The Kentucky Wildcats return to Kroger Field on Saturday to kick off their 2023 campaign, playing host to the Ball State Cardinals for their first game of the regular season.
There are several new faces for Kentucky, such as offensive coordinator Liam Coen returning for a second stint with the team and transfer quarterback Devin Leary coming in from N.C. State. While there are more than just those two joining the team this fall, Kentucky also brings back a multitude of players across all position groups that have fans on the edge of their seats to see just how good their Wildcats will be.
The bluegrass state is full of optimism for Kentucky football, and the Wildcats can start to “walk the walk” on Saturday against Ball State. Here’s a breakdown of Saturday’s odds, betting trends, expert picks, and a game prediction.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kentucky is a 26.5-point favorite over Ball State. The Wildcats are seven-point favorites in the first quarter and 14.5-point favorites in the first half. The game’s over/under is set at 49 points. Kentucky’s team total for points is 37.5, while Ball State’s team total for points is 10.5. The Wildcats are -9000 straight up.
- The total has gone under in nine of Kentucky’s last nine games.
- Kentucky is 3-6 straight in its last nine games.
- The total has gone under in Kentucky’s last five games at home.
- Kentucky is 14-0 straight up in its last 14 games vs. the MAC.
- Ball State is 0-8 straight up in its last eight games vs. the SEC.
- Ball State is 1-7 against the spread in its last eight games played in September.
- Kentucky is 8-0 straight up in its last eight games played in September.
- The total has gone over in eight of Kentucky’s last 10 games played in Week 1.
- Kentucky is 11-5 against the spread in its last 16 games played on a Saturday at home.
- The total has gone under in Ball State’s last seven games.
- Kentucky 38, Ball State 10 — TeamRankings
- Kentucky 33, Ball State 13 — Fox Sports
- Kentucky 41, Ball State 7 — Picks and Parlays
- Kentucky 38, Ball State 10 — College Football News
- Kentucky 42, Ball State 14 — Lexington Herald-Leader (Jon Hale)
- All six KSR writers picked Kentucky to win by at least 17 points.
- Cats Illustrated’s three-man crew all have Kentucky winning by at least 25 points.
What is it with Kentucky football and not exactly blowing out teams in their first or second game of the season? No, fans shouldn’t expect their Wildcats to win every game by blowout. That would be ridiculous. But in a game where Kentucky is favored by nearly four touchdowns, you would think a blowout is at least possible.
While Kentucky’s offense is getting all the talk, credit for Saturday’s predicted victory could very well belong to the defense. The Wildcats are indeed bringing back several offensive pieces and could easily pop out of the gate, but a fluid offense takes time to gel, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Kentucky is a bit off — especially early on in the game.
The Wildcats win comfortably, but this game doesn’t feel like the blowout everyone is calling for.
Final Score: Kentucky 31, Ball State 16
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.