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Kentucky at Tennessee: Analysis, expert picks and prediction

How oddsmakers and experts view Kentucky Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers.

Smokey, Vols Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

Last Saturday’s home-blowout loss to the Georgia Bulldogs came with a disappointing result of more than just a loss. The outcome also eliminated the Kentucky Wildcats from eligibility to their first SEC Championship game.

However, sitting at 7-2 after ten weeks of the season, they travel to face the Tennessee Volunteers for the first of their final three games this season. On the bubble of the College Football Playoff committee’s Top-10, the a convincing win by the Wildcats will only improve their bowl game projections.

Analysis

Though Benny Snell Jr. has struggled running the football the last two games, as well dealing with a few nagging injuries, there won’t be a better time to get back on track than Saturday.

Tennessee’s rush defense ranks 66th in the country and just ninth in the SEC. Snell, as well as AJ Rose, should be able to have their way in what should wind up being an efficient come-back game.

The Vols’ do rank 41st in the country (fifth in the SEC) against the pass, though, which could present a tall task for quarterback Terry Wilson. Luckily for the Wildcats, Wilson has passed for more than 200 yards in back-to-back games for the first time this season and the emergence of Lynn Bowden will only ensure his confidence on the road.

Following their messy outing against the Bulldogs, Kentucky’s defense is bound to bounce back more than any other unit on the team. Despite dealing with their own injuries, the unit is lined with veteran players of supreme talent. Tennessee has been held under 25 points in three consecutive games, with that trend expected to remain for a fourth straight week.

Betting Trends

Kentucky enters Week 11 with an 0-3 record against the spread in 2018 when favored. Those were against Central Michigan, Murray State and Vanderbilt, but the Wildcats won all three games.

And according to Kentucky Sports Radio, the Wildcats have been favored in just eight SEC road games over the last decade. Their ninth will be this Saturday, with a chance to add another win to their 7-1 record during that stretch.

Here are some more betting trends for both teams.

  • Kentucky is 6-12 ATS in its last 18 games
  • Kentucky is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 6 games
  • Kentucky is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games on the road
  • Kentucky is 8-17 SU in its last 25 games on the road
  • Kentucky is 0-3 ATS when favored in 2018 but 3-0 overall.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kentucky’s last 5 games on the road
  • Tennessee is 4-8 ATS in its last 12 games
  • Tennessee is 5-12 SU in its last 17 games
  • Tennessee is 1-7 ATS in its last 8 games at home
  • Tennessee is 17-8 SU in its last 25 games at home
  • Kentucky is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Tennessee
  • Kentucky is 2-21 SU in its last 23 games when playing Tennessee
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Kentucky’s last 5 games when playing Tennessee
  • Kentucky is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Tennessee
  • Kentucky is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Tennessee

Expert Picks

Ralph Russo, of the Associated Press, picked Ohio State over Michigan State this weekend just before taking the Volunteers over the Wildcats on Saturday.

CBS Sports predictors Ben Kercheval, Chip Patterson and Dennis Dodd are going with Tennessee to cover the +4.5 spread. Barton Simmons, Barrett Sallee, Jerry Palm and Tom Fornelli are expecting Kentucky to win by five points or more.

In regards to predicting the game “straight-up,” Dodd and Patterson remained on the Volunteers’ side while Kercheval predicts the Wildcats in a close-game.

USA Today mostly favored Kentucky in Saturday’s game, as Dan Wolken, Eddie Timanus, Erick Smith, George Schroder and Jace Evans picked the Wildcats. Paul Myerberg was the lone expert to side with Tennessee.

Per 247Sports, both Brad Crawford (16-10) and Chris Hummer (21-14) expect Kentucky yo cover the spread.

OddsShark predicts a final score of 29.4-20.2 that will cover the spread of Kentucky -5.5 and send the total of 42 OVER.

Prediction

Though Tennessee presents real athletes on both sides of the ball, Kentucky should look much more appetizing against lesser competition this Saturday. A rather hostile road environment is never a simple task for first-year quarterback, but for a veteran coach & roster, the storm should be weathered before the clock hits zero.

A rejuvenated rushing attack, along with a defense that Big Blue Nation saw leading up to last weekend, will allow the Wildcats to pull away to victory in the second half.

Final Score: Kentucky 23, Tennessee 13