Louisville vs Kentucky Odds, Picks: How to Bet In-State Rivalry

Louisville vs Kentucky Odds, Picks: How to Bet In-State Rivalry article feature image

Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: Kentucky quarterback Will Levis.

  • Louisville and Kentucky go head-to-head as part of rivalry week in college football.
  • The defenses hold a clear advantage in this matchup and that could impact the total.
  • Keg breaks it all down below and delivers a best bet.

Louisville vs Kentucky Odds

Saturday, Nov. 26
3 p.m. ET
SEC Network
Louisville Odds
-105o / -115u
Kentucky Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

It could be New Year's Day, could be Easter Sunday, could be the Fourth of July — one thing that's never too far back in the mind of a Louisville or Kentucky fan is how their rival team is looking.

After five weeks of this season, Louisville was 2-3 overall and 0-3 in conference play. Kentucky, meanwhile, sat at 4-1, having just lost to Ole Miss in a nail-biter.

Louisville fans were dreading the first Saturday after Thanksgiving while they discussed new head coaching candidates. Kentucky fans were chalking up Louisville as an easy win, more focused on what could be at stake against Georgia.

Seven weeks later, things could not be further from what they expected at that point of the season. Since the loss to Ole Miss, Kentucky has gone on to lose four of its six games, including a matchup against Vanderbilt.

Louisville, meanwhile, has gone 5-1 with its only loss coming against Clemson, which finds itself ranked No. 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings and No. 7 in the AP Poll.

The Wildcats opened as a 4.5-point favorite over Louisville but have since fallen all the way down to 2.5. Can Kentucky end its season on a high note?

Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals come into this game fresh off an impressive win over a strong NC State team.

The most impressive part is that they did so without starting quarterback Malik Cunningham. Backup Brock Domann held his own against the Wolfpack, completing 12-of-25 passes for 153 yards.

Cunningham is still day-to-day, and his status for the Kentucky game is unknown as of writing. Cunningham would, of course, be an improvement for the Cardinals offense, but I don't think there's a game-changing drop-off if he can't go.

Louisville runs the ball on 57.7% of plays and boasts two elite running backs in Tiyon Evans and Jawhar Jordan, both of whom have racked up more than 500 yards rushing on the season.

If Cunningham does play, he'll add another layer to an already stout run game; he leads the team with 561 yards on the ground on the season.

Louisville's defense will be a tough test for a Kentucky offense that comes into this game ranked 91st in Offensive Success Rate. The Cardinals are holding opponents to just 19.6 points and 347 yards per contest.

They also lead the nation when it comes to fourth-down conversions allowed, giving up a first on just 16.67% of attempts. In the red zone, the Cardinals have allowed opponents to score on just 70.27% of trips, which ranks them fifth nationally in that area.

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Kentucky Wildcats

Let me preface this by saying I'm a Kentucky fan — just want to go ahead and get that out of the way now.

I went to the Ole Miss game. I was excited. I was hopeful. And this team blew multiple chances to win that game. I said I was done with the Cats. I could see the writing on the wall that would follow that game.

However, I thought I said they had no chance at Tennessee; I didn't know I meant Vanderbilt too.

What's most frustrating about this team is that it has talent. The play-calling has just been sporadic.

Kentucky's offense is averaging just 20.8 points and 324.9 yards per game. The Wildcats rank 80th in Rushing Success Rate, 100th in Passing Success Rate, and worst of all, 112th in Finishing Drives.

The defense, however, could win a national title if it was paired with any other SEC offense. Kentucky's defense is holding opponents to just 21.6 points per game.

The secondary is its strongest unit, as it allows just 180.2 passing yards per game. But it won't see much of a passing attack from the Cardinals even if Cunningham plays.

Kentucky's rush defense has been solid as well, holding opponents to just 153.9 yards on the ground per game.

Louisville vs Kentucky Matchup Analysis

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

Louisville Offense vs. Kentucky Defense
Rush Success10512
Line Yards6668
Pass Success6731
Pass Blocking**4293
Finishing Drives7617
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Kentucky Offense vs. Louisville Defense
Rush Success8075
Line Yards7847
Pass Success10037
Pass Blocking**778
Finishing Drives1124
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling12118
PFF Coverage8619
SP+ Special Teams3097
Seconds per Play26.4 (66)32.0 (131)
Rush Rate57.7% (34)57.0% (39)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Louisville vs Kentucky Betting Pick

Louisville and Kentucky both look to run the ball on more than 50% of their plays, and the Wildcats rank 130th when it comes to seconds per play. In terms of Finishing Drives, both teams rank outside the top 75 on offense, while both defenses rank inside the top 20.

I don't see any way this game gets to 44.

Sure, it has been a high-scoring affair in recent years. But trends don't last forever, and these are not the teams from even last year — specifically Kentucky.

Bet this game to stay under the total at any number 43 or better.

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