- What: Kentucky Wildcats (No. 19) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (No. 3)
- Date: Saturday, October 29, 2022
- Location: Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN
- Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
- How to Watch: ESPN
A Week 9 SEC showdown takes place on Saturday night when the Kentucky Wildcats look to put the first blemish on the record of the Tennessee Volunteers for the 2022 NCAA Football Season.
Kentucky is coming off a bye week. During their week off, the Wildcats held on to their No. 19 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 Poll. In Week 7, Kentucky ended a two-game losing skid with a 27-17 win over Mississippi State. Before losses to Ole Miss (22-19) and South Carolina (24-14), Kentucky was the No. 7 ranked team according to the AP Poll. The Wildcats are 5-2 on the 2022 NCAAF season and 2-2 in the Southeastern Conference on the season.
The SEC has two unbeaten teams as the 2022 NCAA season heads into Week 9. Those clubs are the Georgia Bulldogs (7-0), who are ranked No. 1 in the latest AP Poll and the No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols are coming off a 65-24 drubbing of UT Martin in Week 8 of NCAAF play. Before that win, the team knocked off three squads who were ranked inside the Top 25 — Florida, LSU and Alabama. Tennessee is 3-0 in the SEC for the 2022 NCAA season.
Before we look at the Week 9 NCAAF matchup between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Tennessee Volunteers, check out the current NCAAF betting opportunities and our guide to betting on the 2022 NCAAF National Championship.
Kentucky Wildcats (No. 19) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (No. 3) picks
|Univerisity of Kentucky WIldcats (No. 19)||+400||+360||+370||+400||+350|
|Tennessee Volunteers (No. 3)||-505||-500||-470||-500||-480|
Senior quarterback Will Levis is the No. 7 ranked QB in the SEC in passing yards with 1,635. His 69.5 percent completion rate is a career-high, but puts him seventh in the conference. He has thrown for 13 touchdowns and been intercepted five times. Levis has been sacked 20 times this season.
Kentucky ranks 11th in the SEC in offense per game with an average of 373.7 yards. The team’s passing yardage of 260.3 yards per game is sixth in the conference. Meanwhile, the team’s running game is the second-worst in the SEC in 2022 at 113.4 yards per game. The Wildcats’ running game improved with the return of Chris Rodriguez Jr. in early October, but he is averaging 5.5 yards per carry, which is below his 6.1 yards per game mark from last season. However, Rodriguez’s numbers have improved each week he has hit the field.
Kentucky’s defense has played well this year. The team has allowed the second-fewest overall yards per game in the SEC at 295.4. The Wildcats are the third-best team in the conference in stopping the pass, allowing 178.3 yards per game. As for the team’s rushing D, Kentucky ranks fourth in the SEC, giving up an average of 117.1 yards per game.
Senior quarterback Hendon Hooker is in the running for the 2022 Heisman Trophy. Hooker leads the SEC in passing percentage with a completion rate of 70.6 percent. He is second in passing yardage on the season with 2,093. His average pass goes for an SEC-best 10.8 yards and he has thrown for the second-most touchdowns in the conference with 18. Hooker has only been intercepted once this year and that came against Alabama in Week 7 of the 2022 NCAAF season.
Tennessee has the best offense in the SEC in average yards per game at 571.7. The team is tops in the SEC in passing yards per game at 368.9. Meanwhile, the club is fifth in rushing yards with 202.9 per game. No offense in the SEC has a higher points per game average than Tennessee’s 50.1. Jalin Hyatt leads the SEC in receiving yards with 769. He is also first in the conference in receiving touchdowns with 12. No other SEC player has more than eight touchdown catches.
The Tennessee defense is not as strong as the offense. Tennessee ranks 11th in yards allowed per game at 420.6. The Volunteers have the worst passing defense in the SEC, allowing 329.7 yards per game. However, the club’s rushing defense is sound, ranking second in the conference and allowing 90.9 yards per game.
The danger in this game for the Tennessee Volunteers is looking forward to next week’s game against the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs. The Volunteers are a better team than the Kentucky Wildcats, but Kentucky still needs to be taken seriously in this Week 9 NCAAF matchup. Kentucky does not have the defense to force Hendon Hooker into uncomfortable situations. With time and space, Hooker will be able to carry the Volunteers to victory. The best bet for the matchup between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Tennessee Volunteers is to pick the Volunteers to win in an exciting game that could come down to the fourth quarter.
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