Kentucky-Texas A&M Betting Guide: Aggies the More Complete Team?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Allen and Trayveon Williams
Kentucky-Texas A&M Betting Odds, Pick
- Line: Texas A&M -5.5
- Over/Under: 49.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ESPN
>> All odds as of 7 a.m. ET on Saturday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
Kentucky? 5-0? No. 13 in the country? There’s something weird about all that.
But there’s been nothing fluky about Kentucky’s 5-0 start. The Wildcats had a postgame win probability of at least 93% in every game, and an adjusted scoring margin of at least 14 points, per FootballStudyHall.com.
Kentucky enters this game as a 5.5-point underdog against a Texas A&M team with losses to Alabama and Clemson.
Market Moves for Kentucky-Texas A&M
Despite Kentucky’s 5-0 start to the year, a slight majority of bettors are still taking Texas A&M in this matchup.
While the Aggies have drawn 55% of bets, Kentucky has accounted for 66% of dollars wagered on the game, and the line has fallen from +6.5 to +5.5 as a result.
Trends to Know
By Evan Abrams
Kentucky enters this game allowing fewer than two touchdowns to each of its last three opponents. The Wildcats are in rare territory.
The last two teams to be in this exact same spot were Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship vs. Alabama to cap the 2012 season (lost 42-14) and LSU in 2011, also against Alabama, when the Tigers won 9-6 in Tuscaloosa.
By John Ewing
The Wildcats enter October as one of four undefeated SEC teams. Since 2005, undefeated teams to play a game in October or later as an underdog of a field goal or more are 97-77-6 ATS.
It’s rare for a Top 25 program to be an underdog of more than a field goal to an unranked opponent. Since 2005, the ranked teams in this scenario have gone 35-27 ATS.
For the first time all season, the ‘Cats will have to deal with adversity on the injury front. Starting left tackle Naasir Watkins (knee) is out, although UK does have a serviceable backup in USC transfer E.J. Price.
More importantly, starting middle linebacker Kash Daniel will miss the first half due to a targeting call in the second half against South Carolina. True freshman Chris Oats (who was a highly touted recruit) will fill the void for the first two quarters in College Station.
Texas A&M also got bad news on the injury front this week as wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon had surgery on his foot and will miss a few weeks.
After Texas A&M lost two starting receivers to the NFL in the offseason, Ausbon was the leader of a very raw group of wideouts. They will certainly miss him against a Kentucky defense that is vulnerable through the air.
Key Metrics for Kentucky-Texas A&M
Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson is averaging 6.4 yards per pass attempt, tied for 98th in the country (min. 45 attempts). The Wildcats haven’t had to play catch-up this season, but might be in trouble if they do.
Texas A&M is an extremely balanced team, ranking 22nd in S&P+ offense and 43rd on defense — while boasting a very reliable special teams unit.
Texas A&M has forced only two turnovers in five games this season. Its -5 turnover differential ranks in the bottom 10 nationally.
Penalties also could become an issue for the Wildcats, as their 75.6 yards per game ranks 111th in the nation. That’s going to catch up to them sooner rather than later on the road.
Can Kentucky Get Off the Field?
This game might come down to third-down defense. While both offenses have been solid converting third downs — thanks to two reliable rushing attacks, Texas A&M’s defense has been downright dominant on third down, while Kentucky has left a lot to be desired.
- Texas A&M: 14-57 (.246) third down defense (3rd nationally)
- Kentucky: 34-79 (.430) third down defense (103rd nationally)
I think the Aggies can sustain longer drives as a result, which they’ve done all year: A&M ranks in the top 5, averaging just under 36 minutes of possession per game.
Bet to Watch for Texas A&M-Kentucky
These are two very similar teams with two dominant backs in Kentucky’s Benny Snell and Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams. As you might have guessed, both teams rank in the top 20 nationally in yards per rush attempt: Kentucky at 5.8 and A&M at 5.5.
The difference is Texas A&M has much more balance, as the Aggies average a solid 279.6 yards per game through the air — despite playing Alabama and Clemson — although the loss of Ausbon will hurt.
On the other hand, Kentucky ranks 118th in the nation with only 153.0 passing yards per game. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Texas A&M has an extremely strong run defense (3.3 yards per rush — 28nd in nation) and I don’t know if Kentucky QB Terry Wilson can consistently exploit an Aggies secondary that allows 9.1 yards per pass attempt (118th) — especially in one of the most hostile environments in the country.
Kentucky hasn’t allowed any team to pass on it mainly due to the pressure it’s been able to apply, but it hasn’t faced a mobile quarterback with the running ability of Kellen Mond.
I think that will ultimately be the difference. However, I’m more comfortable rolling with the first half, especially with the suspension to Daniel.
I think A&M comes out and punches Kentucky in the mouth with a few long drives.