College Football Odds & Pick For Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky: Betting Value on Saturday’s Over/Under
UK Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Joey Gatewood.
- Vanderbilt hopes true freshman QB Ken Seals can help turn its season around.
- He faces a tough task in a Kentucky team that is thriving defensively.
- Patrick Strollo explains why he’s focused on the game total.
Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky Odds
|Vanderbilt Odds||+17.5 [BET NOW]|
|Kentucky Odds||-17.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+650/-1115 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||41 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
The Vanderbilt Commodores (0-5) travel to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats (2-4) on Saturday in this SEC East divisional matchup.
The rivals, separated by 180 miles, face each other for the 93rd time since 1896. The Commodores and Wildcats have met annually since 1953, with Kentucky leading the series, 46-42-4.
Vanderbilt is looking for its first win in the series since 2015. The Commodores are 2-3 against the spread. On the other side, the Wildcats are sitting even at 3-3 against the spread this season.
Coming into the game, both teams are facing COVID-19 issues. At the time of writing, this game was one of only three SEC matchups still scheduled to play.
Vanderbilt heads into Lexington for its second consecutive road game after losing to Mississippi State last weekend, 24-17. The Commodores’ defense was doughty, forcing -22 rushing yards against the Bulldogs. True freshman quarterback Ken Seals threw for a career-high 336 yards, collecting a touchdown to go along with three interceptions in the loss.
In its last two games, Vanderbilt has averaged 449.5 yards of total offense. In their first three games, the Commodores averaged 256.7 yards per game.
On the other side, Kentucky is coming off a bye week. The Wildcats used the off week to work on its lackluster passing game, which is ranked 113th in FBS in Passing Success Rate.
There is a question mark surrounding who will start for the Wildcats at quarterback. Mark Stoops hinted that senior quarterback Terry Wilson will see playing time after missing the team’s previous game against Georgia with a wrist injury. Sophomore Joey Gatewood was 15-for-25 for 91 yards against Georgia.
Vanderbilt continues to improve offensively behind Seals despite some poor early performances. Seals is the SEC’s third true freshman quarterback to start a season opener and the first to do it in a true road game.
Sophomore running back Keyon Henry-Brooks rushed the ball 20 times for 115 yards and a touchdown against Mississippi State. He also caught 11 passes for 97 yards.
Vanderbilt ranks 103rd in FBS total offense, averaging 333.8 yards per game. The Commodores are averaging 4.74 yards per play with a Predicted Points Added (PPA) per play mark of -0.03. This puts them in second-to-last place in the SEC and well below the conference average of 0.16.
Vanderbilt’s Offensive Havoc rate is 0.27, which is the highest in the SEC and well above the conference average of 0.17. The Vanderbilt offense will need to leverage offensive improvements and improve the protection of Seals in order to pick up its first win of the season.
Defensively, things couldn’t get any worse at the moment. The Commodores, who are giving up 35 points per game, let a struggling Mississippi State offense control their meeting.
Statistically, the Commodores rank 83rd in FBS in total defense. They are allowing 440 yards per game and giving up 6.81 yards per play. Vanderbilt’s defense has a PPA per play of 0.28, which is the third-worst in the SEC and above the conference average of 0.18.
On a positive note, the defense generates Havoc of 0.19 relative to a conference average of 0.17. The Commodores will look to fluster Kentucky’s quarterbacks, who have not found much success this season.
The Wildcats enter this game with their identity firmly established as a rushing team. They are averaging 4.5 yards per attempt, racking up nine rushing touchdowns thus far.
The backfield is anchored by redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez, who is averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. Rodriguez has carried the ball 75 times for 413 yards and four touchdowns in 2020.
The Wildcats have only thrown four touchdowns this season, all accounted for by quarterback Wilson. Assuming Wilson is healthy, he should get the nod at quarterback against Vanderbilt.
Kentucky is ranked 116th in total offense in FBS, averaging 294.7 yards per game. Kentucky has offensive PPA per play of 0.14, below the conference average of 0.16. The Wildcats allow Havoc at a rate of 0.15 compared to the conference average of 0.17.
Kentucky will look to establish the run early behind Rodriguez as it continues to work on figuring out the passing game.
Defensively, things have been solid overall. Kentucky is allowing an average of 19 points per game, ranking 31st in FBS in total defense and giving up an average of 355.3 yards per game.
The Wildcats are giving up only five yards per play and own a defensive PPA per play of 0, which is the best in the SEC.
Kentucky generates defensive Havoc of 0.13. The bottom line is the defense does everything well.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Vanderbilt offense has improved in recent weeks, with Seals continuing his transition from Friday Night Lights to Saturdays in the South. However, the Commodores’ defense is a weak spot and should be porous enough for Kentucky to put up some points.
Kentucky’s offense will look to its run game with a continued quest to solve its quarterback quandary. The defense has been excellent this season and should give Seals fits.
My model has the total for this game right at 50 points. That said, I think the over is the play here given Vanderbilt’s offensive improvement in recent weeks and its weak defense.
Kentucky shouldn’t have a problem finding the end zone with its ground game. This is also a good game for the Wildcats to find their passing game.
Pick: Over 42 (up to 43.5 points)