The online sportsbook BetDSI released its regular season win totals for the 14 teams of the Southeastern Conference and the line for Kentucky’s 2018 wins was set at six. A push would mean a third straight bowl game, but you can’t bet on a push; so, are you going over or under?
Let’s look ahead at the schedule to make the safest the play.
KENTUCKY FOOTBALL 2018 SCHEDULE
Central Michigan went 8-5 in 2017 for a second-place finish in the MAC, and earned an invite to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, where it lost to Wyoming, 14-37.
But with several key departures, the Chippewas are expected to fall short of a fifth-straight bowl game and have a down year in John Bonamego’s fourth season. Throw in the fact a brand new QB will be making his debut against Kentucky, and the Wildcats should take care of business in the Kroger Field opener.
We know the drill.
Kentucky will host Murray State in only the second-ever meeting between the two schools. The Cats won the first clash, 37-6, in 2003, and should have no problem beating the OVC’s eighth-placed team again in 2018.
Mississippi State has a new head coach for the first time in nine years, so it’s hard to say what we’ll see in 2018. But Joe Moorhead has 18 returning starters from a team that went 9-4 with a bowl win over Louisville a year ago, giving him one of the most experienced teams in the country. It helps that he has 10 starters back on the offensive side of the ball, where he shined as Penn State’s offensive coordinator last season, which ultimately earned him the job in Starkville. Mississippi State should be pretty good in his inaugural season.
Expectation: Dog Fight (and probably a loss)
Kentucky has won four straight against the Gamecocks after losing 13 of 14 before that. Will Muschamp returns a solid roster that won nine games and beat Michigan in the Outback Bowl, so it’s probably time for South Carolina to get back in the win column against the Cats, unfortunately.
Or maybe the streak will continue?
Expectation: Coin Flip
@ Texas A&M
Texas A&M will host Kentucky in College Station for the first time ever this coming season, and Big Blue Nation’s traveling fan base is excited to make the trip. But with Jimbo Fisher taking over the Aggies, the trip to see A&M’s Kyle Field may not give us much to smile about when it’s over.
If you’re going to be a competitive program in the SEC, you have to beat Vanderbilt every year. Kentucky’s won three of four, including the last two, and will need to keep the wins coming to avoid disaster.
Losing to Vanderbilt is unacceptable, especially at home.
Expectation: WIN (must-win)
Kentucky beat Missouri early in 2017, but if the game had been toward the end of the year, it might’ve been a different story. The Tigers eventually got it rolling after a 1-5 start, winning six straight to close out the season.
Unfortunately, Mizzou returns Drew Lock, an NFL prospect at quarterback, for a senior season, and one of the SEC’s best backfields.
Expectation: Will be tough to win
Georgia is a national championship contender again after giving away last year’s title game. The Cats do get to play the Bulldogs at Kroger Field this year, but home field advantage shouldn’t make much of a difference in the end.
Kentucky hasn’t won in Neyland Stadium since the Reagan administration, before I was even born, so it’d be crazy to predict anything but a loss. That being said, Tennessee sucked last year and the Vols have a new first-time head coach in Jeremy Pruitt. Dare I say it’s a toss-up?
Expectation: Close game
Middle Tennessee State
After seven straight conference games in the middle of the schedule, Kentucky will get to catch its breath against a non-conference opponent when Middle Tennessee comes to town. The Blue Raiders had a pretty solid 2017, but Kentucky should earn a victory in the home finale in Lexington.
With Lamar Jackson off to the NFL, thankfully, Louisville’s offense will fall into the hands of Juwan Pass, another highly-touted, dual-threat QB. He’ll have a lot of weapons at his disposal, but we won’t know what he does with them until we see him in action. Pass could make a Louisville a very good team, or the Cards could struggle if he isn’t ready to shine.
Expectation: Anything can happen
ASSUMED WINS: Central Michigan, Murray State, Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee
ASSUMED LOSSES: Florida, Texas A&M, Georgia
GOTTA WIN TWO TO BOWL, THREE FOR THE OVER: Mississippi State (H), South Carolina (H), Missouri (A), Tennessee (A), Louisville (A)
I think it’ll be tough to win seven games, even if Kentucky is a better team in 2018.
Therefore, I will be staying away from the OVER, although I do think a six-win bowl season is the most likely scenario. Nice line, Vegas.