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Kentucky Loses Starting QB Wilson Ahead of Week 3 Crucible vs Florida; Wildcats 8.5-Point Underdogs

Wide shot of Kroger Fieldat the University of Kentucky
The fans at Kroger Field in Lexington will have to cheer on backup QB Sawyer Smith in Week 3 when the Florida Gators come to town. Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics (public domain).
  • Kentucky begins life without starting QB Terry Wilson Saturday against #9 Florida in Week 3
  • The Wildcats are 8.5-point underdogs and will start Sawyer Smith under center
  • What’s the best ATS bet ?

SEC play begins Saturday, Sep 14th, and the best game of the day features Kentucky hosting no. 9 Florida. Both teams are 2-0 to start the season, but this game will be the Wildcats’ first test without starting QB Terry Wilson.

Kentucky’s starter tore his patellar tendon this past weekend against Eastern Michigan, forcing the Wildcats to turn to Sawyer Smith in his place. Kentucky opened as 8.5-point underdogs and that’s where the line currently sits.

Florida Gators vs Kentucky Wildcats Odds

Team Spread at BetOnline*
Florida Gators -8.5 (-105)
Kentucky Wildcats +8.5 (-115)

*All odds taken 09/09/19

The Wildcats are 2-0 against the spread this season, while the Gators are 1-1. Both teams average over 420 yards of offense per game, with Kentucky doing the majority of their damage on the ground.

You can see a head-to-head comparison of both programs in SDB’s Florida vs Kentucky odds.

Ground and Pound

Kentucky was one of three SEC teams to beat Florida last year and they did so by running all over them. The Wildcats rushed for 303 yards and will try to replicate the same formula this weekend in Lexington. Kentucky’s backfield averages over 6 yards a carry this season and will be leaned on heavily to take the pressure off Smith.

The Troy transfer has a big arm but lacks experience. He has just seven career starts and will face a pass rush that leads the Nation with 15 sacks. Florida’s run defense has yet to be truly tested in 2019, and the Wildcats will need to establish the run to slow down the Gators pursuit and to keep the Florida offense off the field.

It’s All on Franks

Lost in all the talk about the Wilson injury is the fact that Florida is likely to be without two key starters as well. Big time playmaker Kadarius Toney and stud corner C.J. Henderson aren’t expected to play versus Kentucky, meaning the Gators will need another big game from Feleipe Franks.

The Florida junior bounced back from a mediocre season debut with a new flawless performance against UT Martin in Week 2. He’s on pace for career highs in completion percentage (77.8%) and yards per attempt (9.7) through two weeks, and with the Gators run game struggling, the outcome of this game could very easily rest on his arm.

The Value Lies with the Wildcats

These two teams historically play very close games. Three of their last five meetings have been decided by less than a touchdown, with one of the two exceptions being Kentucky’s two-score win in Gainesville last season.

The Wildcats should find success running the ball, while Franks is going to have to make plays without his biggest offensive weapon. This game could go either way, and I expect a tight, low-scoring affair.

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