Kentucky Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers Picks, Predictions, Odds

The Tennessee Volunteers will look to continue their dream season when they face the Kentucky Wildcats this week. These SEC East rivals will meet at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday, October 29, 2022, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Updated on 06/14/2024
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It’s been a banner year for Josh Heupel and the Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee is 7-0 and ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll thanks to wins over Pittsburgh, LSU, and Florida, and the Volunteers were finally able to beat Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide in a thriller. There is a lot of excitement for their showdown with the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens next week, but they must first get past the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend.

Score Prediction: Tennessee 34, Kentucky 27
Best Bet: Kentucky +12 (-110)


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Date: Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022
Matchup: SEC
Venue: Neyland Stadium
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Time-TV: ESPN, 7:00 p.m. ET
Expert Picks


Will Levis is seen as a first-round pick by some analysts, but he hasn’t had the year that many were expecting after Kentucky won 10 games in 2021. Levis is completing 69.5% of his passes for 10.0 YPA, yet he has just 13 TDs compared to five interceptions. Much of that is due to a porous offensive line though, leading to Levis being sacked 20 times already this campaign.

That offensive line has also limited the effectiveness of Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Kavosiey Smoke. Kentucky ran the ball very effectively in 2021, as Rodriguez was an all-conference selection with 1,379 rushing yards while averaging 6.1 YPC. Rodriguez missed the first month of the season, and while he has shined since his return, the Wildcats are still averaging just 3.1 YPC as a team.

Kentucky’s defense ranks 6th in SP+. The Wildcats have done an excellent job in coverage, surrendering just 6.3 YPA and 185.7 YPG through the air, and they stifled the passing attacks of both Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The way to beat this unit is with a power run game, but that’s not what Tennessee does on offense. 

Tennessee is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against Kentucky. (Getty)


Hendon Hooker is one of the Heisman frontrunners alongside Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Hooker was not originally the starting quarterback in Heupel’s offense, but he has run this system beautifully since taking over for Joe Milton early last season. He has completed 69% of his passes for 10.1 YPA with 49 touchdowns and four interceptions in 20 games at Tennessee. Additionally, Hooker has run for 931 yards (4.1 YPC) and eight touchdowns for the Vols.

Jalin Hyatt has had an incredible year with Cedric Tillman injured. Hyatt has 40 receptions for 769 yards and 12 touchdowns. Four of the top five receivers in this offense are averaging at lest 16.5 YPR with Tillman being the lone exception.

The running backs have been overlooked given the nature of this offense, but Jabari Small and Jaylen Wright have had fine seasons. They have essentially split carries with Small averaging 4.5 YPC with eight touchdowns, while Wright is averaging 4.8 YPC with four TDs.

Tennessee’s defense is ranked 40th in SP+. The Volunteers do an excellent job stopping the run, holding opponents to just 3.0 YPC and 93.5 YPG. However, the secondary has been a bit shaky at times. They haven’t forced a lot of turnovers and haven’t been as successful at getting to the quarterback as you might think considering how often they are playing from ahead.


  • Kentucky is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in seven of Kentucky's last eight games.
  • Kentucky is 9-2 SU in their last 11 games.
  • Tennessee is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 11 of Tennessee's last 13 games.
  • Tennessee is 7-0 SU in their last seven games.
  • The total has gone OVER in five straight Tennessee' home games.
  • Kentucky is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games against Tennessee.
  • Kentucky is 3-17 SU in their last 20 games against Tennessee.
  • The total has gone UNDER in six of Kentucky's last eight road games.
  • Kentucky is 1-12 SU in their last 13 road games against Tennessee.