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2022 Music City Bowl Odds & Picks – Iowa vs Kentucky Prediction

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in College Football

Dec 29, 2022 · 7:05 AM PST

2022 Music City Bowl Odds & Picks - Iowa vs Kentucky Prediction
Nov 26, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; The Kentucky Wildcats team poses with the Governor’s Cup trophy after winning the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Iowa Hawkeyes are 2-point favorites over the Kentucky Wildcats in the Music City Bowl on Saturday, December 31
  • Kentucky beat Iowa 20-17 in the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2022
  • The Wildcats were the 3-point chalk in that game

It’s not often that two schools from different conferences play each other twice in a calendar year, but the Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5, 7-5 ATS) and Kentucky Wildcats (7-5, 8-4 ATS) can make that boast.

The Wildcats beat the Hawkeyes 20-17 in the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2022. Here they are, 364 days later, meeting again on New Year’s Eve in the Music City Bowl.

Earlier this year, oddsmakers liked the Wildcats as a 3-point pick. The game ended in a push, with Kentucky winning 20-17. This time around, it’s the Hawkeyes who are the 2-point betting chalk. Iowa is 4-1 ATS in the last five games.

Iowa vs Kentucky Odds

Team Spread Total Moneyline
Iowa Hawkeyes -2 (-110) O 31 (-110) -135
Kentucky Wildcats +2 (-110) U 31 (-110) +115

Odds as of December 29 at Caesars Sportsbook. See the available Caesars Sportsbook bonus code here.



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The kickoff for this game set for Saturday, December 31 at 12:00 pm ET at Nissan Stadium. The weather forecast is calling for rain, 12 mph wind and a temperature of 61 degrees. Broadcast of the game is being provided by ABC.

Hawkeyes vs Wildcats Betting Trends

In the college football public betting splits, spread wagers are hawkish on the Hawkeyes. Iowa is getting 58% of handle and 52% of bets in the spread splits. When it comes to money lines splits, people are of two minds. The handle is going 55% with Iowa, while bettors are 54% for Kentucky.

With so many skill players from both teams opting out of this game, it’s limiting the total. The over/under is set at 31 points. That’s at least 10 points lower than any other remaining bowl game.

The public total splits are showing the people are confident that the over will hit. It’s garnering 60% of handle and 73% of bets. Both Iowa (4-8) and Kentucky (1-11) have proven to be dreadful over bets this season.

The opening line on this game was listing the Wildcats as 1.5-point favorites.

Iowa Down To QB3

Hawkeyes QB1 Spencer Petras is missing the game through injury. Their #2 QB Alex Padilla has entered the transfer portal. That’s leaving the offense under the guidance of true freshman Joey Labas. He’ll be making the first start of his college career.

He’ll be in charge of an offense that ranks 130th out of 131 FBS schools. Iowa is gaining just 255.4 yards per game. The Hawkeyes are 122nd in scoring offense (17.9 points per game).

Defensively, though, Iowa is stout. That Hawkeyes are the #4 total defense (277.9 ypg) and #6 in scoring defense (14.42 ppg).

Kentucky Roster Also Depleted

The Wildcats are coming into the Music City Bowl with a depleted backfield thanks to NFL Draft opt outs. Passing on the game is quarterback Will Levis. He’s at +750 in NFL Draft odds. ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper rates Levis the best QB of the year’s class.

Running backs Chris Rodriguez and Kavosiey Smoke, who are 1-2 on the team in rushing this season, are also opting out to prep for the NFL Draft.

Redshirt freshman Kaiya Sheron will be under center for Kentucky. He’s 0-1 as a starter this season. Replacing an injured Levis, Sheron threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-14 October loss to South Carolina.

Defense is also the key for Kentucky. The Wildcats are the #12 scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 19.1 points per game. They’re #17 in total defense (320.2 ypg).

Following a 4-0 start to the season, Kentucky has gone 3-5. Coming into this game off a win over #25 Louisville, the Wildcats haven’t won back-to-back games since September.

Iowa vs Kentucky Prediction

Iowa is making a first appearance in the Music City Bowl. Kentucky is 2-3 in five previous appearances in the game. The Hawkeyes are 0-4 SU in their last four bowl games against SEC schools.

Though both schools come in with 7-5 records, Kentucky’s slate was a much harder ride. The Wildcats faced six ranked teams, including #1 Georgia and Tennessee, which was #3 at the time. Kentucky went 4-2 SU and 3-3 ATS in those games.

In four of those games, Kentucky’s defense limited the ranked opponent to at most 17 points. Imagine what the defense is going to do to a QB making his first NCAA start.

Picks: Kentucky Wildcats +2  (-110) 


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