- While not a headliner for many, Louisville and Kentucky is one of the most heated of rivalries in CFB
- The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 Saturday night at 7:30pm EST
- Read below for odds, analysis and pick on the game
Louisville (6-5) is bowl-eligible and looking to end its regular season with a win over rival Kentucky (8-3). The game will be televised on ESPN2 Saturday Night at 7:30pm.
Both of these teams enter Saturday on a two game win streak. In recent history, one of these teams generally enters this game with a significant leg up on the other. It would appear that is not the case here. This is a virtual coin-flip of a game and the spread would indicate that. As would the SBD Score Predictor for Louisville vs Kentucky. It’s a rare occurrence in this rivalry.
Louisville vs Kentucky Odds
|Kentucky||+3 (-110)||+130||O 57 (-115)|
|Louisville||-3 (-105)||-150||U 57 (-105)|
Odds at DraftKings on November 25th
Before we dig into the breakdown of this game, let’s take a look at a few college football betting trends of note:
- Six straight home non-conference Power Five games have went over the posted total for Louisville
- Kentucky is 13-2 to the over in its last 15 non-conference games
- Meetings between these two are 5-2 to the over in the last seven
There is a fair amount of historical data to bet the over in this game. Will this be the meeting that bucks some of those trends?
Kentucky Has Secondary Issues
At times this season, Kentucky has looked like it could have one of the best defenses in the SEC. But that’s been far from the case recently. At least when they are playing Power Five opponents.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 23, 2021
In November only two teams in the SEC have given up more plays of 30 yards plus than the Wildcats. One of those teams is 6-5 (getting that sixth win by beating the other) and the other fired it’s Head Coach. They are Missouri and Florida.
That same stat holds true when you look at plays of 40 yards and more. To make matters worse, they’ve done this despite having faced Vanderbilt and New Mexico State in consecutive weeks. That’s one of the worst teams in Power Five Football and one of the worst teams in all of college football. Plainly put, Kentucky has been ultra prone to giving up big plays against explosive offenses.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the leakage has come from for Kentucky. All teams deal with a fair amount of attrition by this point in the season. Perhaps that has played a role. But if I had to take one guess using my eyes, I’d point to the defensive backs. Too often this season they’ve lost individual battles at the line scrimmage and it’s shown itself as of late. This is something their opponent on Saturday can take advantage of if they aren’t careful.
Louisville Offensive Line Improved
Last week in the preview of Duke vs Louisville, I asked a question: Is Quarterback Malik Cunningham the most underrated player in college football? He then went out and did something only one other FBS player has done. Even if it was against Duke.
Malik Cunningham is the 2nd player in FBS history to have 300+ pass yards and 200+ rush yards in a game.
He joins Marques Tuiasosopo, who did so in 1999 against Stanford. pic.twitter.com/fhz3BEVFNX
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 19, 2021
We got our answer. Yet the thing that has made Louisville really go this season is the strides it’s offensive line has made. They are a shell of who they were when they opened up against Ole Miss.
“Line Yards” is a stat that I’ve noted before and is one of the most effective ways to grade an offensive line. It uses various metrics that focus on the line rather than the back. Louisville has now created more “line yards” than its opponent in 7 of its last 8 games. The one game it didn’t? A drumming of Syracuse that featured a heavy aerial assault.
Some of these opponents featured NFL caliber defensive lineman. While Louisville doing this didn’t always result in a win, it did result in Louisville outplaying it’s pregame expectation. It also was visibly evident in most games how dominant the offensive line was.
Kentucky vs Louisville Best Bet
Teasers aren’t generally my preferred method of play in CFB. Rivalry Week changes that. I have serious questions for both sides. For Louisville, it starts in the trenches and wondering if they’ve improved enough. For Kentucky, it’s about the leaky secondary, turnovers, and wondering if Quarterback Will Levis is dynamic enough to keep pace.
.@MalikMalikc10’s week just got better…
— Louisville Football (@UofLFootball) November 24, 2021
With all that said, I’d be hard pressed to see a blow-out. Both teams’ own decisive advantages. I’d be even more shocked to see a low scoring affair. Both teams’ defenses have serious question marks even if one is rising and the other falling.
- Play: 6-point teaser, Louisville +3/Over 51