Will Levis is gone to the NFL, but the Kentucky Wildcats welcome NC State transfer QB Devin Leary to an offense loaded with wide-receiving talent along with a stout defense.
Kentucky has the unenviable task of playing in the SEC East — home to defending two-time national champion Georgia — but the Wildcats are poised for a potential breakout season.
Consider ‘Over’ on Kentucky’s Season Win Total
FanDuel Sportsbook is dealing an attractive +118 (bet $100 to win $118) on the Wildcats to go Over 7.5 wins with the Under priced at -144 (bet $144, win $100). Kentucky opens with Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, and Akron to start the season. Can you say 3-0?
The fourth game pits the Wildcats against Vanderbilt, and Kentucky eyes revenge after a 24-21 loss to the Commodores last year. Vanderbilt transfer RB Ray Davis will look to make hay against his former team in that contest. Let’s call it 4-0.
The real meat of the schedule starts at the end of September with back-to-back games against Florida and Georgia, respectively. Do you know who gave the top-rated Bulldogs their stiffest test during the regular season last year? Pour yourself a nice bourbon if you guessed Kentucky. The 16-6 loss in Lexington marked Georgia’s lowest-scoring output of the season.
Kentucky’s defensive unit ranked 11th in Division I scoring defense last year. Defensive coordinator Brad White has seven players back that took snaps last season. If Kentucky can shore up what was one of the worst offensive lines in America, the Wildcats have a solid shot at eclipsing 7.5 wins.
There are also tough games against No. 4 Alabama and No. 12 Tennessee on the schedule, but the Wildcats have winnable tilts against Missouri, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Louisville.
Betting Lines for Kentucky’s 2023 Season Opener, Game at Georgia
The Wildcats are massive favorites over Ball State when their season kicks off at Kroger Field on Sept. 2.
FanDuel and BetRivers are among the sportsbooks offering advanced wagering on Kentucky’s October 10 game at Georgia, where the Wildcats are underdogs of more than three touchdowns.
Other Futures Odds on Kentucky Football
Head coach Mark Stoops has taken the Wildcats to bowl games in each of the past seven seasons. Kentucky welcomes Liam Coen back as offensive coordinator after his stint with the NFL’s LA Rams. Leary, last year’s ACC Preseason Player of the Year, suffered a season-ending injury (torn pectoral) last October in a win against Florida State.
Leary has two prime targets to throw to in WRs in Barion Brown and Dane Key, who were both named Freshman All-Americans by Pro Football Focus after impressive rookie campaigns. They combined for more than a 1,000 yards and double-digit receiving TDs last season. Let’s take a look at more future odds on Kentucky for the 2023 season.
Unless you’re betting on the Wildcats in college basketball, go ahead and steer clear of any national title bets. It’s hard to put any hard-earned money down on Kentucky winning the SEC given that perennial powers Georgia and Alabama are expected to be loaded once again.
Perhaps put some pizza money on the Wildcats to win the SEC East at +4000 at DraftKings. Kentucky, which is just outside the preseason top-25 rankings among other schools receiving votes, will have to leapfrog ranked teams in Georgia and Tennessee to claim the division crown.
The Wildcats were a rather disappointing 7-6 under Levis last season, and again, that stemmed largely from their struggles along the offensive line. With the talent it has returning on both sides of the ball and Leary back to full health at QB, we see bigger and better things ahead in the Bluegrass.
Our crystal ball has Kentucky headed to another bowl game with a record of 8-4 (at worst) or 9-3 (at best).