2022 Kentucky Wildcats Football Predictions and Betting Odds
Kentucky finally seems to be a “football” school. Last season’s Citrus Bowl winners play in the best conference in college football and have earned two 10-win seasons in the past four years. They may not be a National Championship caliber team/program just yet, but they may be on their way behind coach Mark Stoops. With new additions on both sides of the ball, and QB Will Levis, a possible first-round NFL Draft pick in the future, returning, the Wildcats have fairly high, but reasonable, expectations this coming season.
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Last season, the Wildcats averaged 32 points per game, finishing eighth in the SEC. Not too bad. They were efficient throwing the ball, and the running game was good the majority of the time. Kentucky was also elite on third-down conversions, but turnovers were a weak point.
Offensive line stars Dare Rosenthal and Darian Kinnard are gone, and Luke Fortner is done at center. That means RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. will need to adjust with a new “Big Blue Wall” in front of him. He needs just 1,134 yards to beat Benny Snell Jr’s rushing record at Kentucky. Rodriguez Jr. is one of the strongest backs in the country and will be the type of workhorse back that teams love to rely on. Levis threw for more than 2,800 yards with 24 touchdowns last season. He looks to take another step forward this year throwing to veteran WR DeMarcus Harris and Tayvion Robinson out of the transfer portal.
Many key players chose to use their extra year of eligibility to return to Kentucky’s football program this year. Lots of those were on the defensive side, which was a big concern entering the offseason.
Linebackers DeAndre Square, Jacquez Jones and Jordan Wright take some stress off the unit by returning this year. The Wildcats also have some of the highest rated recruits in program history joining the team this upcoming season. Kentucky’s defense allowed just 340 yards per game last year and allowed 22 points per game.
Keys to the 2022 Season
The Wildcats have great offensive firepower. And if they can limit turnovers and become sharper this season, they can be a top tier team. The 23 giveaways last season was the most since 2016, and a few were very costly. On the other end of the ball, the big key is the same… Turnovers. They need MORE. If the new pass rush can gel well and create disruptions, big plays can then be made. Last season the Wildcats came up with only 12 takeaways! They had only a single fumble recovery during their first eight games to start the year….wow! If this defense can relive their 2020 season with 22 takeaways in only 11 games, things will look much better for the blue and white. Kentucky can challenge Georgia in their division, and the rest of the SEC East should be all winnable matchups. Maybe this year we see a change in who conquers the division if these keys are met.
Key 2021 Stats
– Time of Possession: Kentucky 32:35 – Opponents 27:23
– 1st Quarter Scoring: Kentucky 119 – Opponents 59
– Fumbles: Kentucky 19 (lost 10) – Opponents 10 (lost 3)
2022 Betting Odds and Trends
The Kentucky Wildcats Over/Under this season is at 7.5 wins. Their odds to win the 2023 College Football Championship are at +12000. The Wildcats’ odds to win the SEC are at +5500.
Kentucky really must rely on a strong offense and special talent from the recruiting class. If the freshmen exceed expectations, this team could surprise a lot of people. With a win total at 7.5, the Wildcats’ must perform vs the “Big 4”: At Florida, at Ole Miss, at Tennessee, Georgia. They will hit the 7-win mark, so we would lean Under. They shouldn’t lose games as the favorite, so this total should come down to some big 50/50 games.
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