Louisville vs Kentucky (11/26/2022 – 3:00 pm EDT)
Line: Kentucky -3.5
Louisville vs Kentucky
This Saturday afternoon the state of Kentucky is going to be rocking as the biggest football game of the year kicks off when the Louisville Cardinals travel into Kroger Stadium to take on the home team Kentucky Wildcats in an annual battle for state bragging rights. It’s the ACC versus the SEC in this in-state rivalry with the Cardinals coming off a 25-10 win over North Carolina State Wolfpack while the Wildcats lost a close game to the number one-ranked Georgia Bulldogs 10-6.
Louisville enters the contest in better shape than Kentucky as they’re now sitting at 7-4 with Saturday’s big win over the Wolfpack. On the downside, all four of their losses have come against the ACC, putting them at 4-4 and in third place in the conference. With bowl eligibility achieved after winning more than six games, this match can still propel the Cardinals to a bigger bowl game. Louisville is 7-4 against the spread this season yet only 4-7 versus the over/under.
The Cardinals didn’t start the season off the way they had wanted as they lost three of their first five contests including losses to ACC opponents Syracuse, Florida State, and Boston College. After that, however, Louisville has turned it around by winning five of their next six with their only loss coming to the ACC’s first-place team, Clemson. On that note, two of their last three wins have come against ranked opponents with victories over Wake Forest (ranked 10th at the time) and last week against 24th-ranked NC State.
Louisville has shown great ability on both sides of the ball with their offense ranking 50th in the nation with 413.7 total yards per contest but rushing is their bread and butter as they average 196.5 yards on the ground per game, 30th overall. The Cardinals’ defense is even better with a unit that has taken away the ball 15 times thus far, good for fifth in the nation while they’ ’re holding teams to 19.6 points a game, which is 19th overall.
Talk about a team that hasn’t lived up to expectations this season and Kentucky can be pointed at as Exhibit A, especially after the way they started. For a team that was ranked 20th in the Preseason Top 25, the Wildcats are only a game above .500 at 6-5 but far more concerning than that is their 3-5 SEC East record, which puts them in fourth place in the division. Kentucky has gone 7-4 versus the spread on the year but an awful 1-10 against the over/under.
There were some experts that thought the Wildcats would make the SEC East tough for Georgia this season and those aspirations looked good through the first month of the season or so as Kentucky would win their first four games, including a 26-16 victory over Florida on the road. However, after their win over Northern Illinois, the season began crumbling down around the Wildcats as they would lose three of their next four contests, including big losses to SEC foes such as Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Tennessee. They also lost their last two games coming into this match with their last win coming against Missouri on November 5th.
Now that we’re through bashing Kentucky, there have of course been bright spots for the Wildcats on the year, especially on the defensive side where they only allow 176 yards through the air per game, good for 12th in the country. Opponents have only been able to put up 321.2 yards a game on the Kentucky defense while they’re only allowing 19.6 points a contest, good for 20th overall. While the Wildcats’ offense doesn’t have many highlights, their six turnovers are 50th in the country.
Free Pick – Over 43
With both teams flaunting good defenses, this game could easily be low-scoring but considering it’s the biggest game of the year right now for both teams, I think both offenses show up more than the defenses. Besides, over the last 10 games in this series, the over has hit seven out of 10 times, with one of those three exceptions being a push. Last year’s game was a 52-21 outburst of points in Kentucky’s favor and the last three contests between the teams have averaged a combined 65.7 points a game. Both offenses are going to do enough in this contest to push this game past the over. We’re taking over 43.