The Missouri Tigers will take a trip east to take on the #24 Kentucky Wildcats this Saturday (10/14/23). Get Missouri vs. Kentucky odds, picks, and predictions below as our best bet is over 51.5 points at -110 odds.
Missouri Vs. Kentucky Prediction
Just a week ago, this would have been a battle of undefeateds, but things change quickly in this league. Kentucky had just picked up a dominating win over Florida, while Missouri was a few weeks removed from a win over defending Big XII champs Kansas State, before reality set in last weekend. There are clearly tiers in this SEC, and Georgia is in its own; Kentucky is a solid team, but the two-time defending National champs made them look like a high school team. Georgia compiled 608 yards of offense to just 183 for Kentucky in a 51-13 blowout, snuffing out any chance the Wildcats had of being considered a contender.
Mizzou played a much closer game in a classic battle of the tigers against LSU, but weren’t able to turn in a complete effort. They went up 22-7 in the early going, as the air offense showed why it’s been quietly one of the best in the country this season, but as soon as the production slipped, the defense was completely unable to contribute as Jayden Daniels and LSU came roaring right back to secure an exciting road win.
This wasn’t exactly an isolated incident, as the Missouri defense is pretty hapless, as they barely rank within the top 100 at EPA. They are a particularly bad matchup for Kentucky, as the run defense is a relative strength, but not nearly enough to slow down Ray Davis and the Kentucky ground game, and the air defense is so bad that it might allow the embattled Devin Leary to settle in and actually have a good ballgame.
Conversely, the Tigers’ offense is absolutely for real, as it ranks in the top five in the Nation by many metrics, as they impressed even in the loss. Brady Cook is one of the most precise passers in college football, as he sits fifth in FBS in passing yards and recently set an SEC record for consecutive interception-free pass attempts, while Luther Burden might just be the country’s best wideout with a Nation-leading total of 793 receiving yards already. While the Kentucky defense is very good against the run and might force Mizzou to be completely one-dimensional, it’s hard to imagine that Eliah Drinkwitz and his squad would have an issue with a script that forces this game into the realm of a veritable shootout.
The Wildcats’ pass defense is average, which will not be enough to snuff out this attack, creating a situation much like the one on the other side of the ball where the offense is perfectly suited to exploit the defense’s relative weak spots. Expect plenty of points in what should be another fun, new-look SEC matchup
Missouri Vs. Kentucky Prediction: Over 51.5
Missouri Vs. Kentucky Best Odds
MIZZ @ UK
Oct. 14, 11:30 PM
Odds updated October 15th, 2023, at 2:48 am
Kentucky is set as a 2.5 point home favorite, while the total is set at 51.5; you can get either side of both lines at -110, but for the moneyline, Kentucky is -140 and Missouri +115
Missouri Vs. Kentucky Key Matchups
To pull off the ranked road win, Missouri will need their prolific pass attack to be in full force, while Kentucky will look to establish the run and control the game at home, so let’s check out these matchups and see who will have their way.
Missouri Pass Offense vs. Kentucky Pass Defense
The Missouri passing offense has been one of the very best units in the country, ranking top 10 in just about every EPA based statistic. Cook has been absolutely sensational, he’s 16th in the country in PFF’s passing grade with 15 big time throws to his name and just five turnover worthy plays. Burden is tops in PFF’s wide receiver grades, and he’s been an absolute monster after the catch as he averages 14.6 yards per catch despite an average depth of target of just 7.6 yards. The o-line is also ranked 13th in PFF’s pass blocking metric.
Kentucky’s pass defense is 69th in terms of EPA per play, solid enough most weeks but not up to the challenge of Missouri, just as they weren’t against Georgia as Carson Beck dropped nearly 400 yards. Deone Walker has anchored the pass rush from the interior, but there hasn’t been enough of a push from the edge. The corner duo of Andru Phillips and Maxwell Hairston has done a good job headlining the secondary, but there are plenty of weak spots for Cook to attack nonetheless.
Kentucky Rushing Offense vs. Missouri Run Defense
Ray Davis exploded onto the scene with a dominant performance against Florida in which he racked up 280 yards and 3 scores all on the ground, but was severely limited by Georgia’s elite unit. Still, he’s ninth in the country and first in the SEC in rushing yards and has buoyed Kentucky to a top-20 rushing offense by EPA. More impressively, he’s done it without a dominant o-line, as Kentucky’s is only PFF’s 86th-ranked run blocking unit.
Luckily for Davis, Missouri’s run defense grades pretty similarly to Florida’s. They’re just about a top-50 unit by most metrics, compared to Georgia, who ranks 26th in PFF’s system, which is potentially even a little low given their talent level. Linebacker Chad Bailey has been a centerpiece as he hasn’t missed a single tackle in the run game, and has recorded five stops. Edges Darius Robinson and Johnny Walker Jr. have each earned an average depth of tackle under two yards, as has d-lineman Josh Landry. This is a solid, balanced unit, but lacking star power; they’ll have their hands full with a back as dominant as Davis.