Vanderbilt at (14) Kentucky
Time: 6:30 PM CT
Spread: KEN -12.5
odds c/o 5dimes
The Kentucky Wildcats lost its first game of the season last week falling 14-20 to Texas A&M. It fell just one spot in the AP Rankings to No. 14 this week as it welcomes Vanderbilt to Lexington. The Wildcats are 12.5-point favorites in the game which will air at 6:30 CT on the SEC Network. The over/under is set at 47 points according to NCAA football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Despite last week’s loss, the Wildcats are still 3-1 in SEC play and it trails both Florida and Georgia at 4-1. It has defeated Florida already this season and faces Georgia on Nov. 3 at home. A win against Georgia would be huge, but the Wildcats are staying focused on this week’s matchup against Vandy and next week’s matchup against Missouri, before tackling the Bulldogs.
Benny Snell Jr. continues to make his Heisman case. The running back has 699 yards on 128 carries and eight rushing TDs, while averaging a solid 5.5 yards-per-carry. Terry Wilson has done an admirable job at quarterback, despite his 3-to-5 TD to INT ratio. He has 703 yards at a 66.4 percent clip and a passer rating of 118.5. Wilson is also a good rush threat, with 304 yards on a second-most 66 attempts, as well as having scored three rushing TDs.
The Wildcats have 16 rushing TDs on the season while having managed just six via the pass. Its top receiver is Lynn Bowden Jr., who has caught 27 passes for 273 yards and a pair of TDs, including a 54-yard TD reception. Three other options have 100 receiving yards or more, but this is an offense based around the dominant rushing of Snell, Jr, and the Wildcats rank No. 26 in the nation at 223.5 rushing yards per game.
Its offense overall is somewhat mediocre at 29.3 points per game, but its defense has been so incredibly strong in ranking No. 4 and holding opponents to just 13.8 points per game. Kentucky has really turned the corner as a program, and it is less of a “one-man show” than pundits would lead one to believe. The defense, alone, has been incredible enough and worthy of a team that is AP ranked. It is no longer just a basketball school.
Vanderbilt is 3-4 but it possesses a 0-3 SEC record that will probably worsen this week as it faces Kentucky. The Commodores are a poor offensive team, ranking No. 97 in the nation at 25.4 points per game. Its defense is passable at 25.9 points per game allowed, ranking No. 69. This is a team with a weak rush attack (no. 89) and a fair passing game, but it doubtfully poses much of a challenge to the playmaking Kentucky defense.
Kyle Shurmur has thrown 11 TD passes and five interceptions, but his completion ratio is just 58.7 percent and he averages only 7.31 yards-per-attempt. Ke’Shawn Vaughn has been dynamite out of the backfield with 495 yards on 72 attempts (6.9 per) and five touchdowns. Khari Blasingame and Jamauri Wakefield both have 254 and 237 yards, respectively. Vandy’s top receiver Kalija Lipscomb leads the team in receptions (49), yardage (560) and touchdowns (6). Outside of him Jared Pickney and CJ Bolar have each caught for 348 and 195 yards, respectively, with Pinkney having caught three TD passes.
Vandy has just 11 reception TDs on the year, with 10 via the rush, and its offense may be a bit underrated, but it is going to have trouble getting it done against a tough Wildcat defense in Week 8.