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Kentucky at Missouri: Analysis, Expert Picks & Predictions

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A look at what oddsmakers and experts have to say about Kentucky Wildcats vs. Missouri Tigers.

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NCAA Football: Kentucky at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend, another SEC game in which the Kentucky Wildcats are considered to be the underdog. While the Wildcats are indeed on the road against an explosive Missouri Tigers offense, they’re 4-1 in SEC this year with their one loss coming at Texas A&M in overtime.

On Saturday, the nation’s second-ranked Kentucky defense will clash with the 12th-ranked Missouri offense. With one side due to fall, recent years show that, despite Kentucky being viewed as the underdog, the Wildcats could come away victorious.

Analysis

Kentucky has played just two away games this season, fairing 1-1 in two of the most hostile environments in the SEC. While Missouri boasts a high-powered offense, the Wildcats have held all seven of their opponents under 20 points per contest this season.

While the Tigers have only been held under that mark just once thus far (at Alabama), the ability of Benny Snell to carve away at opposing defenses has the potential to slow down Missouri quarterback Drew Lock.

Lock is having another sensational season from the pocket but, aside from the quarterback, the Tigers don’t have much else going for them. Though Kentucky may have issues under center, every other aspect of the game is well-covered.

It’d be ignorant to completely write off a quality SEC quarterback but so would saying the Wildcats are seven-point underdogs. After playing up to their competition time & time again this season, expect nothing less as they look to handle business before hosting the Georgia Bulldogs next weekend.

Betting Trends

If you’re a gambler, Kentucky has either been the team you love or hate in college football this season. The ones who hate betting on Kentucky are the ones who pick against them when they’re underdogs. The Wildcats are 3-1 this year when underdogs.

The ones who love Kentucky are who understand the simple formula of bet on Kentucky to cover the spread as underdogs and not cover when favored. The Wildcats are 0-3 vs. the spread this season when favored (Murray State, Central Michigan and Vanderbilt), but are 4-0 against the spread as underdogs (Texas A&M, Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina).

That would suggest the smart play this week is to pick Kentucky to cover vs. Missouri in what’s a seven-point spread by some sportsbooks

Here is a look at the betting trends for both teams:

  • Kentucky is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games
  • Kentucky is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 6 games
  • Kentucky is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 games on the road
  • Kentucky is 7-18 SU in its last 25 games on the road
  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 8 games on the road
  • Kentucky is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Missouri
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kentucky’s last 6 games when playing Missouri
  • Missouri is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games
  • Missouri is 10-4 SU in its last 14 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Missouri’s last 6 games
  • Missouri is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games at home
  • Missouri is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games at home

Expert Picks

Barrett Sallee, Ben Kercheval, Chip Patterson, Jerry Palm & Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports are siding with the Wildcats to come within the seven-point spread. Barton Simmons & Dennis Dodd, though, expect the Tigers to cover.

Regarding how Kentucky fares straight-up, Palm & Sallee were the two lone experts to side with the 12th-ranked Wildcats.

USA Today experts Dan Wolken & George Schroder were outnumbered when picking Kentucky, as Eddie Timanus, Erick Smith, Jace Evans & Paul Myerberg predict Missouri to come out victorious.

OddsShark predicts Missouri to win and cover the spread, 33.8-26.6, to send the game total over.

According to ESPN’s Chris Fallica, a ranked team has been an underdog by a touchdown or more just eight times in the last four decades. Of the eight teams that were shocking underdogs, all of them lost and seven of the eight teams that were favored even managed to cover.

History suggests that Kentucky is in for a rude awakening on Saturday, but that’s also what head coach Mark Stoops & his team has heard all season.

Their response?

A 7-1 record with the reigns to win the SEC East.

Prediction

Saying the coaching staff has concerns regarding Terry Wilson would be an understatement. Though he’s 7-1 as a starter, Wilson’s play from the pocket has been far from the leading cause of Kentucky’s success. Though their defense should be able to keep the game from becoming a shootout, the Wildcats’ will need to move the ball downfield in order to win at Mizzou.

Benny Snell has had yet another phenomenal season for the Wildcats and their defense has lived beyond expectations. However, without stability under center, it’s difficult for teams to win on the road in the SEC.

While Wilson made a few exceptional throws at Florida, he also played one of his worst games as a starter at Texas A&M.

The Wildcats are the better team, but this game will be much closer than what it should be. A change at QB seems inevitable, though Wilson could also come out & torch what is the 96th-ranked defense in the country.

Final Score: Kentucky 24, Missouri 20

Be sure to check out all of our predictions for Kentucky vs. Missouri.