Week 5 College Football Picks For Kentucky Wildcats vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama Crimson Tide Players

Matthew Jordan

Friday, September 30, 2016 3:50 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 30, 2016 3:50 PM UTC

How focused will top-ranked Alabama be on Saturday in its first SEC home game of the season against Kentucky? Might the Crimson Tide be looking ahead a bit? Our betting expert analyzes this game and offers his predictions.


Wildcats Own South Carolina

Of course, the first SEC coach fired this season was LSU's Les Miles last Sunday. I believe there was a chance that Kentucky might have beaten LSU to the punch by a few hours in firing Mark Stoops had the Wildcats lost at home to South Carolina last week. But UK (2-2, 1-1 SEC) beat the Gamecocks 17-10. It was a 7-3 yawner for USC at halftime, but Kentucky got the winning touchdown on Benjamin Snell 1-yard run with 10:21 left. The Wildcats' defense held South Carolina to 268 total yards and just 91 yards rushing on 35 carries. UK's four sacks were its most against an SEC opponent since 2008.

Stephen Johnson, a JuCo transfer, made his first start at quarterback for UK with Drew Barker to miss several weeks with a back injury suffered the previous week vs. New Mexico State. Johnson was 11-for-19 for 135 yards and an interception. Boom Williams, one of the SEC's best running backs, rushed 15 times for 123 yards and a TD. Believe it or not, that 4-point halftime deficit is the largest Kentucky has rallied from at the half to win an SEC game since 2010.

It was Kentucky's third straight win over South Carolina, the first time the Wildcats have beaten an SEC foe three times in a row since taking out Vanderbilt each year from 2004-07. So that takes the heat off Stoops for now; he was really in hot water when Kentucky was blasted at Florida 45-7 in Week 2. Stoops can probably assure himself at least one more season on the sideline with an upset here. Yeah, not happening.

Kentucky is 1-3 ATS on college football odds and 3-1 O/U.


Sweet 16 For Crimson Tide

I took Kent State and the 44 points last week at Alabama (4-0, 1-0 SEC) as I figured Coach Nick Saban would take it easy on his alma mater and pull his starters early. The second part was mostly true, but the Tide won 48-0. Starting QB Jalen Hurts threw for 164 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 54 yards and a score in limited action. Alabama's defense allowed just 166 yards and five first downs. It was the 17th shutout victory for the Tide in the Nick Saban era.

The big news from that game was an injury to Tide leading rusher Damien Harris, who is from Kentucky and considered signing there as the No. 1 rated running back recruit in the nation. Many Wildcats fans still haven't forgiven him for spurning UK. Harris was hurt five plays in vs. Kent State, spraining his ankle. He was replaced by freshman Joshua Jacobs, who finished with 97 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.  Harris expects to play and even tweeted: "this week is personal..."

Alabama's 16-game winning streak is the longest in the FBS and the second-longest under Saban (19 from 2009-10). The Tide are winning by about 24 points per game in that run. The Tide have won 62 in a row against unranked teams. They are 3-1 ATS on college football picks and 2-2 O/U.

The Kentucky-Alabama series is one of the most lopsided in SEC history. The Crimson Tide lead 36-2-1 and have never lost in Tuscaloosa.

Will Alabama be caught looking ahead to its Oct. 8 game at No. 20 Arkansas?  Perhaps, but I don't see Kentucky scoring in double digits regardless. Give the points and go 'under' the total. The Cats are 2-10 ATS in their past 12 games. The 'under' is 7-3 in Alabama's past 10 at home.  

Remember to drop by SBR's list of the best-ranked bonuses, and find out which of the top sportsbooks is offering the top rated sportsbooks.


Free College Football Picks: Kentucky +35.5 and/or Under 57.5
Best Lines Offered: at Heritage

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