|Kentucky Odds||+30 [BET NOW]|
|Alabama Odds||-30 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||N/A [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||58 [BET NOW]|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
This week marks the first time we get to see the Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) play this month after a three-week layoff, with the powerhouse heading home to take on the Kentucky Wildcats (3-4) at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Is this a possible lookahead spot for Alabama, with the Iron Bowl looming next week? We can’t use recent history as an indicator. The Crimson Tide have scheduled FCS opponents before the Auburn game every year since 2008.
Historically, Alabama has won 37 of the 40 all-time meetings against Kentucky, including each of the last six by an average margin of 21 points. The Crimson Tide are also 5-0 overall ATS in their last five home games.
Maybe last week was Kentucky’s lookahead game prior to this contest.
The Wildcats’ defense allowed its second-highest point total of the season, as Vanderbilt racked up 35 points and more than 400 yards of total offense in a narrow, three-point Kentucky win.
Overall, Kentucky boasts one of the better defensive units in the country, allowing just 21.3 points per game (23rd). Despite the blip last week, the Wildcats still rank among the best in the SEC on this side of the ball — first in defense PPA; fourth in total defense; and, second in yards per play allowed.
Kentucky’s offense gets rolling by pounding the ball on the ground via lead back Chris Rodriguez and dual-threat quarterback Terry Wilson. The Wildcats are second in the conference in rushing, averaging 195 yards per game and rank 15th nationally in Rushing Success Rate.
It didn’t end up mattering against a horrid Vanderbilt defense, but Kentucky does have some injury concerns along its offensive line, as both backup guards were pressed into action.
Passing the football is a foreign concept for the Wildcats. They average just 22 attempts per contest, totaling just 17 passing plays of 15 yards or more, which is last in the conference.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Quarterback Mac Jones continues his scorched path toward a possible Heisman Trophy, averaging 366 yards per game through the air, which ranks third in the nation. Jones is second to only Western Michigan’s Kaleb Eleby, with more than 12 yards per attempt.
Jones has a tall task against a Kentucky secondary that is allowing a league-low 214 yards per game through the air. It also ranks third in the SEC in coverage grades, according to Pro Football Focus.
There’s no reason to think Jones and the passing game would struggle despite Kentucky’s strengths on the back end. However, if that should that occur, the Crimson Tide can always lean on running back Najee Harris, who leads the SEC in rushing yards (119 yards per game) and is seeing a heavier workload than he did during the 2019 season.
A huge boost for the Alabama defense will come in the form of lineman LaBryan Ray, who might return after missing more than a month with an elbow injury. They’re not the dominant force we’ve seen in years past, but the Crimson Tide still rank second in the SEC in Defensive Success and 31st nationally in defense PPA.
The Alabama run defense has shored things up in the last two games, allowing a combined 3.1 yards per attempt to Tennessee and Mississippi State.
Betting Analysis & Pick
It might be stating the obvious, but Kentucky can’t trade blows with this Alabama offense. The Wildcats are simply not set up for that, which means they will look to slow the pace with a ball-controlled offense that averages a conference-low 61.9 plays per game.
The total staying under the number has hit in four of the last five meetings between these two teams. Add in the fact Kentucky is good enough defensively to limit some of the explosive plays Alabama routinely generates and you have to like your chances of this being another controlled game.
Pick: Total Under 57.5