clad fans in Knoxville are hoping that this past Saturday’s performance was just a vanilla play calling game to lure Kentucky into a false sense of security as UT attempts to become bowl eligible.
Wildcats Wanting to Close Strong
It has been a special year in Lexington. Kentucky’s football team is for once garnering national attention. The squad raced out of the gates with five straight victories and in the process snapped a 31-game losing streak to the Florida Gators, plus bet Mississippi State and South Carolina to begin the season 3-0 in the SEC. They would push that record to 5-1 in the SEC before falling to UGA. They now sit a full game behind the Bulldogs in the standings, but Georgia also holds the tiebreaker which basically counts as a two-game lead at this point in the season.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 6, 2018
While nobody can argue that the team played their hearts out against the Dawgs, it just was not enough. Despite only allowing two scores in the first half, they still entered the locker rooms down by 11 and at one point in the fourth quarter, trailed by three touchdowns. offensively they were outgained 444-310. Terry Wilson has 1,214 yards and six touchdowns passing this season but the squad’s star is Benny Snell Jr. The running back has 1,008 yards on 199 carries and 10 touchdowns. That is more than a touchdown for every 20 carries. Lynn Bowden Jr. is the team’s top target with 509 yards on 49 receptions with three scores. They are only averaging .4 more points per game than the Vols and 23 yards of offense more. Defensively is where they make up the difference, allowing just 311 yards per contest, nearly 60 less than Tennessee.
- 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. Kentucky
- 4-1 ATS in their last six home games vs. Kentucky.
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a double-digit loss at home.
- 1-7 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This one started off as a 3.5 point spread but nobody would take the Vols so Vegas is now offering you 5.5 point to do so. Do it . . .. take the points here. Tennessee’s program has been down and out for years and a victory over a rival SEC school could be just the formula it needs to win another rivalry game at Vandy to end the year and head bowling. It may not be the start of a Patriots-like dynasty, but it is a start. UK lost their shot at the Eastern division this past weekend and does not have the beat Tennessee monkey on their back this year as they just did that a season ago. UT did not show Kentucky much in their win over Charlotte and will release the dogs (even Smokey) this weekend.
Prediction: Pick: Tennessee +5.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Let’s face it. Even if Tennessee was running a vanilla offense against Charlotte a week ago, it is not like they are some offensive juggernaut whenever they want to be. Kentucky has not exactly been lighting the world on fire offensively of late either. Look for both sides to struggle on offense. The Under has hit in the last four Kentucky road games and four of the last five times UT has played a team with a winning record.