The #17 Kentucky Wildcats will aim for their fifth straight win when they host the South Carolina Gamecocks in an SEC battle Saturday night from Kroger Field. The Gamecocks recorded a solid 30-14 road win against Vanderbilt last week, and the Wildcats cruised to a convincing 28-7 home win against Mississippi State in their previous action. Kentucky notched a 23-13 road win against South Carolina last season.
Gamecocks Dominate Vanderbilt in First SEC Win
The South Carolina Gamecocks rebounded from their conference-opening loss to Georgia by registering a 37-14 road win against Vanderbilt last week to improve to 2-1. Jake Bentley was sharp, notching 261 passing yards with one TD against one INT. The junior QB has played well in two of his three games, and he has tallied 780 passing yards with a 6:3 TD to INT ratio on the season. Rico Dowdle was terrific last week, amassing 112 yards on 20 carries and one TD. The junior RB has rushed for at least 100 yards in two of three games this season, and he has notched 235 rushing yards on the season. Junior WR Bryan Edwards leads the Gamecocks with 211 receiving yards in three games played. Edwards is questionable for this one with an undisclosed injury. South Carolina has received a solid contribution from both their pass and rushing offense, and they are averaging a sizzling 477 total yards per game.
The South Carolina defense was tremendous last week, limiting Vanderbilt to only 284 total yards. Their pass defense has been a strength and while they have struggled against the run in their first two games, they did hold Vanderbilt to only 92 rushing yards. They will be challenged by a potent Kentucky running game this week. The Gamecocks are currently averaging 34.3 points per game, ranking them 51st overall. The South Carolina defense is allowing an average of 23.3 points, placing them 57th overall.
Kentucky Stuns #14 Mississippi State, Improve to 4-0
The #17 Kentucky Wildcats improved to 2-0 in conference play with a dominating 28-7 upset win against #14 Mississippi State last week to keep their perfect record intact. Terry Wilson was busy handing the ball to his running backs, and he finished with 71 passing yards with one INT. The sophomore QB has only tallied 463 passing yards with a 2:4 TD to INT ratio, however he has added 241 rushing yards. Benny Snell Jr. played a key role in the win against Mississippi State, amassing 165 rushing yards and four TD’s. The junior RB is one of the best running backs in the SEC, and he has now accumulated 540 rushing yards on the year. Wildcats’ leading receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. has been by far Kentucky’s best receiver season, making 20 grabs for 200 yards. Kentucky generates a bulk of their offense on the ground led by Benny Snell Jr. who has led the Wildcats to the 12th ranked running game in the nation.
The Kentucky defense put on another dazzling display against Mississippi State last week, holding them to only 201 total yards. Their rush defense has been outstanding, and their pass defense hasn’t been far behind. The Wildcats have now defeated two ranked teams which included a 27-16 win against #25 Florida in week two. They are currently averaging 34.5 points per game, ranking them 49th overall. Kentucky is holding opponents to an average of 13.2 points, good for eighth in the nation.
The Kentucky Wildcats are:
- 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- under is 4-0 in their last 4 games against a team with a winning record.
- under is 8-3 in their last 10 September games.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are:
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games against Kentucky.
- 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after registering more than 200 rushing yards in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am taking Kentucky in this contest. Kentucky just defeated #14 Mississippi State by 21 points and their running game has been unstoppable highlighted by Benny Snell Jr. The Wildcats rank 12th in the country with an average of 269 rushing yards per game, and they are up against a South Carolina defense that ranks down at 75th overall against the run. Furthermore, Kentucky’s defense has been brilliant. They just limited a potent Mississippi State offense to seven points, giving me confidence they can contain the Gamecocks offense. The Wildcats’ rush defense is holding opponents to only 106 rushing yards per game, so I expect them to contain a solid South Carolina running game, plus Kentucky limited the Gamecocks to only 13 points in their 23-13 win last season.
Prediction: Kentucky Wildcats -1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I am taking the under in this contest. Kentucky has limited their opponents 16 or fewer points in three consecutive games which included only a combined 23 points against the two rank opponents they have defeated this season, plus the under is 6-0 in their last 6 home games against a team with a winning road record. Furthermore, while I am confident Benny Snell Jr. and the Wildcats will have another productive afternoon, they only scored 23 points against South Carolina last season, and the Gamecocks just held Vanderbilt to 14 points. The under is 5-0 in the Gamecocks last five road games, and I anticipate a low-scoring battle in this one.
Prediction: Under 52
Full-Game Prop Bet
The under on the South Carolina team total is a strong play. Kentucky just limited a potent Mississippi State offense to only 201 total yards. Mississippi State had the 5th ranked running game in the nation heading into their game against Kentucky last week, and the Wildcats limited them to only 56 total yards, plus they held talented QB Nick Fitzgerald to only 145 passing yards. Kentucky was able to stifle Mississippi State, so I definitely expect them to neutralize the Gamecocks.
Prediction: South Carolina Team Total: Under 24.5
Half-Time Side Pick
I am taking the points with South Carolina on the halftime line. South Carolina has fared exceptionally well from an offensive standpoint in the first half, averaging 19.3 points in three games. Furthermore, Kentucky is only averaging 13 points in the first half this season. The Wildcats have been much more productive in the second half this season, and I expect them to take control in the second half similar to last week where they outscored Mississippi State 21-0.
Prediction: South Carolina +0.5
Half-Time Total Bet
The under on the halftime total is a solid option. South Carolina has played decent defense in the first half, holding their opposition to an average of only 12.3 points in three games. In addition, Kentucky is holding opponents to an average of only 10 points in the first half through four games.
Prediction: Under 26
Half-Time Prop Prediction
I am taking Kentucky to score first in the form of a touchdown offered by Bet 365. Kentucky’s defense has been spectacular in the first quarter, allowing a total of only three points in four games, and they have not allowed a point in the first quarter in three consecutive games. In addition, the Wildcats’ first score has come in the form of a touchdown rather than a field goal in all four games this season.
Prediction: First Score of Game: Kentucky Touchdown +210