Alabama vs. Kentucky kicks off Saturday (11/11/23) at noon EST in Lexington, Kentucky as a home game for the Wildcats. Get Alabama vs. Kentucky predictions and best bets below as our best bet is that Kentucky will cover the spread off the backs of their defense.
Alabama vs. Kentucky Prediction
After getting written off as one of Nick Saban’s worst teams in quite some time, the Crimson Tide firmly find themselves in the midst of a playoff race with a massive win over the LSU Tigers. While stopping LSU is impossible, the Alabama defense slowed the Tigers down just enough to pull away and get the win. They now hit the road to take on a hungry Kentucky squad that boast an explosive ground game and stout defense.
Is that enough to keep it close and cover the spread? The numbers certainly say so as the Wldcats have key advantages against Alabama that may make them uncomfortable. Kentucky features one of the best running backs in the league in Ray Davis. Davis is poised for a monster performance against the Crimson Tide front seven. Bama’s rush defense ranks 112th in Def Rush Explosiveness, potentially allowing the Cats to move the ball with ease. as Davis should routinely get to the second level.
Davis is positioned to routinely move the sticks for the Kentucky offense. He should also find the end zone when they enter into scoring position. Alabama’s rush defense ranks 52nd in Def Rush PPA, a slight difference to the Wildcat rush attack that checks in at 47th. While that may not seem like a big difference, Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary has steadily improved and is more of a threat through the air. That stretches out Alabama’s defense and gives Davis more room to work with.
Speaking of Leary, this handicap is heavily predicated on his availability. He is currently listed as day-to-day while dealing with an eye injury. Kentucky’s hopes take a big hit if he’s unable to play. Leary has made huge improvement through the air, giving Kentucky a more versatile attack. The Wildcats offensive line is getting healthy as well, providing added protection and time in the pocket to make the right read.
Kentucky’s defense is built to limit the Alabama explosive attack. While Alabama has struggled with short-gain consistency, Jalen Milroe has developed an elite downfield arm and has generated a high level of explosiveness. That same big-play type ability will hit a wall against the Kentucky defense. The Wildcats rank eighth in Def Pass Explosiveness. Without the ability to flip the field, expect more stalled drives on the Tide’s end as they revert to their early season struggles.
Alabama vs. Kentucky Prediction: Kentucky +10.5
Alabama Vs. Kentucky Best Odds
In what could be a deflating schedule spot, oddsmakers opened the Crimson Tide as a -9.5 favorite. Bettors believe that was a tad too low, backing them past the key number of 10 and keeping them at -10.5 as of this writing. Expect an ugly defensive slugfest that plays toward the Wildcats’ favor as a two-score dog.
As for the total, oddsmakers think points will be scored at a moderate pace as they opened the number at 48.5. Bettors believe that number is just about right, keeping the total the same since the opener. That sits right below the key number of 49, bringing the under into play should it creep up that high. Kentucky should slow down the Crimson Tide offense enough to keep it toward the under while struggling at times when they have the ball.
Alabama vs. Kentucky Key Matchups
Can Kentucky’s front seven continue to limit the Alabama ground game?
Jase McClellan vs. Kentucky Front Seven
A major factor in Alabama’s offensive struggles has been their inability to generate consistent rushing production. Normally a dominant unit, Alabama now ranks 62nd in Rush Success Rate, 45th in Explosiveness and 36th in PPA.
Jase McClellan with a Touchdown 🤩🔥pic.twitter.com/zqlbz51R9I
— Alabama DieHards (@DiehardsAlabama) November 5, 2023
This is in large part of having a weaker offensive line than in years past, getting stuffed at the line and failing to open up gaps for their running backs to exploit. They may struggle once again as Kentucky is a great run stopping unit, clocking in at 34th in Def Rush Success Rate, 35th in PPA, and 20th in Explosiveness.