Over/Under 5.5 Wins () vs Kentucky Wildcats ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : Central Michigan @ Kentucky 3:30 PM
Location : Kroger Field
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 5.5 Wins vs Kentucky Wildcats
If you are talking University of Kentucky sports it will often be about Coach Calipari and the basketball team, but Mark Stoops has been trying to change the culture of this program for 6 seasons now after learning a lot from brother Bob Stoops and Jimbo Fisher. Stoops was successful last season in making Wildcat fans turn their heads towards the football program as he led the ‘Cats to their second consecutive bowl game where they eventually fell to Northwestern, 24-23. The window may not be closing on Stoops just yet but if there was a season to win a couple of more games this may just be it as he returns 18 starters. The one area that Stoops will need to figure out is the QB position as they lost their top two guys on the depth chart. Experience has proven to be vital in terms of measuring a teams success but Kentucky won’t be handed anything as they have to go through the tough SEC ranks to be relevant. Kentucky isn’t a strong recruiting school either as they ranked 11th out of the 14 SEC teams in this past recruiting class which is tough to put on the field against the #1 ranked Georgia class.
Over/Under 5.5 Wins's Latest Performance :
The over/under is set at 5.5 wins for the Kentucky Wildcats which would also determine if Stoops will make this team bowl eligible for the 3rd straight season. The line looks like it was heavily swayed at the fact that they are unsure who will take snaps this season at QB.
Kentucky is one of the many SEC teams that were blessed with a good schedule but Kentucky may be the luckiest at off all the teams we have covered as they will not face Auburn, Alabama, or LSU. I believe Kentucky’s season will be determined through their first 5 games as they have a great chance of climbing up the SEC standings if they can grab 2 of 3 wins against Florida, Mississipi State, and South Carolina. To Kentucky’s advantage, they see 3 teams who are either in bad conferences or in the FCS with Central Michigan, Middle Tennessee, and Murray State all traveling to Lexington. The two toughest games for Kentucky will be when they have to host the defending SEC champions on 11/3 and then travel to Tennessee the next week. Kentucky has a chance to impress if they can upset either Florida or Georgia and climb into the 3rd spot in the SEC East.
Kentucky Wildcats's Latest Performance :
Kentucky knows they may never be on the same level as Georgia, Alabama, or Auburn but they have tried to set a culture of winning in Lexington and Stoops has been successful in doing that the last 2 seasons as he made appearances in both the TaxSlayer Bowl and the Music City Bowl. The biggest loss for Kentucky is their QB Stanley Johnson who graduated this past year after posting a 2305 yard and 10 TD season in 2017. Drew Barker was the slated starter for 2018 but that was before he called it quits on his football career which now leaves Kentucky with a transfer from Oregon in Terry Wilson and a bunch of freshmen. The one positive on the offensive side of the ball is the return of RB Benny Snell who is set for another good year in what is his junior year. Snell has a good 2017 campaign as he led the ‘Cats in rushing with 1371 yards and 19 TDs on 262 carries. The defense should be where Kentucky makes their money this season as they return arguably one of the best safeties in the SEC in Mike Edwards. Edwards led the Wildcats in both tackles (97) and interceptions (4) last season and the senior is not only ready to win his first bowl game but continue his career into the NFL.
Player To Watch
Joshua Paschal, DE, SO.
Kentucky returns 8 of their 11 starters from the 7-6 2017 team which leaves little room for the backups to play valuable time, but there was one guy that Stoops could not afford to keep off the field with that being Paschal. Paschal is one of the more talented young guys on this Kentucky roster but with Josh Allen coming back for another year at the Mike position, the coaches needed to figure out a way to get Paschal on the field. Kentucky elected to put a little more size on the 6’3 frame and move the former outside linebacker down to the defensive line. Paschal who was once a 4-star recruit showed flashes in his freshmen season as he compiled 3.5 sacks in a reserve role. I expect Paschal to be a force on the end as he doesn’t only have good size but also great speed which should lead to a potential All-SEC watch.
How Over/Under 5.5 Wins & Kentucky Wildcats Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 5.5- -110
Under 5.5- -110
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- Central Michigan- W
9/8- @ Florida- L
9/15- Murray State- W
9/22- Mississippi State- L
9/29- South Carolina- L
10/6- @ Texas A&M- L
10/20- Vanderbilt- W
10/27- @ Missouri- L
11/3- Georgia- L
11/10- @ Tennessee- L
11/17- Middle Tennessee- W
11/24- @ Louisville- W
Overall Record- 5-7
Against The Spread Selection: Under 5.5 Wins -110
My reason for the pick :
You want to back the experienced team but the thing that concerns me is the fact that Kentucky needs to replace their starting QB with guys who have yet to take a college snap. Kentucky has the talent to compete this year but the SEC should see a little better outing out of their middle tier teams such as Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Tennessee who by the way resides on the Kentucky schedule. Kentucky will have to snag a really impressive win at some point this season in order to become bowl eligible and over their win total but that seems out of reach with a young QB. Kentucky will rely heavily on their run game which in most cases is good but given the defenses, they will have to go against I don’t think the run game will win many games. Stick with under the win total.