Music City Bowl Betting 2023 Odds, Predictions, Preview

The Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 21-0 in the 2022 Music City Bowl.

Check out last year's coverage here below and tune back in with us soon for the 2023 Music City Bowl Odds, Picks and Predictions.

Points will be at a premium in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl this year. The Iowa Hawkeyes and Kentucky Wildcats are two defensively focused teams that will be without their starting quarterbacks for this bowl game.

Thus, it’s no surprise that the total for this game is the lowest of any bowl game this season. The first team to 20 points will likely cruise to a victory in the Music City Bowl that will be played on Saturday, December 31, 2022, at 12 p.m. ET on ABC at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Kentucky Wildcats Betting Prediction

At this point, the Over has to be the play even though both teams will struggle to score. This number is just too low as four of Iowa’s last six games finished with more than 31 points, and all but one of Kentucky’s games finished with at least 31 total points this season.

It’s not going to be pretty, and we might see some defensive or special teams touchdowns, but this game should see more scoring than the odds indicate.

Score Prediction: Iowa 20, Kentucky 17
Best Bet: Over 31 (-110)

Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Kentucky Wildcats Betting Odds

Music City Bowl Betting Resources

  • Date: Saturday, December 31, 2022
  • TV-Time: ABC, 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Nissan Stadium
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Expert Picks

Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Analysis

The Hawkeyes will have a brand new quarterback for this bowl game as starter Spencer Petras is injured and backup Alex Padilla entered the transfer portal.

Petras and Padilla were the only two players to throw passes for Iowa this season, so Kirk Ferentz will have to rely on scout team quarterback Joey Labas to lead the way.

Labas is a redshirt freshman that was a three-star recruit out of high school, and he has yet to throw a pass. He is a mobile threat with his legs though, so Kentucky must be on the lookout for that.

Kaleb Johnson was the top running back on the team, and Iowa will likely run him 20+ times in this game. Johnson ran for 762 yards (5.4 YPC) and six touchdowns in the regular season, while backup Leshon Williams could only muster 3.6 YPC.

Standout tight end Sam LaPorta could have opted out to focus on the NFL Draft, but he instead decided to suit up one more time for the Hawkeyes.

LaPorta led the team with 53 receptions for 601 yards and a touchdown. Nico Ragaini and tight end Luke Lachey will also take part in this game, but Arland Bruce IV is entering the transfer portal.

While Iowa’s offense ended the year ranked a putrid 120th in SP+, the defense was the best in the country according to the same metric.

The Hawkeyes allowed just 15.5 PPG and 292.3 YPG, and they conceded just 4.1 yards per play (tops in the FBS). Six different players on this defense earned all-conference honors with First Team All-Big Ten linebacker Jack Campbell leading the way.

Cooper DeJean and Riley Moss are also suiting up one more time for Iowa, but safety Kaevon Merriweather opted out in order to start preparing for the NFL Draft.

The Iowa Hawkeyes closed the season on a 4-1 both SU and ATS run for bettors. (Getty)

Kentucky Wildcats Betting Analysis

Kentucky’s offense will look a lot different without projected first-round pick Will Levis under center. Levis has the prototypical size and arm strength that NFL teams covet, but he never thrived at the collegiate level.

In his stead, head coach Mark Stoops has said that three different players will take snaps for Kentucky.

Redshirt freshman Kaiya Sheron seems likely to receiver the bulk of the snaps after being the primary backup (29 attempts) during the season, but true freshman Destin Wade and Iowa transfer Deuce Hogan will see action.

Top running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. has opted out of this game in order to focus on the NFL Draft and No. 2 back Kavosiey Smoke has entered the transfer portal.

JuTahn McClain (49 carries for 238 yards) is likely to be the starting running back in their absence. The Wildcats will have their top two receivers available though as Barion Brown and Dane Key are both taking part in the Music City Bowl.

No. 3 receiver Tayvion Robinson is out though, and no other player has more than 20 receptions.

The Wildcats ranked sixth in Defensive SP+ during the regular season. Kentucky did a very good job stopping opposing quarterbacks, but the front seven did have trouble against power run games at times.

The good news is that Kentucky only had one opt-out or transfer on this side of the ball though.

Top cornerback Carrington Valentine is leaving school for the NFL, yet everyone else is scheduled to play for the Wildcats on Saturday.

Music City Bowl History

Music City Bowl Logo

The Music City Bowl debuted in 1998, and the matchup currently features schools from the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The game takes place at Nissan Stadium from Nashville, Tennessee. This game was previously sponsored by Gaylord Hotels,, and Franklin American Mortgage Company before TransPerfect. 

Underdogs have won three of the last four matchups, as the 2019 installment watched Louisville capture a 38-28 victory over Mississippi State as a short underdog. The 'over' cashed with a late push, and is on a 3-0 run in this bowl matchup.

Kentucky has made the most appearances in this bowl with six, followed by Minnesota with three visits to Nashville since 2002. 

In 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic wiped out the game. The bowl returned on Dec. 30, 2021, and it was worth the two-year wait. Tennessee and Purdue played at Nissan Stadium in front of a sold out crowd. Purdue outlasted Tennessee 48-45 in overtime in a wild game with many twists and turns.

YearMatchupSpreads, TotalsATS Result
2022Iowa Hawkeyes 21 Kentucky Wildcats 0Iowa -3, 31.5Favorite, Under
2021Purdue 48 Tennessee 45Tennessee -7.5, 66.5Underdog, Over
2019Louisville 38 Mississippi State 28Mississippi State -4.5, 64Underdog, Over
2018Auburn 63 Purdue 14Auburn -3.5, 57Favorite, Over
2017Northwestern 24 Kentucky 23Northwestern -8, 51.5Underdog, Under
2016Tennessee 38 Nebraska 24Tennessee -9.5, 59Favorite, Over
2015Louisville 27 Texas A&M 21Louisville -3, 51Favorite, Under
2014Notre Dame 31 LSU 28LSU -8.5, 51Underdog, Over
2013Mississippi 25 Georgia Tech 17Mississippi -3, 55Favorite, Under
2012Vanderbilt 38 N.C. State 24Vanderbilt -7.5, 53.5Favorite, Over
2011Mississippi State 23 Wake Forest 17Mississippi State -7, 49Underdog, Under
2010North Carolina 30 Tennessee 27 (2OT)North Carolina -1, 50Favorite, Over
2009Clemson 21 Kentucky 13Clemson -6.5, 52.5Favorite, Under
2008Vanderbilt 16 Boston College 14Boston College -5, 40Underdog, Under
2007Kentucky 35 Florida State 28Kentucky -7, 56.5Push, Over
2006Kentucky 28 Clemson 20Clemson -11, 58.5Underdog, Under
2005Virginia 34 Minnesota 31Minnesota -6.5, 61Underdog, Over
2004Minnesota 20 Alabama 16Alabama -3, 48Underdog, Under
2003Auburn 28 Wisconsin 14Auburn -3, 46.5Favorite, Under
2002Minnesota 29 Arkansas 14Minnesota -8.5, 46.5Favorite, Under
2001Boston College 20 Georgia 16Georgia -4, 51Favorite, Under
2000West Virginia 49 Mississippi 38Mississippi -4, 51.5Underdog, Over
1999Syracuse 20 Kentucky 13Kentucky -2.5, 52Underdog, Under
1998Virginia Tech 38 Alabama 7Virginia Tech -5, 41.5Favorite, Over

For more coverage of bowl season, check out our College Football Bowl Central!