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Ole Miss vs. Kentucky preview: Are the Wildcats actually good?

Kentucky is favored by 3.5 points, but that doesn’t mean a thing.

Tennessee v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky opened as a 3.5-point favorite over Ole Miss Saturday in Lexington, according to OddsShark, a perhaps unsurprising bit of betting news that should immediately tell you to stay away. The over/under for this weekend’s contest currently sits at 63.5 total points, which feels about right, and for that reason bettors should certainly look nowhere near this thing.

At any rate, the Wildcats are currently 6-2 on the year, and 3-2 in SEC play. That has them currently stationed at third in the east division, behind South Carolina in second and Georgia in first. They own notable (?) wins over South Carolina and Tennessee, this latter one coming last Saturday, when they drummed Butch Jones’ outfit out of Lexington, 29-26. How that didn’t force Tennessee brass to chop his head off — like Florida coach Jim McElwain — is baffling, but apparently talks are in the works concerning Jones’ place within the Vols’ organization.

Kentucky on the year is averaging 25.1 non-garbage time points per game, good for No. 86 in the land. The Wildcats currently rank No. 83 in Bill C.’s S&P+ calculation, while Ole Miss tables in at No. 70. This Kentucky team certainly feels better than previous incarnations, but there’s really no telling how either the Rebs or Wildcats will react to one another when they take the field on Saturday.

But the question remains: is Kentucky actually good right now? This Wildcats team certainly is by Kentucky standards.

How to watch:

Where: Lexington, Kentucky
When: 3 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN

That 3.5-point spread is meaningless. Bill C. sees a negligible scoring different between these teams, with Ole Miss projected to score 31.4 points to Kentucky’s 31.8. The Cats are giving up just 24.9 points per game currently, good for No. 56 in the advanced stats ratings. Ole Miss continues to score at a rate of 31.5 points per game, so again: there’s very little to be gleaned from a close scrutiny of both clubs’ analytics. They’re just going to have to battle it out on the field and hope the other team coughs up enough turnovers to successfully amputate any hope of winning the thing.

One notable item here: Ole Miss’ defense ranks No. 118 in the overall S&P+ list, and they rank No. 116 in points allowed per game. Not good. Kentucky can score if they get into one, and with the leaky ship that is Ole Miss’ defensive unit currently, this could head painfully south in a hell of a hurry.

Let’s just hope that Jordan Ta’amu and the offense can answer in kind, because it’s going to take points to win this one for the Rebs on Saturday.