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Tennessee vs. Kentucky picks, best bets for Week 9 matchup

The Volunteers and Wildcats will renew their rivalry in Lexington this evening. Tennessee enters this matchup as a slight road favorite.

Missouri v Kentucky Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

One of the oldest border rivalries in college football will be renewed in Lexington tonight as the No. 21 Tennessee Volunteers head up I-75 to face the Kentucky Wildcats. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN.

Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) couldn’t quite land the plane in Tuscaloosa last Saturday, falling to rival Alabama in a 34-20 setback. The Vols were seemingly on the verge of their second straight victory over the Crimson Tide as they took a 20-7 lead into halftime. However, the Tide surged back in the third quarter to take the lead and UT was ultimately shut out in the second half. Quarterback Joe Milton III went 28-41 for 271 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC) is coming off its bye and is looking to get back on track after taking back-to-back losses prior to the break. The Wildcats were last seen falling to Missouri in a 38-21 loss two weeks ago, a game where they jumped out to an early 14-0 lead before sputtering in the second half and committed three turnovers down the stretch. QB Devin Leary threw for just 120 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the setback.

SP+ Rankings

Tennessee: 16 overall, 20 offense, 19 defense
Kentucky: 25 overall, 42 offense, 16 defense

Injury update


DB Kamal Hadden - Out for season (Shoulder)
OL Andrej Karic - Questionable (Undisclosed)
RB Desean Bishop - Out (Ankle)


LB Trevin Wallace - Questionable (Shoulder)
DB Jalen Geiger - Questionable (Elbow)
OL Ben Christman - Out for season (Knee)


Against The Spread in 2023

Tennessee: 4-3 ATS
Kentucky: 4-3 ATS

Total in 2023

Tennessee: Over 3-3-1
Kentucky: Over 5-2

Team Pace

Tennessee: 2.79 plays per minute of offense
Kentucky: 2.0 plays per minute of offense

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Tennessee -4
Total: 50.5
Moneyline: Tennessee -185, Kentucky +154

Opening line: Tennessee -4
Opening total: 51.5


64 degrees, cloudy with a few showers, 7 MPH winds ENE

Our Best Bet for Tennessee vs. Kentucky

Under 50.5

This is an interesting contrast in styles as one of the fastest offenses in the sport will match up against one of the slowest offenses in the sport. UT’s attack has been hit or miss in SEC play and it may struggle at times against a tough, physical UK defense. Throw in some wet conditions at Kroger Field on Friday and I think this is setting up for the under to cash tonight.