BET: Kentucky ATS In A 'Look-Ahead' Game For Tennessee

If the No. 19 Kentucky Wildcats (5-2, 2-2 in the SEC) can replicate the same game plan from their meeting last season with the No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers (7-0, 3-0 in the SEC) on Saturday then Kentucky can win this game outright.

Kickoff for this year's Kentucky-Tennessee SEC showdown is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Neyland Stadium and the game airs on ESPN.

The Volunteers beat the Wildcats in a 45-42 shootout last year in Kentucky. Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker connected on 72- and 75-yard TD passes but Kentucky's offense was much more efficient.

UK had more than double the 1st-downs (35-17), more than triple the time of possession (46:08-13:52), and gained 151 more total yards (612-461) in last year's meeting with UT.

Kentucky had a bye last week and Tennessee waxed the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks 65-24, covering as a 38.5-point home favorite. Next week, the Vols visit the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs.


Betting Details (DraftKings)

Tennessee's 'sandwich' spot

The Volunteers got one of their biggest victories in recent history two weeks ago beating Alabama 52-49. It was a joyous day for the great people of Tennessee and OutKick, the website. Clay Travis was crying, and hitchhiking with random locals.

Next week the Vols visit the reigning national champion Bulldogs, making Saturday's game vs. the Wildcats a "sandwich spot".

Sure, Tennessee wrecked UT-Martin last week so you could argue the Vols have sobered up from their epic win vs. 'Bama.

But, these are college kids and the "look-ahead"/"sandwich spot" are two of the most tried and true football handicapping angles.

If even a silver of Tennessee's focus is on Georgia next week then Kentucky will steal this game. The Wildcats got unlucky to lose last year vs. the Vols and can spoil UT's undefeated season by executing a similar game plan.

UK's lessons learned from last season

Kentucky better have Tennessee's full attention because the box score from their 2021 meeting was jaw-dropping. I've never seen a football team lose a game while winning the stats this comfortably.

Aside from a couple of explosive plays and a UT pick-six, UK was the more efficient team. Wildcats QB Will Levis had five total TDs vs. the Vols in 2021 and Kentucky's two-top running backs from that game are still in the backfield.

All of Levis's passing numbers have improved year over year and Kentucky RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. is one of the best running backs in the SEC.

If the Wildcats play half as good vs. the Vols Saturday as they did last season then there's no way UT wins by margin. Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is underrated and will do a better job limiting Tennessee's explosive plays.

Kentucky is the 'sharp' side

First of all, Tennessee opened as 12.5-point favorites and has been lowered to the current number even though most sites are reporting the Vols are a public play.

Per, this is a Pros vs. Joe's game with a slight majority of the money on UK while more than 60% of the bets placed are on UT (at the time of writing).

According to VSIN, there's a "line freeze" at DraftKings. Close to 70% of the action is on the Vols but this line hasn't budged. If anything UT will be cheaper by kickoff.

Pinnacle Sportsbook (Pinny) — one of the sharpest shops in the sports betting market — has Tennessee as an 11-point favorite with more juice on Kentucky.

Pinny books the largest sports bets in the world hence it being a sharp sportsbook. Kentucky being more expensive is Pinny's way of enticing their sports betting whales on backing Tennessee.

Finally, this is a "good spot" for Kentucky. Since 2018, the Wildcats are 8-3-1 ATS as underdogs of 7.5 or greater (+6.1 ATS margin) and 14-8-1 ATS as 'dogs in SEC games (+5.4 ATS margin).

BET: Kentucky +11.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook and 'sprinkle' on the ML (+330)

Written by
Geoff Clark serves as OutKick’s sports betting guru. As a writer and host of OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark, he dives deep into the sports betting landscape and welcomes an array of sports betting personalities on his show to handicap America’s biggest sporting events. Previously, Clark was a writer/podcaster for USA TODAY's Sportsbook Wire website, handicapping all the major sports tentpoles with a major focus on the NFL, NBA and MLB. Clark graduated from St. John University.