Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#157 Missouri -9.5 vs.
#158 Kentucky 47.5
Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 7:30pm EDT
Kroger Field, Lexington
Written by Chris Kubala

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#157 University of Missouri
#158 University of Kentucky
5-2
3-4
4-3
5-2
2-5
3-4
35
20
16
23

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A pair of SEC East Division teams take the field in the Bluegrass State on the college gridiron. The Missouri Tigers are on the road as they travel to face the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday night. Missouri was upended 21-14 on the road by Vanderbilt last Saturday in their previous game. Kentucky was blanked 21-0 on the road by #10 Georgia Saturday night amidst the raindrops in Athens. The Wildcats lead the all-time series between the teams 6-3: they have won the last four matchups, including a 15-14 road win in the last matchup on October 27, 2018.

Missouri Tigers Seek to Regroup After Falling Out of Rankings

Missouri saw their five-game win streak come to an end as they were stunned by a Vanderbilt team that came in 1-5 overall and winless in conference play. The Tigers now try to regroup after that loss knocked them out of the AP Top 25. Missouri never got their offense going and gave up the go-ahead score with under nine minutes to play. The Tigers were outgained 315-293 in the contest and lost the time of possession battle by a 32:51 to 27:09 margin while winning the first down battle 18-16. Both teams turned the ball over once but the Tigers were only three of 15 on third down while completing just 50 percent of their throws.

The Tigers are tied for 49th in the nation in passing offense with 255.6 yards per game on the year while they are 39th in rushing offense with 192.9 yards per contest. Missouri is 31st in the FBS in scoring offense as they put up 35.3 points per game and the team stands 14th in scoring defense by limiting opposing teams to 16.6 points per contest. Kelly Bryant has completed 130 of 206 passes for 1,715 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions while adding 209 yards and a score on the ground. Taylor Powell is seven of 16 for 74 yards this season. Larry Rountree III leads the Tigers on the ground with 115 carries for 586 yards and eight scores while Tyler Badie contributes 69 carries for 311 yards plus two touchdowns as the second back in the system. Johnathon Johnson leads the Tigers with 28 receptions for 284 yards this season. Albert Okwuegbunam (18 receptions, 250 yards, six TD), Badie (20 grabs, 215 yards, two TD) and Jonathan Nance (16 catches, 284 yards, three TD) are good targets as well. Tucker McCann is 28 of 31 on extra point attempts and 11 of 16 on field goal tries this season with a long of 52.

Kentucky Wildcats Try to Reach .500 Mark

Kentucky fell for the fourth time in their last five games as they were shut out by #10 Georgia on the road last week. The Wildcats have had their offensive struggles after losing Terry Wilson under center as things simply haven’t clicked for them since that point. Kentucky hung tough for more than a half as the game was scoreless at halftime: their inability to move the ball proved to be their undoing. The Wildcats were outgained 270-177, gave up 14 first downs while picking up nine and lost the time of possession by a 33:28 to 26:32 margin in the contest. Kentucky turned the ball over once while failing to register a takeaway: the team was two of 16 passing and totaled just 17 yards through the air.

The Wildcats are 117th in the nation in passing offense with 167 yards per game through the air and 43rd in rushing offense with 187.7 yards per contest. Kentucky stands only 114th in the FBS in scoring offense with 20.1 points per game and they are 47th in scoring defense by allowing 23.3 points per contest. Terry Wilson was 33 of 52 for 360 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions plus 44 rushing yards with a touchdown on the ground. He was lost for the year with a torn patellar tendon in the game against Eastern Michigan on September 7. Sawyer Smith is 54 of 117 for 665 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions while Lynn Bowden Jr. has completed 12 of 30 passes for 134 yards plus a score while ranking second on the team with 54 carries for 394 yards plus two scores. Asim Rose leads the team on the ground with 91 carries for 457 yards and two scores. Kavosiey Smoke contributes 58 carries for 333 yards and three scores while Christopher Rodriguez chips in 17 carries for 118 yards and a score. Bowden Jr. leads the team with 30 receptions for 348 yards plus a score this season. Josh Ali (14 catches, 133 yards, TD), Ahmad Wagner (12 grabs, 248 yards, two TD) and Rose (10 receptions, 67 yards) are the only other players with double-digit receptions. Chance Poore hit all 14 extra point attempts and three of seven field goal tries with a long of 46 this season. Matt Ruffolo is four of four on extra points and two of three on field goals with a long of 50.

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Kentucky’s offense has fallen off a cliff since Wilson went down with his knee injury. The Wildcats put up 76 points in the first two games of the season when he was playing: since then, they’ve posted only 65 points in the last five games with 24 of those coming in the win over Arkansas two weeks ago. Missouri was playing well before getting shut down by Vanderbilt’s defense in their last game. The Tigers have been effective offensively and they have the weapons to do damage. Given Kentucky’s struggles offensively, it’s hard to have any faith in their ability to beat a conference foe. Take Missouri on the road in this contest.

 

Prediction: Missouri Tigers -10.5

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Kentucky's struggles to put points on the board has really escalated over the last few weeks. The Wildcats have serious issues at moving the ball through the air since Wilson went down and couldn't complete a pass to save their lives against Georgia. Missouri is trying to shrug off a disappointing loss to Vanderbilt in their last contest. The Tigers are 0-2 on the road this season and they are looking to stay in the race in the crowded SEC East that has three teams currently sitting with one loss. Will Missouri rebound from their dud showing last week against another inept offense?

The under is 4-0 in the Tigers' last 4 vs. a team with a losing record, 5-1 in their last six overall, 4-1 in their last 5 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game and 7-2 in their last nine conference games. Kentucky has seen the under go 4-0 in their last four overall, 5-0 in their last five in October and 4-0 in their last four on grass. With Kentucky sputtering on offense and Missouri being fairly solid defensively, this one ends up under the number.

Prediction: Under 44.5

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In the last five games, Kentucky has totaled 65 points, which is an average of 13 points per game. The Wildcats lost all the mojo of last season's success once Wilson went down as their leader under center was lost. Missouri had reeled off five straight wins before losing to Vanderbilt in a game they should have taken care of business in. The Tigers should learn from that experience and get back on track in this one: give the points and back Missouri at the half.

Prediction: Missouri Tigers -6

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We saw how Missouri can be explosive offensively during their five-game win streak. On the other side of the coin, we've seen how they can struggle for long stretches, especially on the road. The Tigers have dropped both road games, losing to Wyoming and Vanderbilt. Kentucky put up nothing last week against Georgia and has been limited to 13 points or less in three of their last five games. The Wildcats struggle again here to move the ball and that helps keep this one under the number at the half.

Prediction: Under 23
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.