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Kentucky vs. Louisiana Monroe: Betting trends, expert picks and predictions

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Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

College football season has returned to the Bluegrass, and there isn’t a fanbase in the state more ready for Saturday than Big Blue Nation.

While the Kentucky Wildcats have been known for their star running backs throughout the Mark Stoops era, the main question every year has been if they could get the quarterback position worked out. With new starter Will Levis under center, fireworks are on the horizon and the ceiling for this Kentucky team appears to be the SEC Championship game.

However, that goal will need to be met by taking one game at a time, and that all starts this weekend with their home opener against UL Monroe.

The Wildcats were predicted to finish third in the SEC East by the media. Ironically, they have the third-most wins among SEC East schools from 2016-20 (37). Only Georgia (52) and Florida (42) have more, and those are the two teams Kentucky is gunning for to win the division this season.

Kentucky comes into this game having won 11-straight non-conference games dating back to the 2017 Music City Bowl loss to Northwestern. Here’s a look at what to know heading into what hopes to be win No. 12.

Odds

According to Pregame.com, Kentucky opened as a 27.5-point favorite and has been bet up all the way to 31-point favorites as of Friday morning. The over/under followed the same trend, opening at 52.5 and moving to 54.5. Kentucky to cover the 31-point spread is considered a “public” bet, though, as Friday morning’s splits showed 87% of the tickets on Kentucky represented only 64% of the total cash. ESPN’s Football Power Index is giving Kentucky a 96.7% chance of victory and their money line of -10,000 indicates you’d have to bet $10,000 just to win $100. Needless to say — Kentucky is a massive favorite.

Betting Trends

Kentucky

  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 9 games.
  • Kentucky is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games at home.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 5 games against an opponent in the Sun Belt conference.
  • Kentucky is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games played in September.
  • The total has gone OVER in 7 of Kentucky’s last 8 games played in week 1.
  • Kentucky is 16-4 SU in their last 20 games when playing as the favorite.
  • Kentucky is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games played on a Saturday when playing at home.

UL Monroe

  • Louisiana-Monroe is 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Louisiana-Monroe’s last 11 games.
  • Louisiana-Monroe is 0-10 SU in their last 10 games.
  • Louisiana-Monroe is 0-8 SU in their last 8 games on the road.
  • Louisiana-Monroe is 0-10 SU in their last 10 games against an opponent in the Southeastern conference.
  • Louisiana-Monroe is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games played in September.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Louisiana-Monroe’s last 7 games played in week 1.
  • Louisiana-Monroe is 5-14 ATS in their last 19 games played on a Saturday.

Expert Picks

Prediction

Unfortunately, utter chaos has swept through the state of Louisiana this week, as Hurricane Ida brought back chilling memories of Hurricane Katrina a decade ago. Thankfully, the damage wasn’t as severe as Katrina, but nevertheless, it’s still a tragedy that impacted thousands across the entire state.

Now, UL Monroe makes the trip to Lexington in a very unfavorable spot. Kentucky is eager to get their season started with many new faces and high expectations, but don’t expect head coach Mark Stoops to show all of his tricks just yet. Lots of Chris Rodriguez, smothering defense and easing in Will Levis during his Kentucky debut sounds like the game plan.

Still, we’re calling for a runaway victory by Kentucky.

Final Score: Kentucky 38, UL Monroe 10