Sitting at 4-0 for the first time during the Mark Stoops’ era, the Kentucky Wildcats still found themselves opening as an underdog for this weekend as they host the South Carolina Gamecocks.
The initial lines had Kentucky as a 1-point home underdog to visiting South Carolina this week. The line has since moved to the Wildcats being around a 1-point favorite ahead of Saturday.
It just so happens the experts also think this will be a very close game that is decided in the final minutes.
The Wildcats have defeated two real football teams in Florida and Mississippi State. South Carolina, however, beat a rebuilding Vanderbilt team and shouldn’t necessarily boast their blowout win over Coastal Carolina.
That leaves just their blowout loss at Georgia, of which they kept it competitive early but eventually were ran over late in the game.
Kentucky’s attack will likely be similar, as they’ll likely be competitive with South Carolina in the first half but will start to wear down the Gamecocks’ front seven with a stout rushing attack. Add in a dual-threat quarterback such as Terry Wilson and the Wildcats should be able to keep their veteran defense fresh and off the field.
A Kentucky victory this week would move them to 5-0 for the first time since 2007 and give them their first 3-0 start in SEC play since the 1977 team went undefeated in league play.
A win would make Kentucky 14-5 over the last 19 regular-season games, the best 19-game regular-season stretch since Nov. 13, 1976 to Oct. 21, 1978 (14-4-1). It would also make the Cats 10-6 in their last 16 SEC games, the best 16-game SEC stretch since going 10-6 from Oct. 15, 1977 to Nov. 17, 1979.
Needless to say, a lot is riding on this game for a program that is on the verge of reaching new heights not seen in a very long time in Lexington.
While South Carolina opened as a slight favorite over Kentucky, the Wildcats have quickly pulled ahead to a 1.5-point favorite at home. An interesting nugget is that the Gamecocks are 0-5 vs. the spread in their last five outings against Kentucky, all of which have come under Mark Stoops.
Here are some more betting trends for both teams:
- South Carolina is 8-3-1 ATS in its last 12 games
- South Carolina is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games
- South Carolina is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
- South Carolina is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games on the road
- South Carolina is 5-11 SU in its last 16 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of South Carolina’s last 5 games on the road
- Kentucky is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games
- Kentucky is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kentucky’s last 6 games
- Kentucky is 1-7 ATS in its last 8 games at home
- Kentucky is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games at home
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 7 games at home
- Kentucky is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing South Carolina
- Kentucky is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing South Carolina
- Kentucky is 5-13 SU in its last 18 games when playing South Carolina
- The total has gone OVER in 8 of Kentucky’s last 11 games when playing South Carolina
- Kentucky is 3-6 SU in its last 9 games when playing at home against South Carolina
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Kentucky’s last 5 games when playing at home against South Carolina
CBS Sports expert predictors Barton Simmons, Chip Patterson & Tom Fornelli are going with the Gamecocks on Saturday. However, Barrett Sallee, Ben Kercheval, Dennis Dodd & Jerry Palm have predicted a Cats win to give Kentucky the 4-3 edge.
OddsShark is with the former, though, predicting a 27.8-26.2 upset by the Gamecocks at Kroger Field.
Four of USA Today’s six expert pickers are going with Kentucky
ESPN FPI gives South Carolina 53.5-percent chance of winning. TeamRankings projects a 27-26 win for Kentucky.
SB Nation predicts Kentucky to win 29-24.
Bleacher Report has South Carolina winning 26-21.
Saturdays Down South sides with Kentucky, 27-24.
247 Sports is going with the Gamecocks, 24-17.
Kentucky played their best & most complete football game in years. They’ll certainly come back down to Earth a bit, but that doesn’t mean they’ll leave Kroger Field in defeat. The Gamecocks offense will surely struggle against Josh Allen, Kash Daniel, Mike Edwards & company. While Benny Snell may have a few extra defenders to run through, that hasn’t stopped him from dominating in the past. Terry Wilson will take advantage of South Carolina loading the box, showcasing why he’s the starter to a sell-out UK crowd.
UK 24, SC 17