Arkansas at Kentucky
Time: 6:30 PM CST
Spreads: KEN -7
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Kentucky Wildcats are 2-3 on the season, but it has lost three straight since beginning its season with two wins over Toledo and Eastern Michigan. The Wildcats have been on the road in its past two, but it returns to Lexington to host visiting Arkansas. Kentucky is 7-point favorites in the game, with the over/under set at 53.5 points. It will kick off at 6:30 PM CST on the SEC Network.
Kentucky has been outscored 52-20 the last two weeks against Mississippi State and South Carolina. On the season, the Wildcats have a point differential of negative-1, allowing 24.4 points per game and barely managing to stay in the top-100 offenses at 23.4 points per game (no. 99). The rush attack has been middle-of-the-pack at 164.8 yards per game (no. 60) while the passing offense lingers in the bottom-third at just 212.8 yards per game.
Quarterback Sawyer Smith has been an improvement at quarterback, but he completed just 11 of 32 passes in the loss to South Carolina. Smith took over for Terry Wilson at quarterback, and he has been a bit worse, really. Smith averages just 5.7 yards-per-completion and has thrown more picks (5) than touchdowns (4). His passer rating is a lowly 96.6. Smith is also horrible carrying the football, with negative-25 yards on the season (19 attempts).
Asim Rose and Kavosiey Smoke have been good as the top-two rushers, though. Rose averages five yards-per-carry on his team-high 66 attempts, with 330 yards and two touchdowns. Smoke has rushed 46 times at a 6.2 yard-per-carry average and leads the team with three rushing touchdowns.
Lynn Bowden Jr. has been the lead receiver and has the most total catches (30), yardage (348) while having scored one touchdown. Ahmad Wagner is the No. 2 receiving option at 248 yards with just 12 catches. He averages 20.7 yards-per-catch and leads the team in touchdowns with two. Kentucky has scored just six TDs via the pass with nine having come rushing the ball. Kicker Chance Poore has been, well, poor: He has hit just 3 of 7 field goals with two misses coming from within 40-yards. He has hit all 14 of his PATs, but the misses have been costly for Kentucky. Kentucky has 12 sacks and five interceptions on the defensive end this season.
Arkansas is 2-3 on the season and 0-2 in SEC play. It was defeated last outing 27-31 by Texas A&M, and it lost to San Jose State the week prior. It defeated Portland State and Colorado State in Weeks 1 and 3, with al loss in Week 2 to Ole Miss.
Arkansas is scoring 28.6 per game this season (no. 71) and allowing 80.0. Its pass attack ranks top-30 at 289.8 yards per game, but it ranks in the bottom-third of rushing offenses at just 141.8 yards per game (No. 85).
Razorbacks quarterback Nick Starkel has thrown for 1,019 yards at a 61.8 percent clip with 7.8 yards-per-attempt. He has seven TD passes and seven interceptions. The junior threw 12 of 17 for completion and gained 109 yards against Texas A&M, but he did not throw a TD pass while having one interception. His five interceptions against San Jose State were inexcusable, despite 56 percent completions and 356 yards. He threw three TDs in that game, but it is tough to win with five picks being thrown and the Razorbacks did, indeed, lose by a touchdown.
Starkel’s best outing cases against Colorado State when he completed 20 of 35 for 305 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions (also only sacked once). Starkel has done a great job overall of avoiding sacks, having incurred none the last two games and just two on the season. Despite being good at avoiding the sack efforts, he has rushed just five times for a total gain of negative-7 yards.
Arkansas’s top running back Rakeem Boyd has 91 of the team’s 161 carries. He averages 5.3 yards-per-attempt and has three of the six Rushing touchdowns. The other three come from No. 2 back Devwah Whaley, who has rushed 35 times for 148 yards. The Razorbacks have three wide receivers and its tight end all over 230 yards receiving on the season. The Razorbacks have eight receiving touchdowns with six via the rush this season.
Kicker Connor Limpert has been very good. He has hit 8 of 10 field goals and 17 of 17 PATs. Both of his field goal misses came from behind the 40-yard line with one beyond midfield. He is a strong and accurate option when the Razorbacks get within striking distance.