Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#373 Missouri vs.
#374 Kentucky
Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 7:30pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

It’s a battle of teams from the East Division of the SEC on the gridiron as they collide in the Bluegrass State. The Missouri Tigers are on the road as they travel to face the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday night. Missouri opened their season with a 34-24 home victory over Central Michigan last Saturday. Kentucky picked up a 45-10 trouncing of UL Monroe at home in their season-opening contest last Saturday. In the all-time series between the teams, the Wildcats own a 7-4 edge but it was Missouri taking a 20-10 home win in the most recent matchup on October 24, 2020. That snapped Kentucky’s five-game win streak in the series.

Missouri Tigers Seek 2-0 Start to Season

Missouri had a tougher than expected time in their opener but managed to put away Central Michigan at home to open the season on a positive note. The Tigers now go on the road and look to put a conference victory on the books in this one. Against Central Michigan, Missouri trailed 14-7 late in the second quarter before scoring 10 points in the final 2:25 of the half to take a 17-14 lead at intermission. The Tigers put up the lone score in the third quarter to take a 10-point lead and withstood Central Michigan making it a one-score game twice in the final stanza to get the victory. Missouri overcame being edged 475-468 in total offense, losing the first down battle 27-22 and dropping the time of possession by a 31:53 to 28:07 margin. The Tigers did force a pair of turnovers while not committing any in the game, which proved critical in the contest.

Connor Bazelak completed 21 of 32 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns in the contest for the Tigers. Tyler Badie was a force on the ground as he ran the ball 25 times for 203 yards and a touchdown in the contest. Elijah Young contributed five carries for 29 yards and a touchdown in the game. In the passing game, Keke Chism (47 yards) and Mookie Cooper (12 yards) each had four receptions to lead the team. Badie (three receptions, 40 yards) and Niko Hea (two grabs, eight yards) each had touchdown catches for the Tigers in the victory. Missouri had a ferocious pass rush as they racked up nine sacks with Blaze Alldredge (10 tackles) leading the way with 3.5 sacks. Harrison Mevis hit all four extra-point attempts and both field-goal tries as he connected from 53 and 44 yards.

Kentucky Wildcats Looking to Remain Unbeaten

Kentucky put the boots to UL Monroe in their season opener at home to get off on the right foot. The Wildcats now try to improve to 2-0 on the season by picking up an early conference win. Against UL Monroe, Kentucky gave up the game’s first points before reeling off 38 unanswered points to take complete control of the game. The Wildcats didn’t let the Warhawks score again until they kicked a field goal with 4:39 to play in the game. Kentucky dominated the contest, holding a commanding 564-87 edge in total offense, holding a 24-12 advantage in first downs, and controlled the clock by a 31:47 to 28:13 margin. The Wildcats did turn the ball over three times while failing to record a takeaway in the game.

Will Levis completed 18 of 26 passes for 367 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in the victory. Beau Allen was four of seven for 52 yards. In the run game, Chris Rodriguez Jr. led the team with 19 carries for 125 yards and a score. Kavosiey Smoke (five carries, 26 yards) and Michael Drennen II (three carries, 16 yards, TD) each saw a little run in the game as well. Josh Ali (136 yards, TD) and Wan’Dale Robinson (125 yards, two TD) each hauled in five passes to share the team lead in the game. Isaiah Epps (three catches, 83 yards) and Rodriguez Jr. (two grabs, 10 yards) were the only other players with multiple receptions in the game. Kentucky’s defense stifled UL Monroe on the ground, limiting them to 17 yards on 43 carries, a meager 0.4 yards per carry. Matt Ruffolo hit all six extra-point attempts and his lone field goal try, which came from 45 yards, in the contest.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Missouri ran the ball extremely well in their opener but they might have a tougher time moving the sticks against a Kentucky front seven that completely suffocated UL Monroe last week. The Tigers managed to come up with the win over Central Michigan but they gave up more than their share of yards and points in the contest. Kentucky showed off a brand-new aerial assault and it paid dividends in the opener as they piled up for more than 400 yards through the air. That’s going to test Missouri, who gave up 301 yards to Central Michigan despite recording their nine sacks. In the end, until the Tigers prove they can win on the road, you have to give the edge to Kentucky in this contest as they improve to 2-0.

Prediction: Kentucky Wildcats -5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Missouri ended up just short of the total in their series opener as they combined with Central Michigan to put up 58 points, leaving them one point shy of the total. That snapped a string of three straight overs dating back to last season. Kentucky edged over the total in their opener as the 55 combined points just slipped past the total of 54 in the game. Four of their last six games have gone over the mark. However, when these two teams meet, points come at a bit of a premium. The last three meetings between the squads and six of the last seven matchups have ended up short of the total, with five of those falling short by double digits. Look for another defensive struggle, keeping this one under the total.

Prediction: Under 56
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

Chris Kubala has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well. as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.