A general rule of Tennessee football the past 15 to 20 years has been to always bet against them when facing the Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida Gators but always bet on them when facing the Kentucky Wildcats. However, Josh Heupel has reversed trends this year.
Does that mean after beating Florida and Alabama, the Vols could lose to Kentucky? At 7-0 and 3-0 in SEC play, UT got a reprieve last week with the UT-Martin Skyhawks, but they are about to play their fourth of five games against a top 25 opponent as UK visits for an epic night setting at Neyland Stadium.
Kentucky is coming off a bye week at 5-2 and 2-2 in SEC play. They are ranked No. 19 in the AP Poll and No. 17 in the Coaches Poll. Quarterback Will Levis should be full-go, and they’d be undefeated had he stayed healthy and they avoided one of a slew of mistakes against the Ole Miss Rebels.
Kentucky Wildcats at Tennessee Volunteers Week 9 odds
According to WynnBET, Tennessee football is shockingly a 12.5-point favorite. The over/under is set at 63.5, and the moneyline is set at Tennessee -495 and Kentucky +365. Records this year, health, history and the fact that this game is in Knoxville all have a role in those odds.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change
Kentucky Wildcats at Tennessee Volunteers prediction
Mark Stoops likes to make games ugly, and his team is fresh off a bye week. Meanwhile, the Vols have to worry about looking ahead, as they have a huge matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs following the Kentucky game, which will be their sixth of seven games against top 25 foes.
Will Levis is also an NFL-caliber quarterback, and the one weakness the Vols have is in the secondary. They have given up over 300 yards through the air in each of their last four wins, so Levis could certainly torch them. Add in Kentucky’s elite pass defense, and they could slow down Hendon Hooker’s Heisman campaign.
All of these things will actually result in a slower tempo that Tennessee football is forced to play. How they can respond to that in front of a fired up Neyland audience ready to create the spirit of Halloween on Rocky Top will determine what happens in this one.
Honestly, while UK will slow down the tempo, the Vols’ offense is dynamic enough to adjust. They have an elite offensive line, and Kentucky’s rush defense is mediocre. Meanwhile, they have a good defensive line, and Kentucky’s offensive line is awful.
As a result, while they won’t win throwing it all over the field the way they have been, they’ll still dominate, using a solid ground game and a dominant pass rush with Byron Young to pull it out. Levis will hit some big plays, but he’ll get sacked a lot, and that’ll make the difference.
Because of a lot more running, fewer plays will occur, so take the Under 63.5. As for the cover, honestly, take Kentucky +12.5 largely because Levis will hit a couple of big passes to make it interesting. However, Tennessee football still pulls out the win in the end. The score will look something like this: Tennessee 38 Kentucky 28.