No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0 3-1 ATS) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (2-1 1-2 ATS) Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington KY, 12:21 PM EST Saturday October 3, 2009 TV ESPN 360
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Crimson Tide -16 / Wildcats +16
In a big SEC game this Saturday the Kentucky Wildcats host the undefeated and 3rd ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama. The Tide have got off to a fast start this season and they already have solid wins over then #7 Virginia Tech and Arkansas. Their defense has been stellar and their offense has had no problem scoring. Kentucky began the season well winning their first 2 games before getting crushed at the hands of top ranked Florida 2 weeks ago. The Wildcats are already 0-1 in the SEC and if they lose this game they will be .500 and it doesn’t get much easier for them, as in their next 2 games they are away against South Carolina and Auburn.
Last week Alabama beat Arkansas 35-7 while the Wildcats had the week off, but the week before lost bad to Florida 41-7.
In Alabama’s win over Arkansas the Tide totally dominated the game, as they out-gained the Razorbacks in total yards (425 to 254), passing yards (291 to 191) and rushing yards (134 to 63). QB Greg McElroy passed for a career high 291 yards with 3 TD’s and even though the game was tied after the 1st quarter (0-0) the Tide rolled for the rest of the game in a home blowout. The Tide easily covered the 18 points spread, but since 42 total points was scored the Under was the winning bet, as the posted total for the game was 57.
The Wildcats have had a week off to prepare for this game, but playing the 3rd ranked team after getting crushed by the top ranked team is still not easy to get ready for. In their loss to Florida a couple of weeks back they could not stop the Gators on offense and could not move the chains on their defense. In the game the Wildcats had 179 yards of total offense and they were only 3/16 on 3rd down conversions. The Wildcats were underdogs by 21 points and did not cover the spread and the posted total of 53 points was not reached.
Can the Wildcats score in this game? Alabama ranks 2nd in the nation in total defense (202.5 yards allowed per game) and rank 2nd in rushing defense (47.3 yards allowed per game). However, the Wildcats will get a break, as Bama’s stud LB Dont’a Hightower is out for the season with a knee injury.
The Wildcats will have to pass the ball to be successful in this game, but they only rank 103rd in the nation in passing yards per game.
Kentucky QB Mike Hartline (485 yds 4 TD 3 INT) will have to have the game of his life in order for the Wildcats to pull off the huge upset.
Kentucky does rank 48th in rushing yards per game, but their leading rusher Derrick Locke only has 169 yards this season and his 4.7 per carry average is not going to attract any NFL scouts.
Unlike years past the Tide have a great offense to go along with their stellar defense. They rank 7th in the nation in total yards led by QB Greg McElroy (937 yds 7 TD 1 INT). They also rank 10th nationally in rushing yards per game led by the RB duo of Mark Ingram (347 yds 4 TD) and Trent Richardson (280 yds 4 TD), who is averaging 7.4 yards per carry.
Kentucky ranks 65th on defense, as they are giving up an average of 354 yards per game.
In some recent trends the Crimson Tide are 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games, the Wildcats are 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games, and the Wildcats have lost 4 of their last 5 games against the Tide.
Jason’s Pick: To say the Wildcats do not match up well with the Tide is a major understatement. The Tide are much better on both sides of the ball and since they will dominate the game on D they will get many chances to score, which they will do early and often in this game. Look for the Tide to easily win this game and cover the big 16-point spread. The O/U is hard to call, as last week the Tide dominated the Arkansas Razorbacks, but the Under was still the winning bet.