College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for LSU vs. Kentucky: Can Tigers Stop Wildcats’ Ground Game?

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for LSU vs. Kentucky: Can Tigers Stop Wildcats’ Ground Game? article feature image
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Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Rodriquez Jr

  • Undefeated Kentucky (5-0) hosts LSU (4-1), which is coming off a loss to Auburn.
  • The Wildcats have one of the better rushing attacks in the country as they average 189.2 yards per game.
  • Keg breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.

LSU vs. Kentucky Odds

LSU Odds +2.5 (-110)
Kentucky Odds -2.5 (-110)
Moneyline +110 / -130
Over/Under 50.5 (-110 / -110)
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV SEC Network
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Kentucky looks to keep its perfect record intact Saturday night when LSU rolls into Lexington. Coach O and the Tigers are hoping to bounce back from a rare home loss last week against Auburn.

On the other hand, the Wildcats just beat Florida in Lexington for the first time since 1986, ranking them 16th in the AP top 25, their highest ranking since the end of 2018.

Most people believed offensive coordinator Liam Coen would bring the Kentucky offense to new heights. But while the Wildcats are 5-0 and the offense has looked good, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

They face two stiff challenges in consecutive weeks as they get LSU right off of a tough loss at home and Georgia next week.

Beating Florida last week was a massive win for Kentucky and the program as a whole. However, this week will be an even bigger test to see if Kentucky is genuinely ready to compete with the top of the SEC in football.

But if not, college basketball starts exactly one month from Saturday.


LSU vs. Kentucky Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 9
7:30 p.m. ET
SEC Network

LSU Tigers

LSU Offense

Quarterback Max Johnson is having an outstanding season for the Tigers. He has thrown for 280 yards or more in all but two games, maintaining a 62.4% completion percentage while racking up 16 touchdowns.

Having some of the best receivers in the country doesn’t hurt either. Kayshon Boutte had 127 receiving yards last week and is far and away Johnson’s favorite target. Boutte leads the team with over 400 receiving yards on the year, ranking 27th nationally.

The Tigers throw the ball 62% of the time and average 333 yards per game. The LSU offense will face a challenge against a top-25 pass defense in Kentucky that only allows 183 passing yards per game.


LSU Defense

The LSU defense seems to have gotten better every week.

After allowing 38 points to UCLA in Week 1, no opponent since has scored more than 25 since.

Ranked 93rd overall, the pass defense has been solid, but the Tigers have been great against the run as they have allowed only 139 rush yards per game, ranking 56th in the country.

While they can limit Kentucky on the run, where they excel offensively, pushing them to pass may not work out in their favor either. Kentucky may be struggling in the passing game, but wide receiver Wan’dale Robinson has recorded more yards this season than Boutte.

If the Wildcats’ offense can be effective at both levels, it could be a long game for the LSU defense that is allowing 426 yards per game and 27 points per contest.

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Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky Offense

In 2012, Kentucky went 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the SEC, losing to Western Kentucky and Vanderbilt in a 40-0 shutout at home.

Enter Mark Stoops.

Over the past eight years, coach Stoops has transformed one of the country’s worst Power Five football teams into a top-20 team.

Coen was described as a pro-style pass coordinator entering his first year at Kentucky. Previously an assistant with the Los Angeles Rams the past three seasons, Coen arrived along with Penn State transfer QB Will Levis.

While neither have immensely struggled, they aren’t putting up huge numbers offensively. Kentucky only passes on 38% of plays, averaging 22 pass plays a game, ranking outside the top 100 in both stats.

However, this is in part due to the success of running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. and the Kentucky rushing offense. The Wildcats are boasting 213 rushing yards per game (18th in the country) while averaging 5.4 yards per carry (16th in the country). As a result, Rodriguez Jr. leads the SEC in rush yards.

Kentucky averages 409 yards and 29 points per game, but this may be difficult to post against a top-50 run defense in LSU.


Kentucky Defense

While all the preseason hype centered around Kentucky’s offense, the defense has stolen the show, most recently limiting their last two opponents to fewer than 14 points.

Last week, they allowed only 382 total yards to a Florida offense averaging 509 yards per game. I’m hard-pressed to find any weakness within this Kentucky defense that ranks 27th against the pass and 23rd against the run.

Through five games, opponents are only averaging 16.8 points per game against Kentucky.

One major threat for them this week will be Boutte. The sophomore leads the SEC in touchdown receptions (nine) while tallying 249 yards after the catch.


LSU vs. Kentucky Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how LSU and Kentucky match up statistically:

LSU Offense vs. Kentucky Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 130 9
Line Yards 125 86
Pass Success 30 89
Pass Blocking** 25 58
Big Play 84 14
Havoc 40 57
Finishing Drives 92 23
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Kentucky Offense vs. LSU Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 33 19
Line Yards 10 121
Pass Success 71 113
Pass Blocking** 13 15
Big Play 82 42
Havoc 99 54
Finishing Drives 88 87
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 57 18
PFF Coverage 14 15
Middle 8 24 71
SP+ Special Teams 16 52
Plays per Minute 56 110
Rush Rate 41.3% (125) 59.9% (35)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


LSU vs. Kentucky Betting Pick

This game sets up as a classic letdown spot for Kentucky after one of the biggest wins in program history. However, the Tigers are headed in the opposite direction under Coach O.

LSU will struggle to stop the Kentucky run game.  The Wildcats may even be able to have a breakout game passing-wise against a lackluster LSU secondary.

I don’t mind laying Kentucky -3 here, but I’d much rather bet this at -3 than -3.5. Some books still have this listed on the key number so be sure to shop around before placing your bet.

Pick: Kentucky -3 or better no higher than (-130) 

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